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cated generation, finding its pleasures and its profit in the beautiful. may even return to that golden age

The Contemporary Review.

“ere England's griefs began, When every rood of ground maintained its man."

J. Eaton Feasey.



Mankind would have been a complete fool but for a few occasional persons of true genius who have put some magical ideas into indurated customs and traditions. Democrats turn with scorn from this truth, declaring that ordinary men, dough in human nature, should rule over genius, the enchanted yeast by which the dough is raised.

But ordinary minds have ever been glad to pass from fact and truth into illusions, and many superior minds have ever been willing to use for their own ends the popular foolishness. True genius alone has been entirely candid, like Dame Nature, whose work, whether cruel or charitable, is always frank, and therefore without cant.

Though the gross body social will never be fit to rule with success over genius, the inspired brain, yet democrats may learn to govern themselves by choosing and obeying the most candid and thoughtful statesman. Instead of idolizing cant rather than gather hints from a Lord Roberts, they may become reasonable. At present, however, there are few signs that they and their chosen statesmen wish to think truthfully. Cant has come into vogue again, except among soldiers and sailors, who accept with pride the sternest autocrat, naval and military discipline, and gain candor from perilous duty.

Cant is to political affairs what poison gases have become to armed war, only it is more subtle than they are: no mask could neutralize it, and it gives no immediate pain. If it caused pain at once it would teach the people

to take care of themselves; but its painful effects arrive so late that they are attributed usually to other causes. For this reason cant is easy to revive. Its old devotees can chatter as foolishly as they did in the pre-war times and yet escape the chastisement which they invite. Already they are lodging themselves again in a bubble reputation for ideal wisdom and virtue. When major fools talk sweetly the minor fools are a devoted chorus.

Perhaps the best description of the ruling cant is a flattery of untruth that promises far too much with one voice and offers far too little with another. Though the human drama everywhere is played in competitions between inborn qualities and gifts which are never alike in weakness or in strength, cant promises to give all mankind perfect freedom and equal opportunities. With what results? Are millionaires and the poor to be canceled? No; millionaires are to thrive in the ideal world promised by political cant; they are to be acute politicians poetically in love with universal equality; they and the poor are to live together as perpetual cronies, exchanging birthday wishes and other mild salutations. For the poor will be forever satisfied with their lot because the humblest Bardolph among them will have the same voting power as a new Shakespeares Cant's emblem for ideal reform is a turtle lying on its back.

If cant were not altogether silly, if it blended untruth and good sense in half-and-half proportions, its appeals to human gullibility would become


such education as they get in a school the neighbor's garden wall. Yet garden or garden school? The human- would certainly be the way to izing effect of such association with people to believe in the schools and beautiful living things would be of some interest in them. untold value. And where will one Arithmetic, Geography, Botany, learn patience, foresight, thrift, clean- ture Study, Drawing, Elementa liness, economy, and altruism so well? Science these are all subjects in whi: It is an unwritten law that in a garden much of the work could be made one works “that he may have to give arise naturally out of the garden ar to him that needeth."

be done in it. Other things, too, coul In a village the school garden might be studied there. Sitting accommodawell become a center for a good deal tion and shelter would make needleof social intercourse. Boys and girls work and reading possible there; whilst have their own plots to cultivate; a very large amount of literature could fathers and mothers should be quite be, and ought to be, connected with the free to come and help out of school life of the garden and field. In every hours. There would be much more of case the possession of a garden opens sympathy between the school and the the way for new and better methods of home if parents and teachers met teaching, and for more humane ways casually on common ground with some of handling a class.

And what an interest. Moreover, it is opportunity these gardens would give worth a good deal to get teachers for the holiday months!

Of course, associated with their scholars in this garden-schools would not be closed. social and informal manner. The There will be, in the new time, streams farmer might quite reasonably look to of children going out to them for holithe school to do his seed-testing for days-real holidays, when happy and him, nor need there be any great instructive hours are spent among reluctance for help to be given to him bees and flowers, vegetables and fruit. in any time of emergency. The other There will be fruit-picking and jammonth certain small farmer was making, sleep and play, work and almost in despair about getting up his liberty. The girl who comes home from potatoes. In desperation he wrote to the great boarding-school loves and two large elementary schools near by, enjoys her home garden. For the asking if they could help in any way.

dwellers in the congested areas, the Now why should not the schoolmasters school garden must take the place of have taken a dozen boys each and the home garden till the latter is given a day-Saturday perhaps--to provided. help with those potatoes? The school In the coming days we shall make all time usually given to physical exer- country schools garden-schools. We cises might well have been omitted shall cease to build barrack schools that week, and, perhaps, also the time in the congested areas of towns. Ingiven to nature study. The boys would stead, a ring of large school gardens have had a lesson in patriotic altruism. and garden schools will encircle the But no; neither of the schoolmasters towns, and to these children will be sent any reply to the man's appeal. carried by tram and train each day. That small-holder is not likely to feel Then, perhaps, a new spirit will arise very enthusiastic about the education in our country. A generation will come rate.

that will not be denied its right of We dare not take the children off the access to the soil, a generation that school premises, to the farmer's field or knows Nature and loves her; an edu


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original, and it would still be able to captivate the foolish by offering to obtain more progress in a decade than wisdom would try to get in fifty years. And cant-mongers could put some humor into their propaganda, which at present they decline to do wittingly. They could say to the millionaires: “Men with your gifts will continue to gather wealth, just as authors will continue to write books; but in future no collector of success, however rich, shall be saved by tips and rates and charity subscriptions from becoming a practical democrat. He shall feel at first-hand the utmost swelter of base toil. On board ship he shall do spells of work with the black gang, and ashore he shall test on certain days some of the meanest labor that failures have to bear all the year round. Though equality is unattainable, success shall labor at times among those who in fifty-five years of toil—from fifteen to seventy--will not earn six thousand pounds all told.”

Cant might be an ironist in many moods, and yet produce infinite discomfort and annoyance.

So there's no need for it to dishonor the big human brain by being a slave to complete silliness. When men who earn many thousands a year offer impossible hopes to needy voters, accompanied by a minimum wage of five-and-twenty magic shillings a week, silly cant from one social atmosphere emigrates into another at variance with it, and political high explosives are slowly compounded. The rich would not put into circulation any false hope if they knew what it is to rear an illnourished family in a tenement of one room. They would wish to bring fresh air and comfort into all the housing problems before they asked the poor to think of anything else. For the difference between progress and change has to be considered, true national progress being a citizen in

doors with an improving family life, while change is an adventurer outside the home. Change will turn prospering farms into crowded factories, while employing King Jerry to degrade a birth-rate that increases.

A rational ground plan of thought to transform bad houses into good homes would be to practical statesmanship what correct figures are to arithmetic. Yet the poor are asked to prattle with joy over the bubbles blown by the silliest cant. They are to find fresh air and health and ease in boastful talk about perpetual peace, for instance, not perpetual peace in the struggle for daily bread, but between peoples who are rivals in trade and in age and growth.

That peace must begin her work in civil life is a truism that cant never for a moment notices. After this war nations must embrace one another till doomsday while retaining in their civil life the primitive war between individuals—a bitter war, unceasing, protean, and relentless. If war between nations is to be abolished by democracy, as canting statesmen declare, why not private war between trade and trade, men and men, family and family. Why should finance remain pitiless at home if nations are to orchestrate their rivalries into harmony? Fluent orators and financial magnates turn away from these questions; but let me venture to ask them another. Since it was infamous for Germany to invade Belgium, why should it be fair and good business for a vast trading company to devour the little trades and shops in its neighborhood? Are we to have two moral standards—the better one to be used in the abnormal strife called armed warfare and the inferior one in the normal strife called peace? If so, for what good and necessary reason?

It is odd that pacifists fail to see that militancy would grow feeble were it


not nourished and sustained by exces- overgrowth of industrialism, partly ·sive contests for bread and money. because a free trade in venereal disGerman dumping and financial annexa- ease was sanctioned for many years by tions were to the strife of peace what another phase of cant, and partly beGerman submarine campaigns have cause the housing problems became been to armed warfare. Yet Britain so intricate that they could not be welcomed as free trade the dumping disentangled by the fierce rivalries in that undercut her own fair market party politics. prices and permitted many of her indus- Many things in daily strife are dantries to pass under German control. gerous, many are disgusting, and Cant told her to sell her birthright many others unjust and cruel, yet the to imported cheapness and cunning. untruth that glorifies "peace" con

Note, too, that it is usually in tinues to circulate from humbugs. armed warfare that trading communi- Armed warfare should be left to the ties are alarmed and horrified by the material peacemaking imposed upon sufferings of women and children from nations by the present known costs of unnecessary strife or from

fighting with modernized weapons. which ought not to be present in a Material deterrents are always more civilized period. Why talk almost effective than moral precepts. What with composure about the dreadful nation in the future is at all likely to hardships imposed on

and seek an armed conflict, which would children by ignorance, carelessness, devour lives by the million and money penury, failure, and bankruptcy? Why by the thousand million in pounds imply that it is only in criminal acts of sterling? The warfare to be feared armed warfare that horrible tolls are most by our descendants will be taken from child-life and from girl- commercial and industrial strife behood and womanhood? If all evils in tween citizens and between whole daily life could be seen at work day nations, for large populations will be after day through a year of business brought to ruin if they fall behind in competition, would any statesman productive skill and zeal or if they have the effrontery to praise the find too much disunion in strikes and ravages of normal times as peace? trusts. Swift and clever Eastern hands

Our new Minister of Education has will fight for supremacy over the West told us that our national physique is in all markets undefended by tariffs, much below the standard of a great and armed warfare may issue from people. Why has it degenerated? Western tariffs if they do much harm Partly because British agriculture was over a period of years to the indussacrificed by cant to the slovenly trialized East. The Saturday Review.

Walter Shaw Sparrow.


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(“Zero-hour—commonly known Zero-is the hour fixed for the opening of an Infantry attack.) I woke at dawn and flung the window

wide. Behind the hedge the lazy river ran;


The dusky barges idled down the tide;

In the laburnum-tree the birds began; And it was May and half the world in

flower; I saw the sun creep over an East

ward brow,

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