Greenwich Village of Yore Greenwich
Village: The Place Where One Meets Specters
GREENWICH VILLAGE always has been to me
the most attractive portion of New York. It has the positive
individuality, the age, much of the picturesqueness, of that
fascinating region of which the center is Chatham Square; yet
it is agreeably free from the foul odors and the foul humanity
which make expeditions in the vicinity of Chatham Square,
while abstractly delightful, so stingingly distressing to
one's nose and soul.
Greenwich owes its
picturesqueness to the protecting spirit of grace which has
saved its streets from being rectangular and its houses from
being all alike and which also has preserved its many
quaintnesses and beauties of age — with such resulting
blessings as the view around the curve in Morton Street toward
St. Luke's Church, or under the arch of trees where Grove and
Christopher streets are mitred together by the little park,
and the many friendly old houses which stand squarely on their
right to be individual and have their own opinion of the rows
of modern dwellings all made of precisely the same material
cast in precisely the same mold.
The cleanliness, moral and
physical, of the village is accounted for by the fact that
from the very beginning it has been inhabited by a humanity of
the better sort. From Fourteenth Street down to Canal Street,
west of the meridian of Sixth Avenue, distinctively is the
American quarter of New York. A sprinkling of French and
Italians is found within these limits, together with the few
Irish required for political purposes; and in the vicinity of
Carmine Street are scattered some of the tents of the children
of Ham. But with these exceptions the population is composed
of substantial, well-to-do Americans — and it really does
one's heart good, on the Fourth of July and the 22nd of
February, to see the way the owners of the roomy comfortable
houses which here abound proclaim their nationality by setting
the trim streets of Greenwich gallantly ablaze with American
flags. As compared with the corresponding region on the east
side — where a score of families may be found packed into a
single building, and where even the bad smells have foreign
names — this American quarter of New York is a liberal lesson
in cleanliness, good citizenship, and self-respect.
And how interesting are the
people whom one hereabouts encounters (with but the most
trifling effort of the imagination) stepping along the ancient
thoroughfares which once knew them in material form! — Wouter
Van Twiller, chuckling over his easily won tobacco plantation;
the Labadist envoys rejoicing because of their discovery of a
country permissive of liberty of conscience and productive of
good beer; General O.L. De Lancey —wearing the Tory uniform
which later cost him his patrimony — taking the air with his
sister, Lady Warren, the stout, bewigged Sir Peter, and the
three little girls; Governor Clinton, with the harried look of
one upon whom an advance copy of the Declaration of
Independence has been served; Senator Richard Henry Lee, of
Virginia, who honored Greenwich by making it his home during
the session of Congress in 1789; Master Tom Paine — escaped
from Madame Bonneville and the little boys in the house on
Grove Street — on his way lo the Old Grapevine for a fresh jug
of rum; shrewd old Jacob Barker, looking with satisfaction at
the house on Jane Street bought from a butcher who had enough
faith in him to take the doubtful notes of his bank at par.
Only in Greenwich, or below the City Hall — a region
over-noisy for wraiths — will one meet agreeable specters such
as these. Thomas
A. Janvier Limburger Cheese is the Wagner of the Nose
Thomas A. Edison
The True Story of an Ancient House
"I struck my dear son;
I, his sire.
idiot made him in my ire;
hear him mumble in the sun,
him listless walk or run.
If I by penance might
kneeling wear away the stone!
might hope by prayer or fast
absolve me of my sin at last!
Can any fast or penance
stare thy father's hand did deal?
withering vigil can restore
happy laughter as of yore?
Thy mother of thy
did not hear thee at her side;
vacant eyes became her doom,
jargon laid her in the tomb.
by my side he loves to stand,
puts into my own his hand;
at my knee his favorite place,
how he smiles into my face! Stephen Phillips
This never before published
poem of Stephen Phillips, the recently deceased English
poet, was part of a collection of autographs sold by
Reverend Baunt of England, in order to provide English
soldiers of his parish with Christmas presents. The
manuscripts were bought by Patrick F. Madigan.
Letter London Office of BRUNO'S WEEKLY, 18 St. Charles Square, New Kensington
IN the theatre world of London there is
nothing to be seen at the moment but musical comedies and
pantomimes. The theatre which at Christmas always tends to
develop a saccharine sentimentality, touches at present the
depths of banality. The titles of the pieces now running such
as, ''A Little Bit of Fluff,'' 'Tonight's the Night,"
"Charley's Aunt," 'Tina," "The Spanish Main," "Betty," and
"Shell Out," suggest that managers do not feel the present to
be the moment for originality or enterprise.
The two most important art
exhibitions of the winter, the New English Art Club and The
London Group, have recently opened their doors. The war again
and the bad conditions which it creates for artists have
reduced the attractiveness of these groups considerably.
The New English Art Club was
indeed in doubt for a while if it should give a winter
exhibition. It has done so, but there is little to comment on
in the result. Mr. Augustas John, the most brilliant figure of
this Club, shows some Irish peasant types drawn with the
reality of which he is a master and not a little of his
The London group is generally
the most revolutionary of the art exhibitions. Futurism and
Vorticism are usually in violent activity there, but in this
session neither Mr. Epstein nor Mr. Wyndham Lewis — two of the
most interesting figures of the advance guard — have sent
anything. The Neo-Realists, Gilman, Ginner, Bevan and company,
maintain a steady average of honest effort. They are
essentially honest painters, these three, well mannered,
industrious and not without talent. They still hold their
Saturday afternoon salon up in Cumberland Market, a beautiful
old London haymarket, full of light and the atmosphere of
early Victorian days. Two or three years ago some painters
discovered its charm and its good light, and began to colonize
in the queer old rickety houses.
I looked into the Poetry
Bookshop in Devonshire Street the other day and great activity
was evident The public in London really buys a lot of poetry
at Christmas and the New Year. It has a preference for
something exquisitely bound and printed, but the cheaper
little books sell well too, as Christmas or New Year cards.
This house has just issued two chap books; Images, by Richard
Aldington and Cadences,
by F. S. Flint. They contain some charming lines. Both volumes
I believe are being published shortly in the States.
I should like to call the
attention of your readers to A. E.'s Imaginations and Reveries (Maunsel 5\-). A.
K (George W. Russel) js well known of course as one of the men
who brought about the wonderful Irish Literary movement which
is undoubtedly the most important literary development that
has taken place in these isles for a long time. Justice has
perhaps never been done to A. E. Purposely he has kept himself
in the background, happy enough to be able to work for his
ideal which has been to breathe a new soul into his beloved
country. It is only now beginning to be generally recognized
what Yeats, A. E., Lady Gregory, Synge and all the abbey
theatre group have done not only for Ireland, but even for
England. They have provided that tradition, that sense of
cooperation and security which alone makes a national art
possible. They have shown the writers of young Ireland that
the best way to serve themselves is to serve something greater
than themselves — an ideal.
Imaginations and Reveries is a fine book,
finer perhaps in its details than as a whole, and I know that
a book of such character could not possibly have come out of
England. Its inspiring words flame behind a background of rich
and communal life. Reading them, one feels the Irish people,
their passions and their dreams, and above all, their great
and undeniable love of their country.
I hope to be going to Ireland
this week, so that perhaps in my next letter I may have
something to say of the literary isle, of Dublin and of the
Irish poets, some of whom I am sure to meet. Edward
Storer Eternal Minutes By Guido
THE two men sat in the summer house at
the back of the big residence. It was dark. The white candle
on the table flickered an insufficient yellow light. The river
far below seemed an unstransgressable separating depth of the
high hills that grew into the heavens on the other side. Not a
star shone on the clouded skies. A big ugly moth did her best
to commit suicide in the flame of the candle. The air was
laden with heaviness. It was one of the nights that we declare
our love, that we exchange confidences, in which we regret
lost chances and resurrect dead memories. The man with a sad,
almost mourning look, broke the silence.
. . .
. "And so I gave up because of my real, eternal, never
changing love. I never thought that I could do it. But love
wins. I watched her closely. I tried to understand every one
of her actions. I indulged her eccentricities. She was sick. I
felt her pain. I watched over her day and night. And her
husband was always at hand."
"Your life has always been
simple, my dear fellow. You don't know what it means to love a
woman, to receive favors from her, all those small and big
favors that make life worth living — and then, you have to say
good night every evening. You have to make appointments to
meet at this and that place when you know that she should be
with you all the time. Then there were her children. It's a
funny thing about those children. Wouldn't you expect rather
strange, even hard feelings
towards the living testimony of her devotion to another man?
But no —I never did. They seemed to be a part of her. I loved
them almost as much as herself."
"You know, we went on this
way for months. Women are such masters at burning life's
candles at both ends. They know that the two lights must meet
at some time. And that then there will be darkness. But they
don't think. They don't feel the creep of the inevitable shadow."
"We met every day. We lived.
We kissed. We loved . . . God! The torture of it! When I sat
evening after evening in my quiet quarters with her picture in
front of me. And she . . . . I don't know what she was doing.
I only imagined: I believed in her with all my heart."
"She loved her home, the old
furniture so carefully selected by her and for her, the old
servants upon whom she depended; she hung with all her soul
upon the everyday routine of living that she had followed for
more than twenty years. I was now a new factor in the new
routine — a beloved one, but an addition."
(To be continued) Little Tales by Feodor Sologub Two Candles, One Candle,
Three Candles Translated by John Cournos
candles were burning, and there were many lamps upon the
walls. A man was reading a manuscript, and people were
listening in silence.
The flames trembled. The candles also were listening — the
reading pleased them, but the flames were agitated, and
The man finished reading. The candles were blown out. Every
And it was just as before.
A grey candle was burning. A seamstress sat sewing. An infant
slept, and coughed in its sleep. Gusts of cold air came from
the wall. The candle wept heavy tears. The tears flowed and
congealed. Dawn came. The seamstress, with red eyes, kept on
sewing. She blew out the candle. She kept on sewing.
And it was just as before.
Three yellow candles were burning. In a box lay a man, yellow
and cold. Another was reading a book. A woman was weeping. The
candles flickered from fright and from pity. A crowd came.
Chants were sung, incense was burned. The box was carried
away. The candles were blown out. Every one left.
And it was just as before.
Three Globs of Spit
A man went by, and spat three globs of
He walked away, the gobs remained.
Said one of the gobs:
"We are here, but the man is not here."
Said the second:
"He has gone."
Said the third:
"He came precisely for the purpose of planting us here. We are
the goal of man's life. He has gone, but we have remained."
A drop of rain fell through the air, a speck of dust lay on
The drop wished to unite with a hard substance; it was tired
of its free, active existence.
It joined itself to the speck of dust — and lay on the ground
a blob of mud. Fuit Ilium . . .
The days I have lived and longed for
Have come and have gone at last
But not all the sorrows of future
Can deaden the joys of the Past Tom Sleeper
THE withered leaves have
The stark and naked trees Stand
shivering bleak and hopeless While
every chilling breeze
Drives cold November rain.
youth — a little hope A striving
to attain — then Like the
trees the grave lies drenched
By cold November rain. Tom Sleeper The Cigarette
SHE was a very
young and very poor waitress.
She had only one passion, or better, one
longing . . . . very good Egyptian
cigarettes. I gave her
a few. One day I
kissed her. She did
not object very strenuously. Later on
she said: "I am sorry — I don't enjoy any more of these fine
cigarettes so much. Heretofore, I had them for nothing." After the German of Peter Attenberg, by Guido Bruno Extra! Extra!
LITTLE Low Lizzie is
She ain't goin' to live a lot more;
Over there she's a-lying
By the empty ole stove
Just a bundle of rags on the floor.
She's suffering too, I kin tell by her
Comes an' goes with a queer sort of sound,
But soon she'll be put
Where she's wantin' to be,
In a bit of a box underground.
Lots of times, just the same,
When I ain't sold me papers,
When I'm hungry and me fingers is blue,
I hitch up me belt and blow on me hands,
And thinks, Lizzie — I wish I was you. Tom Sleeper Allah Knows Better Just a Turkish War Story
aga of Moerch, in Gen, had been fighting against the
rebellious Christians of Macedonia. Because a Christian — so
thought the aga — was never a good soldier, the dogs of
Macedonia had cut off his right hand. Therefore, he petitioned
for a pension claiming to be an invalid. But the bey decreed
that only such were invalids as have neither arms nor legs;
but the aga having still his left hand and both legs could not
be considered to be made the beneficiary of a pension. The aga
was a learned man who knew well the laws of his country and
who even had learned how to write. Therefore, he wrote with
his left hand to the pasha of his district, claiming to be an
invalid and entitled to the pensions granted by the
government. The pasha decided in his favor, but because he had
directed his claims directly to him and not to the effendi, he
had the aga punished with twenty lashes on his soles. The aga
received the twenty lashes and then entered a complaint to the
ceraskier, who commissioned the military kadi with the
investigation of the case. The ceraskier found among old laws
and codices that only he can be a soldier of the sultan who is
in full possession of his right hand, and he also found a
military law according to which soldiers could write to their
superiors, using their right hand only. The aga put in as
defense that he was not a soldier any longer at the time he
lost his right hand. The wise kadi was of the opinion that the
aga had been a soldier until dismissed by his bey, no matter
whether he was in possession of his right hand or not; and
therefore, he should have written to the pasha with his right
hand. After careful deliberation he arrived at the decision
that the aga who, while being a soldier had written with his
left hand to a superior officer, should be punished very
severely. His left hand should be cut off. Such was the
verdict of the military kadi and he added: "Allah knows
The grand sultan said, after having been informed of the
verdict pronounced by the kadi: "By the beard of the prophet,
only a right believing Muslim can be a righteous judge." Translated from the German,
author unknown, by Guido Bruno In Our
you answer a stranger, who after jumping through the open
window into your room should ask: "Who are you? — in whose
room am I?" Would you be kind and obliging and tell him who
has annoyed you who you are and what the name of the street is
on which the house stands upon which he has intruded, or,
would you be indignant and throw him out?
Isn't it about the same if
the telephone bell rings violently, interrupting you in work,
sleep or conversation, and then you hear some impertinent
sounding voice asking: "Who is this please?" And you know that
this happens to you almost every day. The telephone is a
wonderful invention. But blessed are those who do not need it.
Its advantages are indispensable, but the annoyance it causes
to the individual constantly does not permit us to rejoice
over this commerce promoting invention. Especially here in
Greenwich Village the service is undependable and time
absorbing because of its inefficiency and annoying on account
of the ignorance, indolence and unwillingness of the
operators. We pay a nickel for each call, and I believe we are
entitled to an immediate connection; we are entitled to a
report on a number which we do not get The telephone
pay-stations in the various drug stores and hotels (the nickel
pay-stations) are still worse than the private wire. The
report "Does not answer" or "Busy" is rarely given if not
asked for specifically by the user of the telephone.
'Information' needs an unusually long time to look up a name
or a number. And then there seems to be an inefficiency which
makes itself hard felt in the regulations concerning rooming
houses and lodging houses. A good many rooming houses in our
village — so-called studio buildings — extend to the
inhabitants' telephone privileges. The people who live there
are naturally not registered in the telephone book but the
owner of the telephone, who is either the caretaker or the
proprietor of the house. Very rarely do we know the name of
the people and if we ask 'information' to give us the
telephone number of such and such a house at such and such
street, the information will be denied because we don't know
the name under which the telephone is entered, and especially
hard is it to get the number in such a house where there are
several instruments installed and the owner or caretaker of
such a building neglected to state his occupation at the time
he signed his contract.
And if you have an instrument
of your own on your desk or in your house, how often does the
bell ring and it is a ''mistake" or you don't get an answer at
all or an indignant sounding voice will answer; "Who is this?"
Complaining! — it won't do
any good. Where there is no competition, there is absolute
independence. No matter how disappointed, you have to continue
it or go without it.
Life is so short that we
really should try to exclude everything which adds unpleasant
moments to our days. And who hasn't had unpleasant experiences
with his telephone?
The Greenwich Village
Battalion, United States Boy Scouts, has become an important
factor in the lives of the youth of the Village. Organized
less than two years ago, it now numbers more than three
hundred members, has up-to-date equipment, with drum, fife and
bugle corps of sixty pieces and frequently shows at theatres,
exhibitions and at every local affair. Its four Captains have
seen service with Uncle Sam's regulars. Drills are held each
Monday and Thursday night at Public School 95, Clarkson
Street, near Hudson Street.
A committee of lifelong
residents of Old Greenwich Village with Charles F. Dillon, as
Chairman, John McFarland, Secretary, and Jesse Heim,
Treasurer, assist Colonel Nolan and his officers.
The exhibition of paintings,
marine scenes and forest scenes, including portraits of
Abraham Lincoln and of Nancy Hanks, Lincoln's mother, by
Captain George Edward Hall, will continue on the walls of
Bruno's Garret until the last days in January.
Charles Keeler will read in a
recital in Bruno's Garret, on the evening of Monday, January
24th, a group of etchings from his new collected poems, "The
Mirror of Manhattan." They are realistic impressions of people
met in the metropolis, with reflections from many angles of
life, high and low. His program comprises, with one or two
exceptions, only numbers which have not hitherto been heard.
Among them are his "Knight Songs for Children" and a group
from "The Victory," including picturesque and musical numbers
in marked contrast to the realistic note in his poems of New
The reading will start at
8:15 sharp. Admission is by ticket only. Because the seating
capacity is limited, it will be necessary to close the garret
if this limit is reached.
Charlotte James, well known
to the frequenters of Charles Edison's Little Thimble Theatre,
is severely ill and will not be able to appear at her usual
seat at the piano, for quite a while.
Robert McQuinn, the scenic
artist, who designed the stage settings for the
"Hip-Hip-Hooray" and for the latest Dillingham success, "Stop,
Look and Listen!" closed last week a contract for a new
production. He will spend a few weeks in Atlantic City, his
home town, before he engages in his new work.
Pepe & Brother, the real
estate kings of the village, are rebuilding at present several
old residences into studio buildings. They are combining the
useful with the pleasant, taking into consideration the light
and space requirements of people who wish to work in comfort
Miss Gertrude C. Mosshart,
publicity agent of the National American Woman's Suffrage
Association of Washington, D. C., made a thorough
investigation of our village during her recent short stay in
New York and she thought it would be great to start a sort of a
village in the capital. Passing Paris Paris,
enthusiasm sending a Charles Peguy — a humanist in his
opinions to the war should be a proof of my assertion as to
the popularity of this war at its outset before opinion had
been fanned by the press and the cabal of optimistic
falsehoods which M.M. Tery in L'Oeuvre, Compere-Morel in L'Humanite, and that
tardy patriot Herve (who once said the dunghill was the only
proper place for the national flag, in La Guerre Sociale are
now, somewhat late in the day and long after the public has
opened its eyes of its own accord, beginning to criticize. Yet
one may ask oneself whether this artificially created optimism
had not its advantages if it helped to contribute to the
stoicism shown by the French to every one's, including their
The Germans argue that war cannot be conducted courteously.
The French may reply that as it cannot be conducted without
hatred, therefore, as with other munitions, the more there is
of it the better, and that whatever is done to increase the
supply is justified by the end in view.
If purists of the truth, humanitarians, pacifists and
socialists, etc., had not undergone the metamorphosis they did
it is possible Paris would now be as German as Brussels. Which
would be a grievous pity.
One of the leaders of the symbolist movement, Stuart Merrill,
has just died at Versailles, his residence, at the age of
fifty-two years. Like Jean Moreas, like the Comtesse de
Noailles, like Renee Vivien, Stuart Merrill was a foreigner —
an American of the United States — who had elected to express
himself in French in preference to his native tongue, in which
he had, however, made his first poetic attempts. He had
acquired familiarity with the language of France during his
childhood, having been educated at a Paris lycee. He had named his
different volumes of poetry Les
Poemes d'Automne, Les
Quatre Saisons, and Une Voix dans la Foule, M. Anatole France
said that he was a poet appealing only to the ear, but a poet
who can hold attention by this means is a clever man. The
criticism cannot, however, be extended to all his poems
M. Ricciotto Canudo, an Italian who writes in French, author
of La Ville Sans Chef,
a book with ideas, has been distinguishing himself in Serbia,
where he has been promoted to the rank of captain — a titled
that I believe he alone among literary soldiers has as yet
The poet-humorist Guillaume Appollinaire, who has occasionally
been quoted in these columns, is a second lieutenant.
Muriel Ciolkowska Extract from a Letter to
"The Egoist," London
and Magazines of the Week
OUR old friend,
Hippolyte Havel, has reached the goal of his ambition. He has
a magazine of his own. Hard and discouraging were his
tribulations, but now the two numbers published of his paper,
"The Revolt," must compensate him fully. And there is another
credit due Hippolyte Havel: he is the man who first conceived
the idea of starting a kind of an eating house in Greenwich
Village, a place where artists and writers could eat wholesome
food in a congenial atmosphere. The Greenwich Village Inn, as
it was originally on Washington Place and still longer ago in
the basement of 137 MacDougal Street, called "The Basement,"
was his creation. His contributors are men well known to the
average magazine reader. But in what a different vein do they
give themselves in Havel's "Revolt!"
"Three years go," says Mr.
Reedy in the current issue of his Mirror, "the Encyclopedia
Brittanica was sold widely at a good, plump sum on what looked
like a positive guarantee that it would never be cheaper in
price at first hand. Now there's an edition advertised at a
reduction of 46 per cent. Even though this edition is put
forth by Sears, Roebuck & Co., a corporation headed by
philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, there's something like a
swindle in this procedure. The purchasers of the earlier
edition were deceived or the new edition is not, as
advertised, the equal of the first. The publishers of the
first edition would appear definitely to have broken faith
with those who bought the book, to have robbed those
purchasers of the 46 per cent, the purchasers of the new
edition are said to save."
Edward J. O'Brien, the man
who read two thousand two hundred and some odd short stories
in order to select the best and publish the titles and the
names of their authors in the Boston Transcript, is represented in the
January issue of Kreymborg's Magazine of the New Verse with a
gentle poem, which discloses him as a luring shepherd. Max
Endicoff has in the same issue, a few etchings. He thinks just
as every one of us does, things we read a long time ago
somewhere else. But he writes and calls it "Etchings." That is
the difference, "see?" Yes, he is courageous.
The Missouri Mule
It is a monthly magazine of
fun, philosophy and puns, the good old sort of paper which
used to come from our western back woods. It really makes us
laugh and it is free from the intricacies of artists and
writers who wish to be at least twenty-five years ahead of
From his studio in Carnegie
Hall, A. G. Heaton, the artist and traveler, sends The
Nutshell, his little monthly paper. He sends it to his friends
to whom he has owed letters for quite a while, and to such
people as he wants to remind of his existence. It's a good
idea to have once a month such a wholesome letter day.
John C. Cournos contributes
in the current issue of the London "Egoist," to this new era
of revived Russian men of letters of twenty and more years
ago, a vivid picture of Feodor Sologub, author of twenty
volumes comprising almost every literary form, of which The Created Legend is
best known to English readers. A few translations of his
characteristic poems taken from this issue of "The Egoist,"
are reproduced on another page. ''The Egoist" is today the
only journal, which finds its way from Europe to our editorial
table, not saturated with this tiresome war business, giving a
review of everything of interest in literary matters and in
art, and even not excluding Germany and Austria.
Number 6 of these flying fame
pamphlets published by our London correspondent, Edward
Storer, contains a very original article on "Absolute Poetry,"
five poems by John Goodman, and a few verses by F. W. Tancred,
bringing us a new breath from the English shores. Among all
the realism of our contemporaries there seems to thrive a
small group of idealists, of artists. These poets are like
architects who have abandoned the designing of public
buildings in different styles and have started to work on
temples consecrated to gods; gods who are so real that one
could mistake them for the ancient divinities of the Greeks
and Romans. But they are just their own real gods. Charles Edison's Little
Its Real Mission
to make it clear once more: Mr. Charles Edison's Little
Thimble Theatre has no other purpose but to give young
American musicians, composers, poets and playwrights a
hearing. To act as a free forum accessible to everybody who
has done something that he considers worth while and to give
him a chance to be heard by an unprejudiced audience.
Judging from Mr. Edison's mail, a good many people seem to be
under the impression that the Thimble Theatre is a kind of
philanthropic institution for musicians and singers out of
employment, others mistake it for a concert hall where artists
of fame will be heard. The mere fact that one has a known
name, that one has a pocketful of newspaper clippings or has
sung or played before European princes and members of royal
families and has received medals and crosses of honor, bars
him from an appearance in the Little Thimble Theatre.
It is just the American who works and toils honestly in this
country and has not had, for some reason or another, a chance
to be rejected or accepted by an American public, that Mr.
Edison is interested in.
We live in an age of recognition. The tragedy of a Poe could
hardly be repeated today. The good work done will ultimately
gain recognition and it is solely up to the man himself to
create for himself the right circle of activities. America
needs good music, good poems, good books. While the writer has
it comparatively easy to persuade a publisher to see the
merits of his works, the musician is handicapped by that
supreme illusion which has taken hold of all impresarios and
producers of plays: that America has no music and that the
American has to look for real good stuff to Mother Europe. But
the worst of it is they don't want even to lend themselves to
an experiment. They are afraid of everything that hasn't got
the European label.
It would be megalomania to assume that the activities of the
Little Thimble Theatre, even if successful beyond expectation,
could change this condition. But the little snowball kicked
off incidentally from the high mountain grows to be a big
avalanche. And if the larger public cannot be reached and the
composer or musician derives no other benefit but to play in
public, his self-confidence is being strengthened and he
returns home filled with new ambitions, and plunges into his
work with new vigor.
Mr. Edison invites every American musician, composer or singer
to take advantage of his Little Thimble Theatre. Serious
efforts will find serious consideration. The Story
of Oscar Wilde's Life and Experience in Reading Gaol* By His Warder
*I am indebted for this
story to Mr. Patrick F. Modigan, Vfho has the original, in
the handwriting of Oscar Wilde's warder, and also the two
manuscripts mentioned in this story.
I NEVER saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little patch of blue
Which prisoners call the sky;
And at every wandering cloud
Its reveled fleeces by
ex-prison warder who was at Reading Gaol during the entire
period of Wilde's incarceration, has drawn aside the veil that
hid the ill-fated man of genius during his degradation and
despair "in the depths."
The publication of the posthumous book by the great literary
genius, who "sinned and suffered." has induced this warder,
who had charge of Oscar Wilde during his imprisonment, to tell
how that unhappy man of letters ''circled the center of pain"
as he in poignant phrase described the daily prison ordeal.
"The warders strutted up
And watched their herd
wrote Wilde on his release, and in this fragment of verse can
be read his own bitter self-contempt Of the warders
themselves, he made no complaint — he regarded them as simply
instruments of an iron, soul killing system that might be
right — or wrong.
The warders, on their side, knew how terrible was the
punishment the former pampered pet of society must be
undergoing, for they could see he was suffering a thousand
fold because of his strangely sensitive temperament and
previous ignorance of all hardships and iron discipline.
"Poor Wilde," writes his former prison custodian, who is by no
means the iron-hearted creature warders are generally suppose
"I remember, before he was transferred from Wandsworth Prison,
the governor of Reading Gaol said to us, 'A certain prisoner
is about to be transferred here, and you should be proud to
think the Prison Commissioners have chosen Reading Gaol as the
one most suitable for this man to serve the remainder of his
sentence in.' "
"The governor never told us the name, but directly the
prisoner arrived, we saw that 'C33' which was his prison
letter and number, afterwards made famous by him, thus signing
the 'Ballad of Reading Gaol' was none other than Oscar Wilde."
"The probable cause of his transfer from Wandsworth Prison was
his inability to comply with the regulation tasks allotted to
his class of prisoner. On one or two occasions he had been
brought up before the governor there for idleness at
oakum-picking or talking."
"I remember my first sight of the fallen literary idol of whom
all the world was then talking in terms of infamy."
''A tall figure with a large head and fat, pendulous cheeks,
with hair that curled artistically, and a hopeless look in his
eyes — that was Oscar Wilde as I first met him."
"Not even the hideous prison garb, or 'C 33,' the badge of
ignominy he bore could altogether hide the air of distinction
and ever-present intellectual force that lifted him always far
above 'the herd of brutes,' as he so bitterly afterwards
styled his fellow convicts and himself."
"From the first it was apparent to us that he was totally
unfit for manual work, or hardships of any kind, and he was
"He was no good for anything — except writing, and that as a
rule, has small place inside a prison. But on account of his
former greatness a small concession was made him, and he was
allowed to read and write as much as he liked."
"Had this boon not been granted him he would, I am confident,
have pined away and died. He was so unlike other men. Just a
bundle of brains —and that is all."
"When he arrived his hair was long and curly, and it was
ordered to be cut at once."
"It fell to my lot as warder in charge to carry out this order
and cut his hair, and never shall I forget it."
"To Oscar Wilde it seemed as though the clipping of his locks,
and thus placing him on the same level as the closely shorn,
bullet-headed prisoners round him was the last drop in the cup
of sorrow and degradation which he had to drain to the bitter
" 'Must it be cut,' he cried piteously to me. 'You don't know
what it means to me,' and the tears rolled down his cheeks."
"It may seem somewhat ludicrous to some who do not know, as I
do, what a curiously constituted character was that of Oscar
Wilde but I know it cut me to the heart to have to be the
person to cause him his crowning shame. Warders have feelings,
although their duty will not always allow them to show it" (To be Continued)
Maude: A Memory By Guido Bruno
most unusual thing that Courtland would have done could not
have astonished him more than this hoarsely uttered question.
Mrs. Regan involuntarily made a few steps back toward the door
of the waiting-room. There she stood for seconds that seemed
hours. Kenneth, watching the doctor, did not seem to pay any
attention to her presence in the room. She opened the door.
She opened it slowly; inch by inch the interior of the waiting
room could be seen from the doctor's den. A nurse was busying
herself noiselessly with some papers on a small table. In a
deep leather upholstered chair sat a young woman. Shortly
after she had espied Mrs. Regan, she jumped to her feet,
crossed the room with hasty steps. "Will he go, mother? Is he
coming with us?" She stood in the open doorway. Both men
looked at her.
"Courtland!" exclaimed the girl, approaching the doctor with
extended hand, "I know you'll go with us, please do."
"So you are not married, Maude?" was the answer of the doctor
who had grasped the hand, holding it tightly in his.
Mrs. Maude Regan was introducing her daughter Maude, to
Kenneth. There seemed to be method in the madness that she had
feared to read in Courtland's face, in his actions.