Page images

seed were dropped among ourselves? That depends, perhaps, less upon the vitality of the seed than upon the nature of the ground. It is not essentially difficult to imagine some English labor revolutionary overwhelmed—over-balanced, rather—with a sense of the general unfairness of things, which places this or that man in apparently certain prosperity, free at all events from fear of hunger, and which sets other men day after day and year after year wondering where the next meal is to come from. Why, he might ask, should these great strong laborers earn so little? Honest men whose sons, maybe, are soldiers, and whose daughters, maybe, breed soldiers,—why should it not be possible for them to earn more than eighteen shillings or twenty shillings a week? Such questions, answered in one way, mean revolution such as has twice crushed au

The Spectator.

thority in France, and may yet alter its nature in Russia, though the Russian peasant is as slow to resent bullying with violence, and is perhaps naturally as good, as the English. The English character takes fire slowly, and it may be that it has only been the Poor Law which has saved the country from revolution among the hungry poor before now. But if that is true, it is none the less true that revolution in England has always been led by men, and that an English Louise Michel is never likely to arise, simply because she would be laughed at if she suggested violence. She would only be followed with enthusiasm if, like Florence Nightingale, she preached the immediate alleviation rather than the creation of pain,—even though the creation of pain were a means to an end.


"Peter Pan; or," adds Mr. Barrie, "The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up." And he himself is that boy. That <rhild, rather; for he halted earlier than most of the men who never come to maturity—halted before the age when soldiers and steam-engines begin to dominate the soul. To remain, like Mr. Kipling, a boy, is not at all uncommon. But I know not anyone who remains, like Mr. Barrie, a child. It is this unparalleled achievement that informs so much of Mr. Barrie's later work, making it unique. This, too, surely, it is that makes Mr. Barrie the most fashionable playwright of his time.

Undoubtedly, "Peter Pan" is the best thing he has done—the thing most directly from within himself. Here, at last, we see his talent in its full ma

turity; for here he has stripped off from himself the last flimsy remnants of a pretence to maturity. Time was when a tiny pair of trousers peeped from under his "short-coats," and his sunny curls were parted and plastered down, and he jauntily affected the absence of a lisp, and spelt out the novels of Mr. Meredith and said he liked them very much, and even used a pipe for another purpose than that of blowing soapbubbles. But all this while, bless his little heart, he was suffering. It would have been pleasant enough to play at being grown-up among children of his own age. It was a fearful strain to play at being grown-up among grownup persons. But he was forced to do this, because the managers of theatres, and the publishers of books, would have been utterly dumfounded if he

had asked them to take him as he was. The public, for all its child-worship, was not yet ripe for things not written ostensibly by adults. The managers, the publishers, the public, had to be educated gradually. A stray curl or two, now and again, an infrequent soap-bubble between the fumes—that was as much as could be adventured just at first. Time passed, and mankind was lured, little by little, to the point when it could fondly accept Mr. Barrie on his own terms. The tiny trousers were slipped off, and under the toy-heap were thrust the works of Mr. Meredith. And everyone sat around, nodding and smiling to one another rather fatuously, and blessing the little heart of Mr. Barrie. All was not yet well, though—not perfectly well. By force of habit, the child occasionally gave itself the airs of an adult. There were such moments even in "Little Mary." Now, at last, we see at the Duke of York's Theatre Mr. Barrie in his quiddity undiluted— the child in a state of nature, unabashed—the child, as it were, in its bath, splashing, and crowing as it splashes.

The first of all differences between the minds of a child and an adult is the vividness and abundance of a child's fancy. Silently in solitude, or orally among its peers, a child can weave an endless web of romance around itself and around all things. As a child grows into boyhood, this delicate faculty is dimmed. Manhood, in most cases, destroys it utterly. For, as we come to manhood, the logical side of our brain is developed; and the faculty for logic is ever foe to the faculty for romance. It is only in our sleep, when the logical side of the brain is at rest, that the romantic side is at liberty to assert Itself. In our dreams we are still fluently romantic, fertile in curious Invention. In our dreams romance rises up, laughing, to

lord it over logic who lords it over her all day long. She laughs, and leads him a dance all through the night. Sometimes, if we wake suddenly in the night, so suddenly that we remember a dream clearly, logic in us is forced to admit that romance is no mere madcap—that there is, at least, a method in her madness, and that, as man to woman, he is no match for her at her best. Yes, sometimes, remembering a dream, we marvel at the verisimilitude of it, marvel at the soundness of invention in the dialogue that we were waging, or in the adventure that had befallen us. And, with a sigh, we confess that we could not compass consciously so admirable an effect. Even when, as usually happens, the remembered dream is but a tissue of foolishness, how amusing the foolishness is! Why cannot we be amusingly foolish in the manifold follies of our hours of vigil? On the whole, certainly, our minds work to better effect when we sleep than when we wake. Why cannot we sleep for ever? Or, since the mind of a man sleeping is equivalent to a child's mind, why cannot we be for ever children? It Is only the man of genius who never experiences this vain regret—never hankers after childhood, with all its material and moral discomforts, for sake of the spiritual magic in It. For the man of genius is that rare creature in whom imagination, not ousted by logic in full growth, abides, uncramped, in unison with fullgrown logic. Mr. Barrie is not that rare creature, a man of genius. He Is somethiug even more rare—a child who, by some divine grace, can express through an artistic medium the childishness that is in him.

Our dreams are nearer to us than our childhood, and it is natural that "Peter Pan" should remind us more instantly of our dreams than of our childish fancies. One English dramatist, a man of genius, realized a dream for us; but the logic in him prevented him from indulging in that wildness and incoherence which are typical of all but the finest dreams. Credible and orderly are the doings of Puck in comparison with the doings of Peter Pan. Was ever, out of dreamland, such a riot of inconsequence and of exquisite futility? Things happen in such wise that presently one can conceive nothing that might not conceivably happen, nor anything that one would not, as in a dream, accept unhesitatingly. Even as in a dream, there is no reason why the things should ever cease to happen. What possible conclusion can inhere in them? The only possible conclusion is from without. The sun shines through the bedroom window, or there is a tapping at the bedroom door, or— some playgoers must catch trains, others must sup. Even as you, awakened, turn on your pillow, wishing to pursue the dream, so, as you leave the Duke of York's, will you rebel at the dream's rude and arbitrary ending, and will try vainly to imagine what other unimaginable things were in store for you. For me to describe to you now in black and white the happenings in "Peter Pan" would be a thankless task. One cannot communicate the magic of a dream. People who insist on telling their dreams are among the terrors of the breakfast table. You must go to the Duke of York's, there to dream the dream for yourselves.

The fact that Mr. Barrie is a child would be enough, in this generation which so adores children, to account for his unexampled vogue. But Mr. Barrie has a second passport. For he, too, even pre-eminently, adores children—never ceases to study them and

The Saturday Review.

their little ways, and to purr sentimental paeans over them, and finds it even a little hard to remember that the world really does contain a sprinkling of adults. In fact, his attitude towards children is the fashionable attitude, struck more saliently by him than by anyone else, and with more obvious sincerity than by the average person. It is not to be wondered at that his preoccupation with children endears him to the community. The strange thing is the preoccupation itself. It forces me to suppose that Mr. parrie has. after all, to some extent, grown up. For children are the last thing with which a child concerns itself. A child takes children as a matter of course, and passes on to more important things —remote things that have a glorious existence in the child's imagination. A little boy does not say "I am a child." but "I am a pirate," or "a greengrocer," or "an angel," as the case may be. A little girl does not say "I am a little girl, and these are my dolls, and this is my baby-brother," but "I am the mother of this family." She lavishes on her dolls and on her baby-brother a wealth of maternal affection, cooing over them, and . . . stay! that is just Mr. Barrie's way. I need not, after all, mar by qualification my theory that Mr. Barrie has never grown up. He is still a child, absolutely. But some fairy once waved a wand over him, and changed him from a dear little boy into a dear little girl. Some critics have wondered why among the characters in "Peter Pan" appeared a dear little girl, named in the programme "Liza (the Author of the Play)." Now they know. Mr. Barrie was just "playing at symbolists."

Max Beerbohm.

Books and Authors.


"The Old Family Doctor," by Henry C. Bralnerd, M.D. (The Arthur H. Clark Company, Cleveland) is a little brochure, half-sketch, half-story, in which are embodied bits of experience and reminiscence of a medical practitioner. It Is the faithful and sympathetic family doctor, who knows more intimately than any other person the secret joys and dreads of the families which he enters and who faithfully guards them all, who is portrayed in these pages. The frontispiece, which depicts the doctor watching the hours of the night away at the bedside of a sick child, while the anxious parents wait the result near by, suggests the prevailing note of the little book. There is humor as well as sentiment in the book, and, strung upon its slender thread of narrative are many stories which illustrate the light and shade of a doctor's life.

A writer in the New York Times holds out high hopes that, through the projected excavation of Herculaneum "the world may see a recrudescence of interest in the classics comparable only to the great Renaissance of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries." It is no work in the dark, as in the case of Crete and Cyprus, for nothing is more certain than that buried far beneath the soil at Herculaneum are many splendid libraries which belong to the Roman gentlemen who made up the Herculaneum colony. The writer adds:

Only one villa of all those at Herculaneum has so far been laid bare. In that villa nearly 2,000 papyri were found. They were unrolled by a delirate process invented for the purpose, and the contents of a large number of them have been deciphered. Unfortunately the library turned out to lie

that of a specialist, a man who was interested in the Epicurean philosophy and in nothing else, but the chances are that this library was the only one of its kind in the city, and that in the other splendid villas there the papyri will prove to be of a general character, containing the works which represented in the first century of the Christian era the cultivation of the world.

Two volumes, the fourteenth and fifteenth, have been added to Mr. Archer Butler Hulbert's series of monographs upon the Historic Highways of America. The first is the second upon The Great American Canals, and is wholly devoted to The Erie Canal, from its origin in the mind of Gouverneur Morris to the recent referendum at which the sanction of the people was given to the widening and deepening of the great waterway. In the other volume, Mr. Hulbert leaves the past for the present and future, and presents a symposium on the "Future of Road-Making in America." He opens the discussion of this subject in an essay which bears the title of the volume. This is followed by highly practical and useful chapters on Government Cooperation in Object-Lesson Road Work by the Hon. Martin Dodge, Director of the Office of Public Road Inquiries; Good Roads for Farmers by the Hon. Maurice O. Eldridge, Assistant Director of the same office; The Selection of Materials for Macadam Roads by Logan Waller Page, expert in charge of the Road Material Laboratory, Division of Chemistry; and Stone Roads in New Jersey by E. G. Harrison, secretary of the New Jersey Road Improvement Association. These are important contributions to the literature of good roads.


To be erected in Paris before the Pantheon. Out of eternal bronze and mortal breath. And to the glory of man, me Rodin wrought; Before the gates of glory and of death I bear the burden of the pride of thought.

Arthur Symons. The Saturday Review.

For whenas the great gray battleships roll down upon the foe, Or when Togo's lean torpedo-boats charge shoreward through the snow. When the giant shells are crashing And the league-long searchlights flashing, Then Will Adams sees the triumph of his toil of long ago.

J. H. Knight-Adkin. The Spectator.


[On April 12th, 1600, a Dutch ship piloted by one William Adams, an Englishman, reached Japan. As the price of permission to build a factory at Firando they were compelled to hand over Adams to the Tycoon, for whom he built the first Japanese fleet. He was treated with all honor, but never allowed to return to England. He was the founder of Japanese shipbuilding, and after his death was made a god by them. He is buried on the hillside of Hemimura, above the naval arsenal of Yokosuka.] On the hill of Hemimura, looking out across the sea O'er the docks of Yokosuka and the warships sailing free 'Midst the Shinto pennons streaming. Lies Will Adams, still a-dreaming Of the busy Port o' London and the Kentish wood and lea.

He forgets the fleet he builded and the

decks that once he trod, That his grave's afar from England and his pall is alien sod. That the incense-sticks are burning And the praying-wheels a-turning To the name of William Adams, Kentish sailorman and god.

So he drowses till the screaming of the

sirens once again Calls him back to where beneath him, like mailed barons of the main. Ride the warships; while the rattle Of Dai Nippon's seaward battle Rings and mingles through his dreaming like a distant song's refrain:



White violets I'll entwine,
The smooth fresh daffodilly

With myrtles I'll entwine,
I'll twine the laughing lily:

Bright crocus with them twined

Blue hyacinth shall cover, And all around shall wind

The rose that loves the lover:

For Heliodora fair

To form a wreath, whose flowers On lovely perfumed hair

May fade and fall in showers.

(Anthologia Palatina, v. 147.>


Pour out, and murmuring as you pour. Say Heliodore, Heliodore; Blend in the wine-cup o'er and o'er Her sweet name, Heliodore. Bring to me wet with last night's myrrh The wreath she wore, the wreath sh» wore;

Wreathe it around my brows for her Remembrance,—Heliodore.

Ah see, the rose, love's loving rose.

Is weeping sore, is weeping sore: My darling elsewhere far it knows And on my breast no more!

(A. P. v. 13*;.> Walter Jleadlam

« PreviousContinue »