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Walter F. White
His Novel is Overdrawn?
Walter F. White is a slight, lighthaired, blue-eyed, soft-voiced young man, clever, wide-awake, efficient. He writes with skill and force. He has just published his first novel, The Fire in the Flint. It is a story of the oppression of the Negro race in the South, a story of melodramatic intensity and some bitterness. Walter White knows whereof he writes. He is a Negro.
He was graduated from Atlanta University in 1916 and has done graduate work in Economics and Sociology at the College of the City of New York. For a time he was in business; then he left to become Assistant Secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. I have known Mr. White for some time and admire him greatly. I recommend his novel to you, although you will find it tinged with irony that is perhaps overdrawn; but how should I know? Surely, his problem is one that makes for feeling, and it is hard to expect a man to put it on paper with fine balance.
That he has made many investigations of conditions in Southern towns, I know. His light color makes it possible for him to proceed in many cases without interference, where a man who was obviously a Negro would fail. He has, however, very nearly been killed several times, has exposed himself to great risks for the sake of his job, and is a fearless, clear-headed propagandist for the tolerance that he knows is the right of his race, in the sight of God.
That his feeling is not a calm one can be shown by a quotation from an article of his in the New York Evening Post some time ago:
"It would probably surprise many to know how often lynching mobs are composed to a considerable extent of men (and women) who would be ordinarily classed as good citizens. Does this always mean that some particularly horrible crime has stirred them to deeds unthinkable in calmer and more dispassionate moments? By no means. The spirit of mob violence has degenerated, if such a thing can degenerate, lower than the point at which it starts, to a stage where the most trivial incident can pierce the wall of soap-bubble thickness which divides law from anarchy in many States of the South. As H. L. Mencken declared in one of his essays, lynching takes the place of the merrygo-round, and offers a periodic relief from the tension of drab existence in Southern towns."
This is pretty strong meat. I know nothing of conditions in the South. Mr. White should. Certainly he writes of them with power. J. F.
THE FIRE IN THE FLINT-Walter F. White -Knopf ($2.50),
Nightly in the old Bowery Theatre, Manhattan, one may hear the eerie shiver of the Oriental cymbal, the monotonous tum-tum of the bass drum, the ultra-bitter sneer of the violin's E-string. This continues
from 7 to 12 p. m., without interruption. It is Chinese music, the real article, just imported fresh from Canton. Every few days a new opera is presented, in Chinese, by Chinamen and Chinawomen artists and singers, for a Chinese audience and entirely in the Chinese manner. The following opera may be taken as typical:
The Story. A wicked priest is infatuated with the virtuous heroine, a reputable and happily married woman. He contrives to make his unholy advances through a pandar, but is on every occasion sternly repulsed. The lady's husband is jealous. One night he finds a masculine slipper, not his own, in her room. Othello-like, he rashly accuses her of infidelity. To give adequate evidence of her honor, she throws herself into the river, but is fished out and hauled aboard a passing barge. It belongs to none other than the Emperor himself, on a joy ride with the Empress. The heroine tells her tale; the Emperor persuades her husband to believe in her honesty; all ends happily.
The Performance. The action was merely suggested, never carried out. The actors sang in shrill, piercing falsetto voices, displaying incredible endurance. Most of the principals were relieved by their understudies before the evening was over-except the prima donna, who carried on until midnight. The stage manager came out occasionally and told the audience what all the action was about. A stage hand moved on and off with tables, chairs and other props, as the "scene" changed. The costumes were the last word in Eastern sumptuousness; they were said to cost $500 apiece. There was no scenery.
In Central Park, Manhattan, was held last week a unique memory contest. To the 10,000 citizens who stood about the Mall listening to the orchestra which the City engages to entertain melodylovers, pieces of paper and sharp lead pencils were distributed. As the band played extracts from 100 different selections, the game was to jot down the name of the selection. The results were surprising in their excellence; almost all the scores were creditable. "How do you account for it?" an official was asked. "The movies," said he. "They teach people music. The day has gone
by when the girl at the piano could play Aint We Got Fun? as the aged mother passed away, or I Want a Daddy Who Will Rock Me to Sleep when the villain was in the heroine's boudoir. The music fits the scene, thus printing itself on the memory, since most people remember more easily by the eye than by the ear. The cinema, if it does nothing else, gives many thousands a fair knowledge of popular and classic melodies."
The composer Brahms was a prodiguous, forbidding fellow. His huge Teutonic whiskers used to sweep over his whole waistcoat as he remarked: "For the shallow delights of matrimony and opera I have no courage."
This spirit runs through his music, which makes no compromises with the sugary "lollypop-school." There are but few exceptions to this: His Hungarian Dances are played, with excessive abandon, by every vaudeville violinist and every café-orchestra in Paris, and his Wiegenlied is listed in the catalog of every gramophone-record manufacturer.
But the bulk of Brahms remains "musicians' music." This is particularly true of his chamber-music, classical forms to be executed by small combinations of stringed instruments and piano. Four or five solemnvisaged performers huddle their chairs into a little group in the centre of a platform and discourse with sweetness and subtlety-without the dramatic, vulgar crash of percussion units, without the resounding blare of brazen-throated trumpets and trombones. Such music demands a cult-and a temple.
And so it was peculiarly fitting that a Brahms chamber-music cycle, a veritable Brahms orgy, spread out over no less than two months, should have been celebrated this Summer at the "Temple of Chamber Music" at South Mountain, Pittsfield, Mass. Eight concerts were heard on successive Sunday afternoons, the last taking place on Aug. 31. The event was made possible by the financial devotion of Mrs. F. S. Coolidge, a real patroness, and by the artistic devotion of Maestro Willem Willeke, a real musician.
The renditions themselves were entrusted to the capable hands of the Elshuco Trio (founded by Mrs. Coolidge) and the Festival Quartet of South Mountain. The fare consisted exclusively of units which read as follows on the program: "Quintet in G Major (for two violins, two violas and 'cello) Opus 111: Allegro non troppo, Adagio,
Un poco allegretto, Vivace ma troppo presto." Scant nourishment for program-music fans, who demand information in print as to the doings of wood-nymphs, animals, ships at sea, Oriental ladies, babies, magicians, policemen and princesses whose doings, we are so often told, are portrayed by the gyrations of flutes and bassoons and the contortions of the conductor.
Nevertheless, the audiences at Pittsfield were large and enthusiastic (after their fashion) throughout the festival. They listened with intense and breathless concentration to the gradual development of embryo themes into tall, symmetrical skyscrapers of tone. When we add to this the fact that, in "popular" outdoor concerts this Summer, the concertos of Bach, the overtures of Beethoven and the symphonies of Brahms were among the best liked numbers, we can find ample refutation of the contentions of those deadheads who complain that U. S. Jazzmania is undermining the respect always due to the great triumvirate "the three B's" of music.
"What I hope to do in America is to show the public that masterpieces of music as stirring, as beautiful as the greatest of the past are being written today. I will present, in Boston, music never heard before, music which exists only in manuscripts which I have in my keeping, music written by men now living who will rank as high a century from now as Mozart or Beethoven!" No enemy to Jazz is Koussevitzky. It is stated of him that in London one night, stopping at a supper-club for a bite, he heard some young Americans rendering their native melodies. He listened; his bite grew cold. "I like good music," said he.
Koussevitzky has always been more concerned with the reality of achievement than with the appearance of it. For diverse interests he substitutes his great and lonely passion; he indulges no hobbies, tolerates in himself no eccentricities. In countenance, he is grave; in dress and manner, he resembles a cosmopolitan man of business. Only his hands and
eyes admit the implication that this business has to do with Art. He was born in Tver, in Northern Russia, and received his first employment as double bass in the Moscow Imperial Opera. He rose to become a conductor and toured Europe with his orchestra. Revolt he has always accepted; even Revolution, with red flags and black drums, did not stop his music. He gave concerts in deserted places, when it was so cold that the brass players had to wear mittens.
In France, he was famed as a hunter after talent and a friend of young composers. He introduced Paris to the works of several excellent musicians, hitherto unheard-of; his wife, known as one of the most charming women in Moscow, shared this interest. To her were dedicated the works of such young Russians as Scriabin and Stravinsky. With bread and meat she fed the inspiration of more than one hungry genius who discovered, during the War, that Art was long and food was short.
In spite of his amenity to what is untried, Koussevitzky takes no liberties with the classics. There is no trace of modernity in his reading of them, just as there is no affected classicism in his reading of the mod
Invasion of Cuba
The Government of Cuba, through its Chargé d'Affaires at Washington, Arturo Padro, formally invited the New York Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Walter Damrosch, to appear in a series of concerts at Havana in January.
Mr. Harry Harkness Flagler, President of the Symphony Society of New York, accepted, couching his reply in the following faultless diplomatic language:
"I beg to say that we accept the invitation with true appreciation of the honor shown us by your Government. May I ask you to convey to the Cuban Secretary of State my acknowledgement of the official recognition of the projected visit of the organization with which I am connected, and my earnest hope that the concerts of the Symphony Society of New York to be given in Havana under the auspices of the 'Sociedad Pro Arte Musical' may not only bring closer together the musical interests of our respective countries, but may serve as a reminder of the friendship in which we hold our sister Republic."
The New Pictures
Little Robinson Crusoe. It must be a discouraging task searching for vehicles in which Jacky Coogan can travel new stages on the road that he has paved for himself thus far with great prosperity. None of his later films seem much more than thinly gilded frames in which to set his brilliantly expressive countenance. In the current picture he is wrecked on a cannibal island, and disports himself amidst the cannibal can-can.
The Iron Horse. Heralds had busily prepared the advent of this luxuriously equipped film with announcements that it was a second Covered Wagon. When it arrived, it turned out to be a steam engine instead of a prairie schooner and not such an irresistible choo-choo at that. The story attempts to be an epic commemoration of the spanning of the U. S. with steel rails. It is probably pretty good history but there was oil on the tracks somewhere and the drama never got completely under way.
The Man Who Came Back. Patrons of the high blood pressure drama will recall this melo-sample of a few years back. The hero slides down the widely advertised trough of iniquity and gets the brakes working just before he pitches over the edge. For the outcome, the reader is referred to the title. George O'Brien and Dorothy Mackaill are the slider and the brakes respectively. The action roams just about all over the world, gets into opium dens and that sort of thing, and manages to make itself thoroughly exciting.
Flirting With Love. Is a very bad title for an excellent picture. In the general course of events, an eminent alienist becomes involved with a somewhat less celebrated actress. For good and sufficient but too complicated reasons to discuss here, the lady is playing the rôle of a dual personality to dupe the scientists, Finally he writes a play and she wins the lead, intending to burlesque the action at the opening. She falls in love with him just too soon to consummate her highly ingenious revenge. Colleen Moore is the woman in the case and offers one of her most attractive performances. Conway Tearle, the alienist, is typically Tearle, which for several million people is all that's
The Female. Africa is the setting. A fierce girl supposed to have been nursed by lions, the heroine. A murder of her Boer husband, the climax. A handsome English lion-hunter, the anti-climax. Betty Compson is the female supposed to be so deadly. She is
The Werewolf: Described by Alexander Woollcott as "the most sedulously pornographic comedy of recent years," this adaptation from the German of Rudolph Lothar created a stir in Manhattan last week. Mr. Woollcott went on to describe the play as one "with three acts, nine actors and six cases of adultery."
Into the household of a Spanish noblewoman comes a famous medium. The night before the action opens, three peasant girls have been mysteriously assaulted on the grounds of the estate.
These misdemeanors are laid to the malignant influence of the spirit of Don Juan, summoned by the inquisitive Duchess in her spiritualistic seances. Later, the specific malefactor is determined to be the astral body of a bashful young professor who is engaged in teaching the daughter of the household poetry.
Promptly the pious Duchess falls in love with the professor. Through a misarrangement of rendezvous, the second act curtain finds her in the darkened living room-and in the arms of her butler. Meanwhile the maid of the household and the daughter fall in love with the same Professor. Through a second misarrangement, the maid entertains the daughter's visiting fiancé while the daughter wanders through the gardens learning other things but literature from her Professor.
It is obvious that such adventures must be discussed by the most suavely proficient of players in the lightest and most sophisticated of moods. Laura Hope Crews as the Duchess, Leslie Howard
as the Professor, Marion Coakley as the daughter and Vincent Serrano as the butler lend just those touches that make the whole thing possible. Despite their silken methods, the purple patches of the play are as dull as they are daring, while the rest of it is light comedy in its most advanced and animated state.
the first act, leaving the play to be reviewed by his astral body."
E. W. Osborn-"The astral body theory. . . made it an eminently proper play. It took the edge from the guilty delight of such spectators as had thought to shout 'Wow!' and felt impelled instead to murmur 'Blah!'"
The Easy Mark. It all depends upon one's attitude toward the Theatre.
WALTER HUSTON He bounded
If one is a highly seasoned old theatregoer with an English mustard mind, The Easy Mark will seem a wasted effort. On the other hand, if one is a simple soul who still believes, theatrically, in Santa Claus, its friendly jokes and aseptic sentimentality will render the two hours of its performance agreeable.
The play argues amiably the thesis that kindly virtue is likely to succeed even without intelligence. The central character buys oil wells from the villains. The content of these wells materializes as salt water. There is another act in which the properties are rendered again unto the villains for $190,000. Suspense is presumably maintained by the fickle character of these gushers as they become good, bad, and indifferent according to the playwright's exigencies.
Walter Huston, who bounded from the precarious footholds of vaudeville to a secure personal success last season in Mr. Pitt, is the amateur Doheny. As an ineffective but irresistibly lovable
As all good things must, the Williamstown Institute of International Politics came to an end. Two bursts of forensic fireworks and a deal of summing up marked the closing sessions.
¶ M. Louis A. Aubert, political editor of the fortnightly Revue de Paris, rounded off his series of utterances by calling the World Court the "white hope" of World Peace but went on to say that it was ineffectual without dependence upon the League.
Oswald Garrison Villard, pacifist editor of the Nation, then drew much odium upon himself by assailing U. S. men and methods in the Government's Latin-American policy. The U. S. rules all but six Latin-American Republics "by bullets and bankers," the U. S. "dragooned" Mexico for U. S. oil interests, said Mr. Villard. "The blood of the 3,000 Haytians slain by our American marines, and of the 400 dead in Vera Cruz, mostly women and children, dishonors our good name, especially when involved with so sordid a business as debt collection!"
Cried Army and Navy officers: "Sit down!"
The New York Sun: "O. G. Villard grows fat on the proofs of his own error."
Yusuke Tsurumi, suave, patient young Japanese liberal, explained that the U. S. exclusion policy might well drive his countrymen into the dread Siberian morasses of Communism.
Boris A. Bakhmetev, onetime Russian (Kerensky) envoy to the U. S., hoped and believed that the future would link the U. S., England and Russia "in a belt of well-meaning Democracies encircling the globe." Others present, both anti- and pro-Soviet, agreed with him on this indefinite prediction. Colonel William N. Haskell, U. S. Russian Relief head, a second time urged a Russo-U. S. conclave.
The Rev. E. A. Walsh, of Georgetown University, Director General of the Papal Relief Mission to Russia, touched off the week's second pyrotechnical display by stating that the Soviet Government had officially admitted to the execution of 1,800,000 persons between 1917 and 1922. Arthur B. Ruhl, traveler and journalist, declared the figures "quite impossible." Dr. Harry A. Garfield, host of the Institute, also deprecated, suggested Father Walsh had meant to include all those killed in riots, street skirmishes and the like. Father Walsh stuck to his story, however, and received support from Sir Bernard Pares, English editor. The Russian discussion ended on a note of extreme condemnation of all things Soviet, fiery
John Spargo, U. S. platform-socialist, joining in.
Professor Henry Pratt Fairchild, of New York University, reiterated his solemn warning to the world against overpopulation, urged an ethical birthcontrol and a curb upon migration. Rear Admiral William L. Rodgers, U. S. N., took the occasion to predict a clash of yellow and white men in Australia when America and the Orient overflow their Continents, and also pointed a finger of suspicion at Japan for the late Philippine disturbances. Suave Tsurumi avowed Japan's inno
On the final day, Woodrow Wilson's name was conjured with in Chapin Hall. Prof. Sidney Bradshaw Fay, of Smith College, said he has second-hand but reliable information that Woodrow Wilson died content that the League was gaining ground even without the U. S.
Claim was made by the Christian Science Monitor that its plan "to take the profit out of war," as put forward last November, "overshadowed" all else and was roundly supported at Prof. Fay's round table, the last of the Institute. This plan called for a U. S. Constitutional Amendment:
In the event of a declaration of war, the property, equally with the persons, lives and liberties of all citizens, shall be subject to conscription for the defense of the Nation.
The Press. As the 225 members of the 1924 Institute were shaking hands and catching trains, editors cogitated.
James Ernest King, correspondent for the Boston Transcript: “From all this wealth of words, has there resulted-only a confusion of counsel, a trackless waste of pros and cons? It is not fair to say so. . . . The Institute is proving itself a major propulsive force in the upbuilding of what broadly may be termed 'an American imperial mind. . . .'
Christian Science Monitor: "The fourth session . . . has been notable for the strong tone of optimism. . . . The picture of a Continent [Europe] hurtling toward a bottomless abyss, limned [last year and before] in flaming colors by John Maynard Keynes, Frank A. Vanderlip and Signor Nitti, and in more restrained tints by Sir Philip Gibbs and many others, is authoritatively declared to be without relation to present conditions.
Where once fine horses tossed their
And champed their oats and hay,
Now daily flock the folks with brains, To dine and talk and play.
So reads the shingle over the door of a little inn at Siasconset, Mass., on cool, sandy, windswept Nantucket Island. Within, the sessions of the 'Sconset Summer School have been going on for many weeks. The school was founded in 1922 as "The School of Opinion" by Frederic C. Howe, political economist, onetime U. S. Commissioner of Immigration. Its first three periods of the 1924 season were devoted to Psychology and Psychoanalysis, to Art and Literature, to Politics and International Affairs. Last week the fourth session, on Opinion, began.
Near the inn, in fishermen's dwellings, bungalows, and a row of neat Summer cottages, dwells the heterogeneous, shifting "student body." Coming and going, staying or leaving, are members of both sexes and various generations-novelists, doctors, lawyers, merchants, a playwright who challenges the lecturers, a Lucy Stone Leaguer, a judge from South Carolina who calls himself a "Freshman at 60" because he is going to school at the University of South Carolina.
They pay their fees, attend the lectures or not, as they see fit, sit in groups at the little inn over fish dinners and feasts of the intellect. During past weeks, among the lecturers have been: Sinclair Lewis (Bolshevism in books), Floyd Dell (psychology), Prof. Richard Swann Lull of Yale University (zoölogy).
Among the lecturers for September are announced: Horace M. Kallen and Everett Dean Martin speaking on the same day from different viewpoints of psychology; Dr. Albert Loyal Crane, of Chicago, on "the unusual child and other fields of applied psychology"; Sinclair Lewis on "literary idiocies"; Bruce Bliven, of the New Republic, on political aspects of the age of jazz, the jazz press, Church and State, wild youth-a gamut of subjects. Herbert Adams Gibbons, journalist-professor, "do" the Near and Far Easts.
As in the past two months, extra lecturers are expected to drift in unannounced.
The Chinese Ministry of Education published an order advising provincial authorities against sending students to the U. S. "Ther college courses are inefficient," said the Ministry. "Send your students to Europe." Notwithstanding this advice, 118 Chinese students last week clattered up the gangway of the President Jefferson and sailed from Shanghai for the U. S.
Differences of opinion as to the teachings of Jesus Christ first became historic at the Council of Nicaea, A. D. 325.
Christanity first became the socially correct religion by the fiat of Emperor Constantine the Great, then living. He was born at Nish.*
The Serbian Orthodox Church now proposes that the 1,600th anniversary of the Council of Nicaea shall be celebrated at the birthplace of the Emperor next year.
The celebration shall be itself an Ecumenical Council. The Rumanian and Greek Churches have given their consent,and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople stated that he would not object since, for obvious reasons, the Council cannot be held in his palace on the Bosphorous.
The Council will be contemporaneous with the Holy Year festivals of the Roman Catholic Church, and prelates of the latter are expected to visit Nish unofficially.
Thousands of Eastern Orthodox Bishops will attend; a new hotel is imperative.
His Holiness received several hundred of the faithful-most of them invalids the day before they set out on a pilgrimage to Lourdes. The Pilgrims proceeded to Genoa, where they joined 4,000 en route.
On Dec. 12, 1531, at Guadalupe, the Blessed Virgin appeared to a newly converted Mexican Indian. The local bishop could not believe that the vision was authentic. Some days later, she appeared again to the Indian, and this time her image became painted on the fibre of his blanket. The Bishop saw and believed.
Recently, one-armed Obregon, long an enemy of the Church, declared (TIME, Sept. 1): "The Virgin of Guadalupe always has been regarded as Mexico's Queen; as such she merits our gratitude and respect."
Last week, the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared at the village of Tres Bocas in the province of Vera Cruz. Daily her image appeared, at 8 a. m. and at noon, on the stump of a large tree in a cornfield. It would speak only to a native girl, aged nine, asking that a Church be built on the site of the tree stump.
The Isthmus Railroad put on special trains for pilgrims. The traffic is increasing.
Nish shines in Balkan history, but to the naked eye it is a miserably dirty village. Serbs all it a railroad and industrial center. True, a express train passes through it every other
Madison Avenue at 47th Street
Luncheon, Afternoon Tea
MEN'S LUNCHEON SERVICE
Last June, successful tests were made transmitting pictures by telephone (TIME, June 2). The process was to have a light impulse transmitted to an electrical impulse and back into a light impulse. The transmitting machine went over the surface of a picture, taking successive light impulses from it in lines as it went repeatedly across the film. the receiving end, the same device reversed cast a varying ray of light on a photographic film as it went across its surface on adjoining lines.
Last week, a successful attempt was made to transmit a colored picture. It involved merely another application of the same device. A colored picture of Rodolph Valentino, in M. Beaucaire, was photographed three times, once with a blue screen to take the blues, once with a yellow screen to take the yellows, once with a red screen to take the reds. These photographs were then transmitted separately. The only difference of method was that the lines of each picture were at a different angle across the
plate, so that when they were reproduced they would blend instead of blur.
The three photographs were transmitted from Chicago to Manhattan. A color plate was made from each and the three plates were printed one after another on paper, reproducing the original picture in full color. Not only were the three primary colors obtained-blue, yellow and red-but several secondary colors including green, purple, orange, violet, pink.
Stephen H. Horgan, Associate Editor of the Inland Printer of Chicago, assisted the American Telephone & Telegraph Co. in the tests. Necessarily, these methods of picture transmission, being in their infancy, still require improvements; but their feasi bility has now been demonstrated.
Those who admired the dauntless courage of the Englishmen who attempted Mt. Everest may yet pause to reconsider their hopes for those men's eventual success. The AngloSaxon race has the fine courage and the strong physique to undertake such feats. But is the world, after all, not the loser thereby? Would it not be better to leave these attempts to