PERSISTENT, & EXPANDING, ELEVATION OF CAPITAL OVER SOCIETY
For all scrappy scribes and stalwart citizens who intend to comprehend the current context, a little blessing from EcoWatch about just-enacted legislation in the jurisdiction that, happenstantially, happens to be far and away the nation’s largest coal producer, a briefing about a new Wyoming statute that effectively seeks to tax renewable energy into submission and thereby, in fact if not in name, outlaw the wind energy that in this part of the world represents such a threat to the purveyors of carbon and fission based electrical grids, a series of ideas and insights about empirical reality that fit all too neatly with what The Hill has just proffered, that Donald Trump’s ‘new’ administration will offer its adherents among monopolists particular beneficence in the matter of the so-called ‘mega-mergers’ that so characterize our contemporary crises and advance oligopolistic interests.
This Day in History
The United States today marks a holiday that is as likely to subvert as fervent to promote, National Religious Freedom Day; in an event that Caesar’s rubicon-crossing foretold two decades prior, two thousand forty-four years ago, the Roman Senate affirmed its privilege and class orientation by handing over the keys to the kingdom to Rome’s first emperor, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus; four centuries and half a decade onward, in 378, in the as-yet ‘undiscovered’ Americas, the human proclivity to conquest and empire played out, a different tune with a markedly similar theme, when early Aztec chieftain Spearthrower Owl continued his consolidation of power when his army conquered Tikal; fourteen hundred sixty-seven years ahead of our present dawning day, back in Europe, Ostrogothic forces furthered this ongoing multifaceted saga with the overthrowing of Roman rule through bribery and other treacherous means; MORE HERE
A Thought for the Day
If radical love revolutionizes everything, which ought to ring true since rooted connections could address most of what troubles us, then we need to promulgate such practice pronto inasmuch as cascading catastrophic crises threaten every second now to crush the human project, either by swamping our common craft’s—the Earth’s—ability to tolerate our presence or through more dynamic and explosive means of extinguishing our presence here in this realm of beauty and grace and glory that on any given day we seem intent on ruining or razing or otherwise destroying in outbursts of venality and sin that make Biblical descriptions of evil seem tame by comparison.
THIS lecture, which I now bring before the notice of a larger public, was delivered by me before the Vienna Law Society on January 23, 1889. It then bore the title: “Of the Natural Sanction for Law and Morality.” This title I have changed in order to bring its general purport more clearly into prominence; otherwise I have made scarcely any further alteration. Numerous notes have been added, and an already published essay: “Miklosich on Subjectless Propositions” appended. In what way it bears upon inquiries apparently so remote will be evident in the sequel. MORE HERE
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TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, & AWARENESS VIDEO
A STORIED ACTOR, & SPY, & COMPLICATED CONTEMPORARY CHARACTER
From the wit and wisdom of the ineffable Tom Decker and his Clandestime ‘brand,’ an interlude that looks at the career of, and various intelligence, political, and cultural intersections in, the life of Sterling Hayden, who famously played General Jack Ripper in Stanley Kubrick’s warning against annihilating thermonuclear agendas, Dr. Strangelove, a character who in many ways summarized threads in Hayden’s own life–militaristic, conspiratorial, communistic-and-anti-communistic, bellicose, and paranoid–a skein that included stints in the Office of Strategic Services, a membership in the Communist Party of the United States, A-list Hollywood gigs, testimony against fellow reds before the House Unamerican Activities Committee, sworn statements that his CIA-agent psychiatrist encouraged, all of which observers can view, and parse in interesting and nuanced fashion, when Hayden gave French journalists a later-in-his-life interview , a portal to matters of State and the spooks and agencies that lie beneath such matters that meld more or less seamlessly with a new Jimmy Dore diatribe against the shadowy official forces that have uniformly served as Barack Obama’s marionettes and promise to continue that role in a new administration mere days from its inception.
This 20-hour/week position combines journalism with social-media skills to increase LA Weekly‘s audience and serve as its online public face. The social media editor manages the Weekly‘s Facebook and Twitter accounts, among others, with the expectation of continued engagement and growth. The social media editor must have a firm grasp of SEO and be able to write compelling headlines that get shared on social media and attract eyeballs via search results.
A Philosophical Salon post whose writer looks inward at the implications of choosing the academic career: “Implicitly, we came to the university seeking refuge from utilitarianism, functionality, market logics, banality, tradition, conformity, consumerism, capitalism, patriarchy or the racial state. Perhaps our lives weren’t threatened, but the life of the mind that we develop while we are here could not be sustained outside its hallowed walls.
Scholarly excellence has led to a sort of dependence on the university; specialisation in academia and little else renders us reliant on this asylum for our income and our identity. The winners of the intellectual game are rewarded financially, but cannot really leave the game.”
A self-congratulatory though impactful post that shows how Patreon can be a great site for creatives and scrappy scribes: “2016 was the best year, in the history of humans, to be a creative person. Over the last 10-15 years, the pipelines to audiences have been unlocked and free distribution channels have bloomed. If you have something to say, then fucking say it, because in 2017, no one can stop you.”
A Politifact look at all the fake news and all the misrepresentations that have occured in this past tumultous year: “Each year, PolitiFact awards a “Lie of the Year” to take stock of a misrepresentation that arguably beats all others in its impact or ridiculousness. In 2016: where to start? With such a deep backlash against being truthful in political speech, no one person (though there are world-class frontrunners) and no one political claim perfectly stands out as the dust settles from an extraordinary campaign.”
A Paul Craig Roberts commemoration of a recently passed European journalistic voice: “Ulfkotte had been an editor at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitzung. He published a courageous book in which he said that the CIA had a hand on every significant journalist in Europe, which gave Washington control over European opinion and reduced knowledge of and opposition to Washington’s control over European heads of state. Essentially, there are no European governments independent of Washington.”
A Nation look at a volume that provides some important perspectives on this country’s history:“The process through which the American nation-state emerged and then grew into an empire is the subject of A Nation Without Borders, a compendious new work on America’s 19th century by New York University historian Steven Hahn. The third entry in the Penguin History of the United States, A Nation Without Borders takes us from the Jacksonian dawn of American “democracy” to the First World War.”
The United States today marks a holiday that is as likely to subvert as fervent to promote, National Religious Freedom Day; in an event that Caesar’s rubicon-crossing foretold two decades prior, two thousand forty-four years ago, the Roman Senate affirmed its privilege and class orientation by handing over the keys to the kingdom to Rome’s first emperor, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus; four centuries and half a decade onward, in 378, in the as-yet ‘undiscovered’ Americas, the human proclivity to conquest and empire played out, a different tune with a markedly similar theme, when early Aztec chieftain Spearthrower Owl continued his consolidation of power when his army conquered Tikal; fourteen hundred sixty-seven years ahead of our present dawning day, back in Europe, Ostrogothic forces furthered this ongoing multifaceted saga with the overthrowing of Roman rule through bribery and other treacherous means; a thousand eighty-eight years prior to this precise instant, the more modern imperial developments that continued to characterize our world evolved one of their fist iterations when Emir Abd-ar-Rahman III established Islamic rule in the Iberian Peninsula with the proclamation of the Caliphate of Cordoba; nine years short of two brief centuries thereafter, in 1120, a tit-for-tat Christian response took place when the Council of Nablus began its work to establish a statutory basis for European control of Jerusalem and the Levant; eight years less than three centuries onward from that juncture, in 1412, the notorious Medicis garnered the title of Roman Catholicism’s official financiers; eight decades subsequent to that pronouncement, in 1492, a ‘big year for Spain’ started with the presentation to Queen Isabella of the Spanish tongue’s first Official Grammar; another eighty years in the future from that, in 1572, in a somewhat related development, English Duke Thomas Howard faced a trial for serving Spanish interests in trying to reestablish Catholic imprimatur in Great Britain; thirty-three years further along the temporal arc, in 1605, an additional Spanish literary coup took place when Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra put forth his first volume of El Ingenioso Hidalgo
Don Quijote de la Mancha; one hundred two years in the future from that conjunction, in 1707, Scotland’s Parliament put its seal of approval on a still-extant Great Britain with its ratification of the Act of Union; two hundred fifty-six years back, in a conflict that mirrors continuing combat over empire, English troops captured Pondichery in India from the French who had previously stolen from the Hindus; a quarter century hence, in 1786, Virginia established its commitment to the religious freedom that Thomas Jefferson promoted in his Statute for Religious Freedom; eight years more on time’s relentless march, in 1794, back in Mother England, the masterful chronicler Edward Gibbon declined and fell for a final time; forty-four years afterward, in 1838, the male infant cried out for the first time whose destiny would lead him to become pathfinding psychologist Franz Brentano; seventeen years further along, in 1855, the little baby girl opened her eyes who would rise as the brilliant, if briefly lived, Eleanor Marx; seven years past that initiation, in 1862, a disaster befell English coal miners when over 200 men and boys suffocated because their mine had only a single entrance and exit; a dozen years even closer to the current context, in 1874, the baby boy was born who would rise as the lyrical creator of verse Robert Service; nine years after that happy event, in 1883, an estimable instance of good government came into force as the Pendleton Civil Service Act took effect and eliminated the spoils system of staffing Federal offices; thirty-six years yet later on, in 1919, the Eighteenth Amendment to the US Constitution gained the necessary votes for ratification, marking one year only till the initiation of the criminal enterprise of Prohibition; that very next year, in 1920, as the hypocrisy and gangsterism of illegal alcohol took effect, the League of Nations held its first meeting in Paris, and Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer oversaw the arrest and detention of thousands of radicals and reds and ‘enemies of established order’ as the notorious Palmer Raids began; a mere year nearer to the here and now, in 1921, real life adherents of the radicalism that Palmer feared met for the first time in Ľubochňa roughly four thousand miles to the East as the Marxist Left in Slovakia and Transcarpathia, Ukraine; seven hundred thirty days farther down the pike, in 1923, a baby male bounced into the world en route to his role in founding the Roundabout Theater Company as Gene Feist, while another boy child first cried out who would mature as the thinker and poet and soldier, Anthony Hecht; seven more years on time’s track, in 1930, a baby boy squalled who would become the arch-conservative establishment apologist, Norman Podhoretz; another two years en route to now, in 1932, a girl baby came along who would grow up as scientist of life and controversy, Dian Fossey; another three hundred sixty-five day cycle round the sun, in 1933, the female infant entered the world in standard fashion who would claim SOP intellectual imprimatur of vision and criticism as Susan Sontag; half a dozen years henceforth, in 1938, Carnegie Hall gave a nod to popular jazz music with the performance in that august space of Benny Goodman and his orchestra; not quite a decade after that musical interlude, in 1947, a female baby looked about her for the first time on her way to life as the reactionary proponent of ‘responsibility’ and privilege Laura Schlessinger; just a year henceforth, in 1948, a boy child was born who would grow into the film auteur and countercultural favorite, John Carpenter; another nine years on the trek toward the here and now, in 1957, the brilliant cellist and conductor Arturo Toscanini composed his final symphony; an additional two-year move in the deirection of today, in 1959, a girl baby sang out for the first time who would delight listeners and audiences with her lyrics and singing as the Nigerian-English pop star Sade; half decade in even greater proximity to our present point in time, in 1964, the rollicking musical, Hello Dolly! Opened for its nearly eight-year run on the Great White Way; six years still later, in 1970, a couple of years before Hello Dolly closed its epic run, Buckminster Fuller received further accolades from established society when he obtained a Gold Medal Award from the American Institute of Architects; just shy of another decade after that, in 1979, the notorious mass murderer and darling of oil companies and intelligence agencies Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi fled Iran for Egypt and ended aristocratic rule in Persia for at least a time; another thirteen years thereafter, in 1992, in a different sort of devolution of empire, Salvadorean rebels and US – backed officials signed the Chapultepec Peace Accords in Mexico Coty to end a decade and a haf or more of bloody civil war; nine circuits of the sun beyond that juncture, in 2001, lifelong labor leader Leonard Woodcock breathed his last, and preparing for the inauguration of the unelected George W. Bush, Bill Clinton demonstrated the parameters of the imperial presidency by awarding Theodore Roosevelt a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor for his role in the Spanish American War in Cuba, the first installment of modern American imperialism; the very next year, in 2002, the United Nations Security Council unanimously affirmed both the isolation of ‘Islamic radicals’ and its own faint-jearted hypocrisy when it froze the assets and embargoed arms supplies to Osama Bin laden and any other members of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban; an eleven-year sojourn toward today, in 2013, the creator of Dear Abby, Pauline Phillips, wrote her final column, and the French inventor of the Etch-a-Sketch, André Cassagnes, drew a final breath.
THIS lecture, which I now bring before the notice of a larger public, was delivered by me before the Vienna Law Society on January 23, 1889. It then bore the title: “Of the Natural Sanction for Law and Morality.” This title I have changed in order to bring its general purport more clearly into prominence; otherwise I have made scarcely any further alteration. Numerous notes have been added, and an already published essay: “Miklosich on Subjectless Propositions” appended. In what way it bears upon inquiries apparently so remote will be evident in the sequel.
The occasion of the lecture was an invitation extended to me by Baron Von Hye, President of the Society. It was his wish that what had been said here a few years ago by Ihering, as jurist, in his address, Über die Entstehung des Rechtsgefühls, might in the same Society be illustrated by me from the philosophic point of view. It would be a mistake to assume from the incidental nature of the circumstances to which it owed its first appearance that the Essay was only a fugitive, occasional study. It embraces the fruits of many years’ reflection. The discussions it contains form the ripest product of all that I have hitherto published.
These thoughts form a fragment of a Descriptive Psychology, which, as I now venture to hope, I may be enabled in the near future to publish in its complete form. In its wide divergence from all that has hitherto been put forward, and especially by reason of its being an essential stage in the further development of some of the views advocated in my Psychology from the Empirical Standpoint it will be sufficiently evident that during the period of my long literary retirement I have not been idle.
Specialists in philosophy will find also in this lecture what will be at once recognized as new. As regards the general reader, the rapidity with which I pass from one question to another might at first completely conceal many a sunken reef which required to be circumnavigated, many a precipice which had to be avoided. Surely I, if any one, have reason, owing to the conciseness of statement employed, to remember the saying of Leibnitz and pay little attention to refutation and much to demonstration. A glance at the notes—which, were they to do full justice to the subject, would need to be multiplied an hundredfold—will give him a further idea of those bye-paths which have misled so many, and prevented their finding an issue to the labyrinth. Meantime I would be well content—nay, I would regard it as the crown to all my efforts—should all that has been said appear so self-evident to him that he does not deem himself bound to thank me once in return.
No one has determined the principles of ethics as, on the basis of new analyses, I have found it necessary to determine them, no one, especially among those who hold that in the foundation of those principles the feelings must find a place, have so radically and completely broken with the subjective view of ethics. I except only Herbart. But he lost himself in the sphere of aesthetic feeling, until at last we find him so far from the track that he, who in the theoretical philosophy is the irreconcilable enemy of contradiction, nevertheless in practical philosophy (i.e. ethics) tolerates it when his principles—the highest universally valid ideas—rush into conflict with one another. Still his teaching remains in a certain aspect truly related with mine, while, on other sides, other celebrated attempts to discover a basis for ethics find in it points of contact.
In the notes, individual points are more sharply defined, a very detailed examination of which would have been too prolix in the lecture. Many an objection already urged has been met, many an expected rejoinder anticipated. I also hope that some will be interested in the several historical contributions, especially in the inquiries concerning Descartes, where I trace back the doctrine of evidence to its causes and point out two further thoughts, one of which has been misunderstood, the other scarcely noticed, neither treated with the consideration they deserve. I refer to his fundamental classification of mental states and to his doctrine of the relation of love to joy, and of hate to sadness.
With several highly honoured investigators of the present—assuredly not least honoured by myself—I have entered into a polemical debate, and indeed most vigorously with those whose previous attack has compelled me to a defence. I hope that they do not regard it as a violation of their claims, when I seek, to the utmost of my power, to help the truth, which we in common serve, to her rights, and I assure them in turn, that as I myself speak frankly, so also none the less do I welcome with all my heart every sincere word of my opponent. …
12. In what then lies this special superiority which gives to morality its natural sanction? Some regarded it as, in a sense, external, they believed its superiority to consist in beauty of appearance. The Greeks called noble and virtuous conduct Τὀ καλὁν, the beautiful, and the perfect man of honour καλοκἀγαθός; though none of the philosophers of antiquity set up this aesthetic view as a criterion. On the other hand, David Hume, among modern thinkers, has spoken of a moral sense of the beautiful which acts as arbiter between the moral and the immoral, while still more recently the German philosopher, Herbart, has subordinated ethics to aesthetics.
Now I do not deny that the aspect of virtue is more agreeable than that of moral perversity. But I cannot concede that in this consists the only and essential superiority of ethical conduct. It is rather an inner superiority which distinguishes the moral from the immoral will, in the same way that it is an inner superiority which distinguishes true and self evident judgments and conclusions from prejudices and fallacies. Here also it cannot be denied that a prejudice, a fallacy has in it something unbeautiful, often indeed something ridiculously narrow-minded, which makes the person so scantily favoured by Minerva appear in a most disadvantageous attitude; yet who, on this account, would class the rules of logic among those of aesthetics, or make logic a branch of aesthetics? No, the real logical superiority is no mere aesthetic appearance but a certain inward rightness which then carries with it a certain superiority of appearance. It will, therefore, be also a certain inward rightness which constitutes the essential superiority of one particular act of will over another of an opposite character; in which consists the superiority of the moral over the immoral.
The belief in this superiority is an ethical motive; the knowledge of it is the right ethical motive, the sanction which gives to ethical law permanence and validity.
13. But are we capable of attaining to such knowledge? Here lies the difficulty which philosophers have for a long time sought in vain to solve. Even to Kant it seemed as though none had found the right end of the thread by means of which to unravel the skein. This the Categorical Imperative was to do. It resembled however, rather the sword drawn by Alexander to cut the Gordian knot. With such a palpable fiction the matter is not to be set right.
14. In order to gain an insight into the true origin of ethical knowledge it will be necessary to take some account of the results of later researches in the sphere of descriptive psychology. The limited time at my disposal makes it necessary for me to set forth my views very briefly, and I have reason to fear that by its conciseness the completeness of the statement may suffer. Yet it is just here that I ask your special attention, in order that what is most essential to a right understanding of the problem be not overlooked.
15. The subject of the moral and immoral is termed the will. What we will is, in many cases, a means to an end. In that case we will this end also, and even in a higher degree than the means. The end itself may often be the means to a further end; in a far reaching plan there may often appear a whole series of ends, the one being always connected in subordination to the other as a means. There must be present, however, one end, which is desired above all others and for its own sake; without this essential and final end all incentive would be lacking, and this would involve the absurdity of aiming without a goal at which to aim.
16. The means we employ in order to gain an end may be manifold, may be right or wrong. They are right when they are really adapted to the attainment of the end.
The ends, also, even the most essential and final ends, may be manifold. It is a mistake which appeared especially in the eighteenth century, nowadays the tendency is more and more to abandon it, that every one seeks the same end, namely, his own highest possible pleasure. Whoever can believe that the martyr facing with full consciousness the most terrible tortures for the sake of his conviction—and there were some who had no hope of recompense hereafter—was thus inspired by a desire after the greatest possible pleasure, such a man must have either a very defective sense of the facts of the case, or, indeed, have lost all measure of the intensities of pleasure and pain.
This, therefore, is certain: even final ends are manifold, between them hovers the choice, which, since the final end is for everything the determining principle, is of the most importance. What ought I to strive after? Which end is the right one, which wrong? This, as Aristotle long ago declared, is the essential, the cardinal question in ethics.
17. Which end is right, for which should our choice declare itself?
Where the end is fixed and it is merely a question as to the choice of means, we reply: Choose means which will certainly attain the end. Where it is a question as to the choice of ends we would say: Choose an end which reason regards as really attainable. This answer is, however, insufficient, many a thing attainable is rather to be shunned than sought after; choose the best among attainable ends, this alone is the adequate answer.
But the answer is obscure; what do we mean by “the best”? what can be called “good” at all? and how can we attain to the knowledge that one thing is good and better than another?
18. In order to answer this question satisfactorily, we must, above all, inquire into the origin of the conception of the good, which lies, like the origin of all our conceptions, in certain concrete impressions.
We possess impressions with physical content. These exhibit to us sensuous qualities localized in space. Out of this sphere arise the conceptions of colour, sound, space and many others. The conception of the good, however, has not here its origin. It is easily recognizable that the conception of the good like that of the true, which, as having affinity, is rightly placed side by side with it, derives its origin from concrete impressions with psychical content.
19. The common feature of everything psychical consists in what has been called by a very unfortunate and ambiguous term, consciousness; i.e. in a subject-attitude; in what has been termed an intentional relation to something which, though perhaps not real, is none the less an inner object of perception No hearing without the heard, no believing without the believed, no hoping without the hoped for, no striving without the striven for, no joy without the enjoyed, and so with other mental phenomena.
20. The sensuous qualities which are given in our impressions with physical content exhibit manifold differences. So also do the intentional relations given in our impressions with psychical content. And, as in the former case, the number of the senses is determined by reference to those distinctions between sensuous qualities which are most fundamental (called by Helmholtz distinctions of modality), so in the latter case the number of fundamental classes of mental phenomena is fixed by reference to the most fundamental distinctions of intentional relation.
In this way we distinguish three fundamental classes. Descartes in hisMeditations was the first to exhibit these rightly and completely; but sufficient attention has not been paid to his observations, and they were soon quite forgotten, until in recent times, and independently of him, these were again discovered. Nowadays they may lay claim to sufficient verification.
The first fundamental class is that of ideas (Vorstellungen) in the widest sense of the term (Descartes’ ideae). This class embraces concrete impressions, those for example which are given to us through the senses, as well as every abstract conception.
The second fundamental class is judgment (Descartes’ judicia). Previous to Descartes these were thought of as forming, along with ideas, onefundamental class, and since Descartes’ time philosophy has fallen once more into this error. This view regarded judgment as consisting essentially in a combination or relation of ideas to one another. This was a gross misconception of its true nature. We may combine or relate ideas as we please, as in speaking of a golden mountain, the father of a hundred children, a friend of science; but as long as nothing further takes place there can be no judgment. Equally true is it that an idea always forms the basis of a judgment, as also of a desire; but it is not true that, in a judgment, there are always several ideas related to one another as subject and predicate. This is certainly the case when I say: “God is just,” though not when I say: “There is a God.”
What, therefore, distinguishes those cases where I have not only an idea but also a judgment? There is here added to the act of presentation a second intentional relation to the object given in presentation, a relation either of recognition or rejection. Whoever says: “God,” gives expression to the idea of God; whoever says: “There is a God,” gives expression to a belief in him.
I must not linger here, and can only assure you that this, if anything, admits to-day of no denial. From the philological standpoint Miklosich confirms the results of psychological analysis.
The third fundamental class consists of the emotions in the widest sense of the term, from the simple forms of inclination or disinclination in respect of the mere idea, to joy and sadness arising from conviction and to the most complicated phenomena as to the choice of ends and means. Aristotle long since included these under the term Ὄρεζις. Descartes says this class embraces the voluntates sive affectus. As in the second fundamental class the intentional relation was one of recognition or rejection, so in the third class it is one of love or hate, (or, as it might be equally well expressed,) a form of pleasing or displeasing. Loving, pleasing, hating, displeasing, these are given in the simplest forms of inclination or disinclination, in victorious joy as well as in despairing sorrow, in hope and fear, and in every form of voluntary activity. “Plait-il?” asks the Frenchman; “es hat Gott gefallen,” one reads in (German) announcements of a death; while the “Placet,” written when confirming an act, is the expression of the determining fiat of will.
21. In comparing these three classes of phenomena it is found that the two last mentioned show an analogy which, in the first, is absent. There exists, that is, an opposition of intentional relation; in the case of judgment, recognition or rejection, in the case of the emotions, love or hate, pleasure or displeasure. The idea shows nothing of a similar nature. I can, it is true, conceive of opposites, as for example white and black, but whether I believe in this black or deny it, I can only represent it to myself in one way; the representation does not alter with the opposite act of judgment; nor again, in the case of the feelings, when I change my attitude towards it according as it pleases or displeases me.
22. From this fact follows an important conclusion. Concerning acts of the first class none can be called either right or wrong. In the case of the second class on the other hand, one of the two opposed modes of relation, affirmation and rejection, is right the other wrong, as logic has long affirmed. The same naturally holds good of the third class. Of the two opposed modes of relation, love and hate, pleasure and displeasure, in each case one is right the other wrong.
23. We have now reached the place where the notions of good and bad, along with the notions of the true and the false which we have been seeking, have their source. We call anything true when the recognition related to it is right. We call something good when the love relating to it is right. That which can be loved with a right love, that which is worthy of love, is good in the widest sense of the term.
24. Since everything which pleases does so, either for its own sake, or for the sake of something else which is thereby produced, conserved or rendered probable, we must distinguish between a primary and a secondary good, i.e. what is good in itself, and what is good on account of something else, as is specially the case in the sphere of the useful.
What is good in itself is the good in the narrower sense. It alone can stand side by side with the true. For everything which is true is true in itself, even when only mediately known. When we speak of good later we shall therefore mean, whenever the contrary is not expressly asserted, that which is good in itself.
In this way we have, I hope, made clear the notion of good.
25. There follows now the still more important question: How are we to know that anything is good? Ought we to say that whatever is loved and is capable of being loved is worthy of love and is good? This is manifestly untrue, and it is almost inconceivable that some have fallen into this error. One loves what another hates, and, in accordance with a well known psychological law already previously referred to it often happens that what at first was desired merely as a means to something else, comes at last from habit to be desired for its own sake. In such a way the miser is irrationallyled to heap up riches and even to sacrifice himself for their sake. The actual presence of love, therefore, by no means testifies unconditionally to the worthiness of the object to be loved, just as affirmation is no unconditional proof of what is true.
It might even be said that the first statement is even more evident than the second, since it can hardly happen that he who affirms anything at the same time holds it to be false, whereas it frequently happens that a person, even while loving something, confesses himself that it is unworthy of his love:
“Video meliora proboque, Deteriora sequor.”
How then are we to know that anything is good?
26. The matter appears enigmatical, but the enigma finds a very easy solution.
As a preliminary step to answering the question, let us turn our glance from the good to the true.
Not everything which we affirm is on this account true. Our judgments are frequently quite blind. Many a prejudice which we drank in, as it were, with our mother’s milk presents to us the appearance of an irrefutable principle. To other equally blind judgments all men have, by nature, a kind of instinctive impulsion, as, for example, in trusting blindly to the so-called external impression, or to a recent remembrance. What is so recognized may often be true, but it may equally well be false since the affirming judgment contains nothing which gives to it the character of rightness.
Such, however, is the case in certain other judgments, which in contradistinction to these blind judgments may be termed “obvious,” “self-evident” judgments; as, for example, the Principle of Contradiction, and every so-called inner perception which informs me that I am now experiencing sensations of sound or colour, or think and will this or that.
In what, then, does the distinction between these lower and higher forms of judgment essentially consist? Is it a distinction in the degree of belief, or is it something else? It is not a distinction in the degree of belief; the instinctive blind assumptions arising from habit are often not in the slightest degree weakened by doubts, and we are unable to get rid of some even when we have already seen their logical falsity. But such assumptions are the results of blind impulse, they have nothing of the clearness peculiar to the higher forms of judgment. Were the question to be raised: “What is then your reason for believing that?” no rational answer would be forthcoming. It is quite true that if the same inquiry were to be made respecting the immediately evident judgment here also no reason could be given, but in face of the clearness of the judgment the inquiry would appear utterly beside the point, in fact ridiculous. Every one experiences for himself the difference between these two classes of judgment, and in the reference to this experience, consists, as in the case of every conception, the final explanation.” Franz Brentano, The Origin of the Knowledge of Right and Wrong; from “The Author’s Preface” et seq: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/49228/49228-h/49228-h.htm.
There is no time perhaps so little fitted for writing the biography of a great man as that immediately after his death, and the task is doubly difficult when it falls to one who knew and loved him. It is impossible for me to do more at present than give the briefest sketch of my father’s life. I shall confine myself to a simple statement of facts, and I shall not even attempt an exposition of his great theories and discoveries; theories that are the very foundation of Modern Socialism — discoveries that are revolutionising the whole science of Political Economy. I hope, however, to give in a future number of Progress an analysis of my father’s chief work — “Das Kapital,” and of the truths set forth in it.
Karl Marx was born at Trier, on May 1818, of Jewish parents. His father — a man of great talent — was a lawyer, strongly imbued with French eighteenth-century ideas of religion, science, and art; his mother was the descendant of Hungarian Jews, who in the seventeenth century settled in Holland. Amongst his earliest friends and playmates were Jenny — afterwards his wife — and Edgar von Westphalen. From their father, the Baron von Westphalen — himself half a Scot — Karl Marx imbibed his first love for the “Romantic” School, and while his father read him Voltaire and Racine, Westphalen read him Homer and Shakespere. These always remained his favorite writers. At once much loved and feared by his school-fellows — loved because he was always in mischief, and feared because of his readiness in writing satirical verse and lampooning his enemies, Karl Marx passed through the usual school routine, and then proceeded to the Universities of Bonn and Berlin, where, to please his father, he for a time studied law, and to please himself he studied history and philosophy. In 1842 he was about to habilitate himself at Bonn as “Privat Dozent,” but the political movement arisen in Germany since the death of Frederick William III. in 1840, threw him into another career. The chiefs of the Rhenish Liberals — Kamphausen and Hansemann — had founded the Rhenish Gazette at Cologne, with the co-operation of Marx, whose brilliant and bold criticism of the provincial Landtag created such a sensation, that, though only twenty-four years old, he was offered the chief editorship of the paper. He accepted it, and therewith began his long struggle with all despotisms, and with Prussian despotism in particular. Of course the paper appeared under the supervision of a censor — but the poor censor found himself powerless. The Gazette invariably published all important articles, and the censor could do nothing. Then a second, a “special” one was sent from Berlin, but even this double censorship proved of no avail, and finally in 1843 the government simply suppressed the paper altogether. In the same year, 1843, Marx had married his old friend and playfellow, to whom he had been engaged for seven years, Jenny von Westphalen, and with his young wife proceeded to Paris. Here, together with Arnold Ruge, he published the Deutsche Französische Jahrbücher, in which he began the long series of his socialist writings. His first contribution was a critique on Hegel’s “Rechts-philosophie;” the second, an essay on the “Jewish Question.” When the Jahrbücher ceased to appear, Marx contributed to the journal Votwärtz, of which he is usually said to have been the editor. As a matter of fact, the editorship of this paper to which Heine, Everbeck, Engels, etc., contributed, seems to have been carried on in a somewhat erratic manner, and a really responsible editor never existed. Marx’ next publication was the “Heilige Familie” written together with Engels, a satirical critique directed against Bruno Bauer and his school of Hegelian idealists.
While devoting most of his time at this period to the study of Political Economy and of the French Revolution, Karl Marx continued to wage fierce war with the Prussian government, and as a consequence, this government demanded of M. Guizot — it is said through the agency of Alexander von Humboldt,who happened to be in Paris — Marx’ expulsion from France. With this demand Guizot bravely complied, and Marx had to leave Paris. He went to Brussels, and there in 1846 published, in French, a “Discours sur la libre échange.” Proudhon now published his “Contradictions Economiques ou Philosophie de la Misère,” and wrote to Marx that he awaited his “férule critique.” He did not wait long, for in 1847 Marx published his “ Misère de la Philosophie, reponse à la Philosophie de la Misère de M., Proudhon” and the “férule” was applied with a severity Proudhon had probably not bargained for. This same year Marx founded a German Working-Man’s Club at Brussels, and, what is of more importance, joined, together with his political friends, the “Communistic League,” The whole organisation of the league was changed by him; from a hole-and-corner conspiracy it was transformed into an organisation for the propaganda of Communist principles, and was only secret because existing circumstances made secrecy a necessity. Wherever German working-men’s clubs existed the league existed also, and it was the first socialist movement of an international character, Englishmen, Belgians, Hungarians, Poles, Scandinavians being members; it was the first organisation of the Social Democratic Party. In 1847 a Congress of the League was held in London, at which Marx and Engels assisted as delegates; and they were subsequently appointed to write the celebrated “Manifesto of the Communist Party” — first published just before the Revolution of 1848, and then translated into well nigh all European languages. This manifesto opens with a review of the existing conditions of society. It goes on to show how gradually the old feudal division of classes has disappeared, and how modern society is divided simply into two classes — that of the capitalists or bourgeois class, and that of the proletariat; of the expropriators and expropriated; of the bourgeois class possessing wealth and power and producing nothing, of the labor-class that produces wealth but possesses nothing. The bourgeoisie after using the proletariat to fight its political battles against feudalism, has used the power thus acquired to enslave the proletariat. To the charge that Communism aims at “abolishing property,” the manifesto replied that Communists aim only at abolishing the bourgeois system of property, by which already for nine-tenths or the Community property is abolished; to the accusation that Communists aim at “abolishing marriage and the family” the Manifesto answered by asking what kind of “family” and “marriage” were possible for the working men, for whom in all true meaning of the words neither exists. As to “abolishing father-land and nationality,” these are abolished for the proletariat, and, thanks to the development of industry, for the bourgeoisie also. The bourgeoisie has wrought great revolutions in history; it has revolutionised the whole system of production. Under its hands the steam-engine, the self-acting mule, the steam-hammer, the railways and ocean-steamers of our days were developed. But its most revolutionary production was the production of the proletariat, of a class whose very conditions of existence compel it to overthrow the whole actual society. The Manifesto ends with the words:
“Communists scorn to conceal their aims and views. They declare openly that their ends are only attainable through the violent overthrow of all existing conditions of society. Let the governing classes tremble at a Communist revolution. The Proletarians have nothing to lose by it but their chains. They have a world to win. Proletarians of all countries, unite!”
In the meantime Marx had continued in the Brüsseler Zeitung his attack on the Prussian government, and again the Prussian government demanded his expulsion — but in vain, until the February revolution caused a movement among the Belgian workmen, when Marx, without any ado, was expelled by the Belgian government. The provisional government of France had, however, through Flocon, invited him to return to Paris, and this invitation he accepted. In Paris he remained some time, till after the Revolution of March, 1848, when he returned to Cologne, and there founded the New Rhenish Gazette — the only paper representing the working class, and daring to defend the June insurgents of Paris. In vain did the various reactionary and Liberal papers denounce the Gazette for its licentious audacity in attacking all that is holy and defying all authority — and that, too, in a Prussian fortress! In vain did the authorities by virtue of the State of Siege suspend the paper for six weeks. It again appeared under the very eyes of the police, its reputation and circulation growing with the attacks made upon it. After the Prussian coup d’état of November, the Gazette, at the head of each number, called on the people to refuse the taxes, and to meet force by force, For this, and on account of certain articles, the paper was twice prosecuted — and acquitted. Finally after the May rising (1849) in Dresden, the Rhenish Provinces, and South Germany, the Gazette was forcibly suppressed. The last number — printed in red type — appeared on May 19th, 1849.
Marx now again returned to Paris, but a few weeks after the demonstration of June 13th, 1849, the French government gave him the choice of retiring to Brittany or leaving France. He preferred the latter, and went to London — where he continued to live for over thirty years. An attempt to bring out the New Rhenish Gazette in the form of a review, published at Hamburg, was not successful. Immediately after Napoleon’s coup d’état, Marx wrote his “18th Brumaire de Louis Bonaparte,” and in 1853 the “Revelations Concerning the Cologne Trial.” — in which he laid bare the infamous machinations of the Prussian government and police.
After the condemnation at Cologne of the members of the Communist League, Marx for a time retired from active political life, devoting himself to his economical studios at the British Museum, to contributing leading articles and correspondence to the New York Tribune, and to writing pamphlets and fly-sheets attacking the Palmerston régime, widely circulated at the time by David Urquhart.
The first fruits of his long, earnest studies in Political Economy appeared in 1859, in his “Kritik zur Politischer Economie” — a work which contains the first exposition of his Theory of Value.
During the Italian war, Marx, in the German piper Das Volk, published in London, denounced the Bonapartism that hid itself under the guise of liberal sympathy for oppressed nationalities, and the Prussian policy that under the cloak of neutrality, merely sought to fish in troubled waters. On this occasion it became necessary to attack Carl Vogt, who in the pay of the “midnight assassin” was agitating for German neutrality, nay sympathy. Infamously and deliberately calumniated by Cart Vogt, Marx replied to him and other gentlemen of his ilk in “Herr Vogt,” 1860, in which he accused Vogt of being in Napoleon’s pay. Just ten years later, in 1870, this accusation was proved to be true. The French government of National Defence published a list of the Bonapartist hirelings and under the letter V appeared: Vogt, received August, 1859, 10,000:francs.” In 1867 Marx published at Hamburg his chief work “Das Kapital,” to a consideration of which I shall return in the next number of Progress.
Meanwhile the condition of the working men’s movement had so far advanced that Karl Marx could think of executing a long-cherished plan — the establishment in all the more advanced countries of Europe and America of an International Working Men’s Association. A public meeting to express sympathy with Poland was held in April, 1864. This brought together the working men of various nationalities, and it was decided to found the International. This was done at, a meeting (presided over by Professor Beesley) in St. James’ Hall on September 28, 1864. A provisional general council was elected, and Marx drew up the Inaugural Address and the Provisional Rules. In this address, after an appalling picture of the misery of the working classes, even in years of so-called commercial prosperity, he tells the working men of all countries to combine, and, as nearly twenty years before in the Communist Manifesto, he concluded with the words: “Proletarians of all countries, unite!” The “Rules” stated the reasons for founding the International:
“That the emancipation of the working classes insist be conquered by the working classes themselves; that the struggle for the emancipation of the working classes means not a struggle for class privileges and monopolies, but for equal rights and duties, and the abolition of all class rule;
“That the economical subjection of the man of labor to the monopoliser of the means of labor, that is, the sources of life, lies at the bottom of servitude in all its forms of social misery, mental degradation, and political dependence;
“That the economical emancipation of the working classes is therefore the great end to which every political movement ought to be subordinate as a means;
“That all efforts aiming at that great end have hitherto failed from the want of solidarity between the manifold divisions of labor in each country, and front the absence of a fraternal bond of union between the working classes of different countries;
“That the emancipation of labor is neither a local nor a national, but a social problem, embracing all countries in which modern society exists, and depending for its solution on the concurrence, practical and theoretical, of the most advanced countries
“That, the present revival of the working classes in the most industrious countries of Europe, while it raises a new hope, gives solemn warning against a relapse into the old errors, and calls for the immediate combination of the still disconnected movements
“FOR THESE REASONS
“The International Working Men’s Association has been founded.”
To give, any account of Marx’ work in the International would be to write a history of the Association itself — for, while never being more than the Corresponding secretary for Germany and Russia, he was the leading spirit of all the general councils. With scarcely any exceptions the Addresses — from the Inaugural one to the last one — on the “Civil War in France “ were written by him. In This last address Marx explained the real meaning of the Commune — “that sphinx so tantalizing to the bourgeois mind.” In words as vigorous as beautiful he branded the corrupt government of “national defection that betrayed France into the hands of Prussia,” he denounced the government of such men as the forger Jules Favre, the usurer Perry, and the thrice infamous Thiers, that monstrous gnome” the “political shoe-black of the Empire.” After contrasting the horrors perpetrated by the Versaillists and the heroic devotion of the Parisian working men, dying for the preservation of the very republic of which M. Perry is now Prime Minister, Marx concludes:
“Working men’s Paris with its Commune will be for ever celebrated as the glorious harbinger of a new society. Its martyrs are enshrined in the great heart of the working class. Its exterminators’ history is already nailed to that eternal pillory from which all the prayers of their priests will not avail to redeem them.”
The fall of the Commune placed the International in an impossible position. It became necessary to remove the General Council from London to New York, and this, at Marx’ suggestion, was done by the Hague Congress in 1873. Since then the movement has taken another form; the continual intercourse between the proletarians of all countries — one of tho fruits of the International Association — has shown that, there no longer exists the necessity for a formal organisation. But whatever the form, the work is going on, must go on so long as the present conditions of society shall exist.
Since 1873 Marx had given himself up almost entirely to his work, though this had been retarded, for some years by ill-health. The M.S. of the second. volume of his chief work will be edited by his oldest, truest, and dearest friend, Frederick Engels. There are other MSS., which may also be published.
I have confined myself in strictly historical and biographical details of the MAN. Of his striking personality, his immense erudition, his wit, humour, general kindliness and ever-ready sympathy it is not for me to speak. To sum up all –
So mix’d in him that Nature might stand up,
And say to all the world, ‘This was a Man!‘”
The publication of August Bebel’s Woman – Past, Present and Future and the issue of a translation of the work in English, make any attempt to explain the position of Socialists in respect to the woman question timely. The reception that the work has met with in Germany and in England renders such an attempt imperative, unless our antagonists are willing to misunderstand us, and we are willing to remain passive under the misunderstanding. The writers of this article have thought that the English public, with that fairness which is said to be its special prerogative, would give hearing to the views, the arguments, the conclusions of those who call themselves Socialists. Thus, whatever opinions may be held by that English public as to the conclusions, its opinions will at least have a basis of knowledge. And the writers have further considered that the treatment of such a question as this is as its best when it is that of a man and a woman thinking and working together. In all that follows they desire it to be understood that they are giving utterance to their own opinions as two individual Socialists. Whilst they believe that these opinions are shared by the majority of their fellow-thinkers and fellow-workers in England, on the Continent, and in America, they are in no sense to be understood as pledging their Party to all, or necessarily to any particular one, of the propositions put forward.
A word or two, first, on the work that serves as the text of this discourse. Bebel is a working-man, a Socialist, and a member of the Reichstag. His book Die Frau has been prohibited in Germany. This has increased at once the difficulty of obtaining the book, and the number of those that obtain it. The German press has almost to a journal condemned it, and has ascribed to its author every possible and impossible vice. The influence of the work, and the significance of these attacks, will both be understood by those that bear in mind the position and the personal character of Bebel. One of the founders of the Socialist Party in Germany, one of the foremost among the exponents of the economics of Karl Marx, perhaps the finest orator of his country, Bebel is beloved and trusted by the Proletariat, hated and feared by the capitalists and aristocrats. He is not only the most popular man in Germany. He is by those that know him, foes as well as friends, respected. Calumny has, of course, been busy with him, but, without any hesitation, we may say that the accusations made against him are as false as they are venomous.
The English translation of his latest work has met in certain quarters with a vituperative reception. The wrath of these irritated critics would have been well placed had it been poured out on the quite unequalled carelessness of the publishers of this English version. This carelessness is the more noticeable and unpardonable as the German edition, printed at Zurich, is singularly free from errors. We ought to except in part from our condemnation the translator, Dr. Harriet B. Adams Walther. On the whole, her work has been fairly well done, though an apparent want of acquaintance with economic words and phrases has here and there produced ambiguity, and there is a most unaccountable objection to the use of the plural. But the book teems with printer’s errors, in type, in spelling, and in punctuation. To have in a book of only 164 pages an aggregate of at least 170 blunders is really too bad.
With the first or historical part of the work we do not propose dealing. Deeply interesting as it is, this must be passed over, as so much is to be said on the present relations between men and women, and on the changes that we believe are impending. Moreover, the historic portion is not quite the best in the book. It has its errors here and there. The most reliable book to consult on this particular branch of the woman question is Friedrich Engels’ Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. Let us turn, therefore, to the society and the women of today.
Society is, from the point of view of Bebel, and we may fairly say here of Socialists generally, in a condition of unrest, of fermentation. The unrest is that of a mass of rottenness; the fermentation that of putrefaction. Dissolution is at hand, in both senses of the word. The death of the capitalistic method of production, and therefore of the society based on it, is, as we think, within a distance measurable in terms of years rather than of centuries. And that death means the re-solution of society into simpler forms, even into elements, that recombining will produce a new and better order of things. Society is morally bankrupt, and in nothing does this gruesome moral bankruptcy come out with a more hideous distinctness than in the relation between men and women. Efforts to postpone the crash by drawing bills upon the imagination are useless. The facts have to be faced.
One of these facts of the most fundamental importance is not, and never has been, fairly confronted by the average man or woman in considering these relations. It has not been understood even by those men and women above the average who have made the struggle for the greater freedom of women the very business of their lives. This fundamental fact is, that the question is one of economics. The position of women rests, as everything in our complex modern society rests, on an economic basis. Had Bebel done nothing but insist upon this, his work would have been valuable. The woman question is one of the organisation of society as a whole. For those who have not grasped this conception, we may quote Bacon in the first book of the Advancement of Learning. “Another error … is that, after the distribution of particular Arts and Sciences, men have abandoned universality … which cannot but cease and stop all progression. … Neither is it possible to discover the more remote and deeper parts of any science if you stand but upon the level of the same science and ascend not to a higher.” This error, indeed, when “men (and women) have abandoned universality,” is something more than a “peccant humour.” It is a disease. Or, to use an illustration possibly suggested by the passage and the phrase just quoted, those who attack the present treatment of women without seeking for the cause of this in the economics of our latter-day society are like doctors who treat a local affection without inquiring into the general bodily health.
This criticism applies not alone to the commonplace person who makes a jest of any discussion into which the element of sex enters. It applies to those higher natures, in many cases earnest and thoughtful, who see that women are in a parlous state, and are anxious that something should be done to better their condition. These are the excellent and hard-working folk who agitate for that perfectly just aim, woman suffrage; for the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Act, a monstrosity begotten of male cowardice and brutality; for the higher education of women; for the opening to them of universities, the learned professions, and all callings, from that of teacher to that of bagman. In all this work – good as far as it goes – three things are especially notable. First, those concerned in it are of the well-to-do classes, as a rule. With the single and only partial exception of the Contagious Diseases agitation, scarcely any of the women taking a prominent part in these various movements belong to the working class. We are prepared for the comment that something very like this may be said, as far as concerns England, of the larger movement that claims our special efforts. Certainly, Socialism is at present in this country little more than a literary movement. It has but a fringe of working men on its border. But we can answer to this criticism that in Germany this is not the case, and that even here Socialism is now beginning to extend among the workers.
The second point is that all these ideas of our advanced women are based either on property, or on sentimental or professional questions. Not one of them gets down through these to the bedrock of the economic basis, not only of each of these three, but of society itself. This fact is not astonishing to those who note the ignorance of economics characteristic of most of those that labour for the enfranchisement of women. Judging from the writings and speeches of the majority of women’s advocates, no attention has been given by them to the study of the evolution of society. Even the orthodox political economy, which is, as we think, misleading in its statements and inaccurate in its conclusions, does not appear to have been mastered generally.
The third point grows out of the second. The school of whom we speak make no suggestion that is outside the limits of the society of today. Hence their work is, always from our point of view, of little value. We will support all women, not only those having property, enabled to vote; the Contagious Diseases Act repealed; every calling thrown open to both sexes. The actual position of women in respect to men would not be very vitally touched. (We are not concerned at present with the results of the increased competition and more embittered struggle for existence.) For not one of these things, save indirectly the Contagious Diseases Act, touches them in their sex relations. Nor should we deny that, with the gain of each or all of these points, the tremendous change that is to come would be more easy of attainment. But it is essential to keep in mind that ultimate change, only to come about when the yet more tremendous social change whose corollary it will be has taken place. Without that larger social change women will never be free.
The truth, not fully recognised even by those anxious to do good to woman, is that she, like the labour-classes, is in an oppressed condition; that her position, like theirs, is one of merciless degradation. Women are the creatures of an organised tyranny of men, as the workers are the creatures of an organised tyranny of idlers. Even where this much is grasped, we must never be weary of insisting on the non-understanding that for women, as for the labouring classes, no solution of the difficulties and problems that present themselves is really possible in the present condition of society. All that is done, heralded with no matter what flourish of trumpets, is palliative, not remedial. Both the oppressed classes, women and the immediate producers, must understand that their emancipation will come from themselves. Women will find allies in the better sort of men, as the labourers are finding allies among the philosophers, artists, and poets. But the one has nothing to hope from man as a whole, and the other has nothing to hope from the middle class as a whole.
The truth of this comes out in the fact that, before we pass to the consideration of the condition of women, we have to speak this word of warning. To many, that which we have to say of the Now will seem exaggerated; much that we have to say of the Hereafter, visionary, and perhaps all that is said, dangerous. To cultured people, public opinion is still that of man alone, and the customary is the moral. The majority still lays stress upon the occasional sex-helplessness of woman as a bar to her even consideration with man. It still descants upon the natural calling of the female. As to the former, people forget that sex-helplessness at certain times is largely exaggerated by the unhealthy conditions of our modern life, if, indeed, it is not wholly due to these. Given rational conditions, it would largely, if not completely, disappear. They forget also that all this about which the talk is so glib when women’s freedom is under discussion is conveniently ignored when the question is one of women’s enslavement. They forget that by capitalist employers this very sex-helplessness of woman is only taken into account with the view of lowering the general rate of wages. Again, there is no more a natural calling of woman than there is a natural law of capitalistic production, or a natural limit to the amount of the labourer’s product that goes to him for means of subsistence. That in the first case, woman’s calling is supposed to be only the tending of children, the maintenance of household conditions, and a general obedience to her lord; that, in the second, the production of surplus value is a necessary preliminary to the production of capital; that, in the third, the amount the labourer receives for his means of subsistence is so much as will keep him only just above starvation point: these are not natural laws in the same sense as are the laws of motion. They are only certain temporary conventions of society, like the convention that French is the language of diplomacy.
To treat the position of women at the present time in detail is to repeat a thousand-times-told tale. Yet, for our purpose, we must re-emphasise some familiar points, and perhaps mention one or two less familiar. And first, a general idea that has to do with all women. The life of woman does not coincide with that of man. Their lives do not intersect; in many cases do not even touch. Hence the life of the race is stunted. According to Kant, “a man and woman constitute, when united, the whole and entire being; one sex completes the other.” But when each sex is incomplete, and the one incomplete to the most lamentable extent, and when, as a rule, neither of them comes into real, thorough, habitual, free contact, mind to mind, with the other, the being is neither whole nor entire.
Second, a special idea that has to do with only a certain number, but that a large one, of women. Every one knows the effect that certain callings, or habits of life, have on the physique and on the face of those that follow them. The horsy man, the drunkard are known by gait, physiognomy. How many of us have ever paused, or dared to pause, upon the serious fact that in the streets and public buildings, in the friend-circle, we can, in a moment, tell the unmarried women, if they are beyond a certain age which lively writers call, with a delicate irony peculiarly their own, uncertain? But we cannot tell a man that is unmarried from one that is wedded. Before the question that arises out of this fact is asked, let us call to mind the terrible proportion of women that are unmarried. For example, in England, in the year 1870, 41 per cent of the women were in this condition. The question to which all this leads is a plain one, a legitimate one, and is only an unpleasant one because of the answer that must be given. How is it that our sisters bear upon their brews this stamp of lost instincts, stifled affections, a nature in part murdered? How is it that their more fortunate brothers bear no such mark? Here, assuredly, no natural law obtains. This licence for the man, this prevention of legions of noble and holy unions that does not affect him, but falls heavily on her, are the inevitable outcome of our economic system. Our marriages, like our morals, are based upon commercialism. Not to be able to meet one’s business engagements is a greater sin than the slander of a friend, and our weddings are business transactions.
Whether we consider women as a whole, or only that sad sisterhood wearing upon its melancholy brews the stamp of eternal virginity, we find alike a want of ideas and of ideals. The reason of this is again the economic position of dependency upon man. Women, once more like the labourers, have been expropriated as to their rights as human beings, just as the labourers were expropriated as to their rights as producers. The method in each case is the only one that makes expropriation at any time and under any circumstances possible – and that method is force.
In Germany at the present day the woman is a minor with regard to man. A husband of low estate may chastise a wife. All decisions as to the children rest with him, even to the fixing of the date of weanings. Whatever fortune the wife may have he manages. She may not enter into agreements without his consent; she may not take part in political associations. It is unnecessary for us to point out how much better, within the last few years, these things have been managed in England, or to remind our readers that the recent changes were due to the action of women themselves. But it is necessary to remind them that with all these added civil rights English women, married and unmarried alike, are morally dependent on man, and are badly treated by him. The position is little better in other civilised lands, with the strange exception of Russia, where women are socially more free than in any other part of Europe. In France, the women of the upper middle class are more unhappily situated than in England. Those of the lower middle and working-classes are better off than either in England or Germany. But two consecutive paragraphs in the Code Civil, 340 and 341, show that injustice to women is not only Teutonic. La recherche de la paternité est interdité and La recherche de la maternité est admise.
Every one who refuses to blink facts knows that Demosthenes words of the Athenians are true of our English middle and upper classes today, “We marry in order to obtain legitimate children and a faithful warder of the house; we keep concubines as servants for our daily attendance, but we seek the Hetairai for love’s delight.” The wife is still the child-bearer, the housewarder. The husband lives and loves according to his own bad pleasure. Even those who admit this will possibly join issue with us when we suggest as another wrong to women the rigorous social rule that from man only must come the first proffer of affection, the proposal for marriage. This may be on the principle of compensation. After marriage the proffers come generally from the woman, and the reserve is the man’s. That this is no natural law our Shakespeare has shown. Miranda, untrammelled by society, tenders herself to Ferdinand. “I am your wife if you will marry me: if not I’ll die your maid;” and Helena, in All’s Well that Ends Well, with her love for Bertram, that carries her from Rousillon to Paris and Florence, is, as Coleridge has it, Shakespeare’s loveliest character.
We have said that marriage is based upon commercialism. It is a barter transaction in many cases, and in all, under the condition of things today, the question of ways and means plays of necessity a large part. Among the upper classes the business is carried on quite unblushingly. The Sir Gorgius Midas pictures in Punch testify to this. The nature of the periodical in which they appear reminds us that all the horrors they reveal are only regarded as foibles, not as sins. In the lower middle class many a man denies himself the joy of home life until he grows out of the longing for it; many a woman closes the book of her life at its fairest page for ever, because of the dread rerum angustarum domi [of the narrow confines of domestic life].
Another proof of the commercial nature of our marriage system is afforded by the varying times at which wedlock is customary in the varying grades of society. The time is in no sense regulated, as it ought to be, by the time of life. Some favoured individuals, kings, princes, aristocrats, marry, or are married, at the age to which Nature points as fitting. Many of the working class marry young – that is, at the natural period. The virtuous capitalist who at that age makes a habitual use of prostitution dilates unctuously upon the improvidence of the artisan. The student of physiology and economics notes the fact as interesting evidence that not even the frightful capitalistic system has crushed out a normal and righteous instinct. But, with the stratum of society wedged in between these two, unions, as we have just seen, cannot take place as a rule until years after the heyday of youth is passed and passion is on the wane.
All this tells far more on the women than on the men. Society provides, recognises, legalises for the latter the means of gratifying the sex instinct. In the eyes of that same society an unmarried woman who acts after the fashion habitual to her unmarried brothers and the men that dance with her at balls, or work with her in the shop, is a pariah. And even with the working classes who marry at the normal time, the life of the woman under the present system is the more arduous and irksome of the two. The old promise of the legend, in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, is not only realised, but extended. She has to bring them up through long years, unrelieved by rest, unbrightened by hope, in the same atmosphere of perennial labour and sorrow. The man, worn out as he may be by labour, has the evening in which to do nothing. The woman is occupied until bedtime comes. Often with young children her toil goes far into, or all through, the night.
When marriage has taken place all is in favour of the one and is adverse to the other. Some wonder that John Stuart Mill wrote, Marriage is at the present day the only actual form of serfdom recognised by law. The wonder to us is that he never saw this serfdom as a question, not of sentiment, but of economics, the result of our capitalistic system. After marriage, as before, the woman is under restraint, and the man is not. Adultery in her is a crime, in him a venial offence. He can obtain a divorce, she cannot, on the ground of adultery. She must prove that cruelty (i. e. of a physical kind) has been shown. Marriages thus arranged, thus carried out, with such an attendant train of circumstances and of consequences, seem to us – let us say it with all deliberation – worse than prostitution. To call them sacred or moral is a desecration.
In connexion with the subject of divorce we may note an instance of the self-deception, not only of society and its constituent classes but of individuals. The clergy are ready and willing to marry anybody and everybody, age to youth, vice to virtue, and no questions asked, as a certain class of advertisements put it. Yet the clergy set their faces most sternly against divorce. To protest against such discordant unions as they again and again ratify would be an interference with the liberty of the subject. But to oppose anything that facilitates divorce is a most serious interference with the liberty of the subject. The whole question of divorce, complex in any case, is made more complicated by the fact that it has to be considered, first in relation to the present conditions, second in relation to the socialistic conditions of the future. Many advanced thinkers plead for greater facility of divorce now. They contend that divorce ought to be made at least as easy as marriage; that an engagement entered into by people who have had little or no opportunity of knowing one another ought not to be irrevocably, or even stringently binding; that incompatibility of temper, non-realisation of deep-rooted hopes, actual dislike, should be sufficient grounds for separation; finally, and most important of all, that the conditions of divorce should be the same for the two sexes. All this is excellent, and would be not only feasible but just, if – but mark the if – the economic positions of the two sexes were the same. They are not the same. Hence, whilst agreeing with every one of these ideas theoretically, we believe that they would, practically applied under our present system, result, in the majority of cases, in yet further injustice to women. The man would be able to take advantage of them; the woman would not, except in the rare instances where she had private property or some means of livelihood. The annulling of the union would be to him freedom; to her, starvation for herself and her children.
We may be asked, will these same principles of divorce hold under the socialistic regime? Our answer is this-the union between men and women, to be explained in the sequel, will be seen to be of such a nature as wholly to obviate the necessity of divorce.
Upon our treatment of the last two points, where we consider the future, we expect more hostile judgement than on anything that has gone before. To both of these points passing reference has already been made. The first is the sex instinct. To us, the whole of the method adopted by society in dealing with this is fatally wrong. It is wrong from the very beginning. Our children are constantly silenced when they ask about the begetting and the birth of offspring. The question is as natural as one about the beats of the heart or the movements of respiration. The one ought to be answered as readily and as clearly as the others. Perhaps there may be a time in the very young life when an explanation of any physiological fact in answer to a question would not be understood, though we are not prepared to define that time. There can never be a time when falsehood should be taught about any function of the body. As our boys and girls grow up, the whole subject of sex relations is made a mystery and a shame. This is the reason why an undue and unhealthy curiosity is begotten to them. The mind becomes excessively concentrated upon them, remains long unsatisfied, or Incompletely satisfied – passes into a morbid condition. To us, it seems that the reproductive organs ought to be discussed as frankly, as freely, between parents and children as the digestive. The objection to this is but a form of the vulgar prejudice against the teaching of physiology, a prejudice that found its truest expression in a recent letter from a parent to a School Board mistress. Please, don’t teach my girl anything about her inside. It does her no good, and which it is rude. How many of us have suffered from the suggestio falsi or the suppressio veri in this matter, due to parents, or teachers, or even servants? Let us each honestly ask ourselves from whose lips, under what circumstances, did we first learn the truth about parentage. And yet it is a truth which, having to do with the birth of little children, we cannot err in calling sacred. In how many cases was it from the mother who had the holiest right to teach-a right acquired by suffering?
Nor can we admit that to speak honestly to children on these matters is to injure them. Let us quote Bebel, who in his turn quotes Mrs. Isabella Beecher Hooker. “In order to satisfy the constant questionings of her little boy of eight, with regard to his origin, and to avoid telling him fables, which she regarded as unmoral, she told him the whole truth. The child listened with the greatest attention, and from the day on which he had heard what pain and anxiety he had caused his mother, clung to her with an entirely new tenderness and reverence. The same reverence he had shown also towards other women.” To us at least one woman is known who has told all her children the whole truth. The children have for her a love and reverence altogether deeper than, and different from, that which they had before.
With the false shame and false secrecy, against which we protest, goes the unhealthy separation of the sexes that begins as children quit the nursery, and only ends when the dead men and women are laid in the common earth. In the Story of an African Farm, the girl Lyndall cries out, “We were equals once, when we lay new-born babies on our nurses’ knees. We shall be equals again when they tie up our jaws for the last sleep.” In the schools this separation is carried out, and even in some churches the system, with all its suggestiveness, is in vogue. Its worst form is, of course, in the non-human institutions called monasteries and nunneries. But all the less virulent forms of the same evil are, only in less degree, non-human.
In ordinary society even, the restrictions laid upon the intercourse of the sexes are, like repressive measures with school-boys, the source of much mischief. These restrictions are especially dangerous in regard to conversational subjects. Every man sees the consequence of this, though he may not know it as a consequence, in the kind of talk that goes on in the smoking-rooms of middle and upper class society. Only when men and women pure-minded, or, at least, striving after purity, discuss the sexual question in all its bearings, as free human beings, looking frankly into each other’s faces, will there be any hope of its solution. With this, as we are constantly iterating, must go the understanding that the basis of the whole matter is economic. Mary Wollstonecraft, in the Rights of Woman, taught, in part, this commingling of the sexes, instead of the separation of them throughout life. She demanded that women should have equal educational advantages, should be educated in the same schools and colleges with men; that from infancy to adult age the two should be trained side by side. This demand is a sore thorn in the flesh of Mr. J. C. Jeaffreson in his latest compilation.
Two extreme forms of the distinction of the sexes that spring from this their separation are, as Bebel points out, the effeminate man and masculine woman. These are two types from which even the average person recoils with a perfectly natural horror of the unnatural. For reasons that have been indicated more than once, the former is less bequent than the latter. But these two types do not exhaust the list of diseased forms due to our unnatural dealing with the sex relations. That morbid virginity, of which mention has already been made, is another. Lunacy is a fourth. Suicide is a fifth. As to these last two, a few figures in the one case and a reminder in the other. The reminder first. Most women suicides are between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one. Many of these, of course, are due to the pregnancy which our social system drags down to the level of a crime. But others are due to ungratified sex instincts, often concealed under the euphemism disappointed love. Here are a few lunacy numbers, taken from p. 47 of the English translation of Bebel: – Hanover, 1881, 1 lunatic to 457 unmarried, 1 lunatic to 1,316 married inhabitants; Saxony, 260 unmarried lunatics to a million unmarried sane women, 125 married lunatics to a million married sane; Prussia, in 1882, to every 10,000 inhabitants 32.2 unmarried male lunatics, 9.5 married male lunatics, 29.3 female unmarried lunatics, 9.5 married female lunatics.
It is time for men and women to recognise that the slaying of sex is always followed by disaster. Extreme passion is ill. But the opposite extreme of the sacrifice of healthy natural instinct is as ill. They that are in extremity of either are abominable fellows, is as true in this connection as of melancholy and over-mirth when Rosalind railed at them in the Forest of Arden. And yet thousands of women pass, through what hell-fires they only know, to the Moloch of our social system; thousands of women are defrauded, month after month, year after year, of their unreturning May-time. Hence we – and with us, in this, at all events, most Socialists – contend that chastity is unhealthy and unholy. Always understanding by chastity the entire suppression of all instincts connected with the begetting of children, we regard chastity as a crime. As with all crimes, the criminal is not the individual sufferer, but the society that forces her to sin and to suffer. Here we are at one with Shelley. In his Notes to Queen Mab we have the following passage: – “Chastity is a monkish and evangelical superstition, a greater foe to natural temperance even than unintellectual sensuality; for it strikes at the root of all domestic happiness, and consigns more than half of the human race to misery, that some few may monopolise according to law.” Finally, in this most important connexion, we call to mind the accumulated medical testimony to the fact that women suffer more than men under these restraints.
Our other point, before we pass to the concluding portion of this article, is that necessary result of our today system – prostitution. This evil is, as we have said, recognised, and it is legalised, in some European countries. All that we need add here is the truism that its chief supporters are of the middle class. The aristocracy are not, of course, excepted; but the mainstay of the hideous system is the respectable, well-to-do, most seeming-virtuous capitalist. This is not due only to the great accumulation of wealth and the consequent habits of luxury. The significant fact is that in a society based upon capital, whose centre is therefore the capitalistic middle class, prostitution, one of the worst outcomes of that society, is supported chiefly by that very class. This points clearly the moral that once again, under a new form, we urge. That which might be said on the special cases which the Pall Mall Gazette has made familiar to us applies to prostitution generally. To get rid of prostitution, we must get rid of the social conditions that are its parent. Midnight meetings, refuges for the distressed, all the well-meant attempts to grapple with this awful problem are, as their initiators despairingly admit, futile. And futile they will remain as long as the system of production lasts which, creating a surplus labour-population, creates with this, criminal men, and women that are very literally and sadly abandoned. Get rid of this, the capitalistic system of production, say the Socialists, and prostitution will pass away.
This leads us to our last point. What is it that we as Socialists desire? What is it that we expect? What is that of whose coming we feel as assured as of the rising of tomorrow’s sun? What are the evolution changes in society that we believe are already close at hand? And what are the changes in the condition of woman that we anticipate as consequence of these? Let us disclaim all intention of the prophetic. He that, reasoning on a series of observed phenomena, sees the inevitable event to which they lead is no prophet. A man cannot prophesy any more than he has a right to wager, about a certainty. To us it seems clear that as in England the Germanic society, whose basis was the free landholder, gave way to the feudal system, and this to the capitalistic, so this last, no more eternal than its predecessors, will give way to the Socialistic system; that as slavery passed into serfdom, and serfdom into the wage-slavery Of today, so this last will pass into the condition where all the means of production will belong neither to slave-owner, nor to serf’s lord, nor to the wage-slave’s master, the capitalist, but to the community as a whole. At the risk of raising the habitual smile and sneer, we confess that into every detail of that Socialistic working of society we are no more prepared to enter than were the first capitalists to enter into the details of the system that they founded. Nothing is more common, nothing is more unjust, nothing is more indicative of meagre understanding, than the vulgar clamour for exact details of things under the social condition towards which we believe the world is moving. No expounder of any new great truth, no one of his followers, can hope to work out all the truth into its ultimate ramifications. That would have been thought of those who rejected the gravitation discovery of Newton because he had not, by application of it, found out Neptune? Or of those who rejected the Darwinian theory of Natural Selection because instinct presented certain difficulties? Yet this is precisely what the average opponents of Socialism do; always with a vacuous calmness, ignoring the fact that for every difficulty or misery they suppose will arise from the socialisation of the means of production a score worse are actually existent in the putrescent society of today.
What is it that we feel certain is coming? We have wandered so far from Bebel along our own lines of thought, at the entrance of whose ways his suggestive work has generally placed us, that for the answer to this question we return gladly and gratefully to him, “A society in which all the means of production are the property of the community, a society which recognises the full equality of all without distinction of sex, which provides for the application of every kind of technical and scientific improvement or discovery, which enrolls as workers all those who are at present unproductive, or whose activity assumes an injurious shape, the idlers and the drones, and which, while it minimises the period of labour necessary for its support, raises the mental and physical condition of all its members to the highest attainable pitch.”
We disguise neither from ourselves nor from our antagonists that the first step to this is the expropriation of all private property in land and in all other means of production. With this would happen the abolition of the State as it now is. No confusion as to our aims is more common than that which leads woolly thinking people to imagine that the changes we desire can be brought about, and the conditions subsequent upon them can exist, under a State regime such as that of today. The State is now a force-organisation for the maintenance of the present conditions of property and of social rule. Its representatives are a few middle and upper class men contending for places yielding abnormal salaries. The State under Socialism, if indeed a word of such ugly historical associations is retained will be the organised capacity of a community of workers. Its officials will be no better and no worse off than their fellows. The divorce between art and labour, the antagonism between head and hand work, that grieves the souls of artists, without their knowing in most cases the economic cause of their grief, will vanish.
And now comes the question as to how the future position of woman, and therefore of the race, will be affected by all this. Of one or two things we may be very sure. Others the evolution of society alone will decide positively, though every one of us may have his own idea upon each particular point. Clearly there will be equality for all, without distinction of sex. Thus, woman will be independent: her education and all other opportunities as those of man. Like him, she, if sound in mind and body (and how the number of women thus will grow!) will have to give her one, two, or three hours of social labour to supply the wants of the community, and therefore of herself. Thereafter she will be free for art or science, or teaching or writing, or amusement in any form. Prostitution will have vanished with the economic conditions that made it, and make it at this hour, a necessity.
Whether monogamy or polygamy will obtain in the Socialistic state is a detail on which one can only speak as an individual. The question is too large to be solved within the mists and miasmata of the capitalistic system. Personally, we believe that monogamy will gain the day. There are approximately equal numbers of men and women, and the highest ideal seems to be the complete, harmonious, lasting blending of two human lives. Such an ideal, almost never attainable today, needs at least four things. These are love, respect, intellectual likeness, and command of the necessities of life. Each of these four is far more possible under the system towards which we move than under that in which we now have our being.The last is absolutely ensured to all. As Ibsen makes Helmer say to Nora, “Home life ceases to be free and beautiful directly its foundations are borrowing and debts.” But borrowing and debts, when one is a member of community, and not an isolated man fighting for his own hand, can never come. Intellectual likeness. The same education for men and women; the bringing up of these twain side by side, until they join hands at last, will ensure a greater degree of this. That objectionable product of capitalism, Tennyson’s In Memoriam young woman, with her “I cannot understand, I love,” will be a myth. Every one will have learnt that there can be no love without understanding. And the love and respect that are wanting, or are lost today, because of sins and shortcomings, the product of the commercial system of society, will be more easily forthcoming, and vanish almost never. The contract between man and woman will be of a purely private nature, without the intervention of any public functionary. The woman will no longer be the man’s slave, but his equal. For divorce there will be no need.
And whether we are right or not in regarding monogamy as the best form of society, we may be sure that the best form will be chosen, and that by wisdoms riper and richer than ours. We may be equally sure that the choice will not be the barter-marriages, with its one-sided polygamy, of our own sad time. Above all, we may be sure, that two great curses that help, with others, to ruin the relations between man and woman will have passed. Those curses are the treatment of men and women as different beings, and the want of truth. There will no longer be one law for the woman and one for the man. If the coming society, like European society today, regards it as right for man to have mistresses as well as wife, we may be certain that the like freedom will be extended to women. Nor will there be the hideous disguise, the constant lying that makes the domestic life of almost all our English homes an organised hypocrisy. Whatever the matured and deliberate opinion of the community finds best will be carried out fairly, openly. Husband and wife will be able to do that which but few can do now-look clear through one another’s eyes into one another’s hearts. For ourselves, we believe that the cleaving of one man to one woman will be best for all, and that these will find each in the heart of the other, that which is in the eyes, their own image.” Eleanor Marx, “Karl Marx,” an obituary; 1883, and Eleanor Marx and Edward Aveling, The Woman Question
Numero Tres—“Petitioner, a professional baseball player ‘traded’ to another club without his previous knowledge or consent, brought this antitrust suit after being refused the right to make his own contract with another major league team, which is not permitted under the reserve system. The District Court rendered judgment in favor of respondents, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.
Held: The longstanding exemption of professional baseball from the antitrust laws, Federal Baseball Club v. National League,259 U. S. 200 (1922); Toolson v. New York Yankees, Inc.,346 U. S. 356 (1953), is an established aberration, in the light of the Court’s holding that other interstate professional sports are not similarly exempt, but one in which Congress has acquiesced, and that is entitled to the benefit of stare decisis. Removal of the resultant inconsistency at this late date is a matter for legislative, not judicial, resolution. Pp. 407 U. S. 269-285.
443 F.2d 264, affirmed.
BLACKMUN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which STEWART and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined, and in all but Part I of which BURGER, C.J., and WHITE, J., joined. BURGER, C.J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 407 U. S. 285. DOUGLAS, J., post, p. 407 U. S. 286, and MARSHALL, J., post, p. 407 U. S. 288, filed dissenting opinions, in which BRENNAN, J., joined. POWELL, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.
MR. JUSTICE BLACKMUN delivered the opinion of the Court.
For the third time in 50 years, the Court is asked specifically to rule that professional baseball’s reserve system is within the reach of the federal antitrust laws. [Footnote 1]
Collateral issues of state law and of federal labor policy are also advanced.
It is a century and a quarter since the New York Nine defeated the Knickerbockers 23 to 1 on Hoboken’s Elysian Fields June 19, 1846, with Alexander Jay Cartwright as the instigator and the umpire. The teams were amateur, but the contest marked a significant date in baseball’s beginnings. That early game led ultimately to the development of professional baseball and its tightly organized structure.
The Cincinnati Red Stockings came into existence in 1869 upon an outpouring of local pride. With only one Cincinnatian on the payroll, this professional team traveled over 11,000 miles that summer, winning 56 games and tying one. Shortly thereafter, on St. Patrick’s Day in 1871, the National Association of Professional Baseball Players was founded and the professional league was born.
The ensuing colorful days are well known. The ardent follower and the student of baseball know of General Abner Doubleday; the formation of the National League in 1876; Chicago’s supremacy in the first year’s competition under the leadership of Al Spalding and with Cap Anson at third base; the formation of the American Association and then of the Union Association in the 1880’s; the introduction of Sunday baseball; inter-league warfare with cut-rate admission prices and player raiding; the development of the reserve “clause”; the emergence in 1885 of the Brotherhood of Professional Ball Players, and in 1890 of the Players League; the appearance of the American League, or “junior circuit,” in 1901, rising from the minor Western Association; the first World Series in 1903, disruption in 1904, and the Series’ resumption in 1905; the short-lived Federal League on the majors’ scene during World War I years; the troublesome and discouraging episode of the 1919 Series; the home run ball; the shifting of franchises; the expansion of the leagues; the installation in 1965 of the major league draft of potential new players; and the formation of the Major League Baseball Players Association in 1966. [Footnote 2]
Then there are the many names, celebrated for one reason or another, that have sparked the diamond and its environs and that have provided tinder for recaptured thrills, for reminiscence and comparisons, and for conversation and anticipation in-season and off-season: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Tris Speaker, Walter Johnson, Henry Chadwick, Eddie Collins, Lou Gehrig, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Rogers Hornsby, Harry Hooper, Goose Goslin, Jackie Robinson, Honus Wagner, Joe McCarthy, John McGraw, Deacon Phillippe, Rube Marquard, Christy Mathewson, Tommy Leach, Big Ed Delahanty, Davy Jones, Germany Schaefer, King Kelly, Big Dan Brouthers, Wahoo Sam Crawford, Wee Willie Keeler, Big Ed Walsh, Jimmy Austin, Fred Snodgrass, Satchel Paige, Hugh Jennings, Fred Merkle, Iron Man McGinnity, Three-Finger Brown, Harry and Stan Coveleski, Connie Mack, Al Bridwell, Red Ruffing, Amos Rusie, Cy Young, Smokey Joe Wood, Chief Meyers, Chief Bender, Bill Klem, Hans Lobert, Johnny Evers, Joe Tinker, Roy Campanela, Miller Huggins, Rube Bressler, Dazzy Vance, Edd Roush, Bill Wambsganess, Clark Griffith, Branch Rickey, Frank Chance, Cap Anson, Nap Lajoie, Sad Sam Jones, Bob O’Farrell, Lefty O’Doul, Bobby Veach, Willie Kamm, Heinie Groh, Lloyd and Paul Waner, Stuffy McInnis, Charles Comiske, Roger Bresnahan, Bill Dickey, Zack Wheat, George Sisler, Charlie Gehringer, Eppa Rixey, Harry Heilmann, Fred Clarke, Dizzy Dean, Hank Greenberg, Pie Traynor, Rube Waddell, Bill Terry, Carl Hubbell, Old Hoss Radbourne, Moe Berg, Rabbit Maranville, Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove. [Footnote 3] The list seems endless.
And one recalls the appropriate reference to the “World Serious,” attributed to Ring Lardner, Sr.; Ernest L. Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat”; [Footnote 4] the ring of “Tinker to Evers to Chance”; [Footnote 5] and all the other happenings, habits, and superstitions about and around baseball that made it the “national pastime” or, depending upon the point of view, “the great American tragedy.” [Footnote 6]
The petitioner, Curtis Charles Flood, born in 1938, began his major league career in 1956 when he signed a contract with the Cincinnati Reds for a salary of $4,000 for the season. He had no attorney or agent to advise him on that occasion. He was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals before the 1958 season. Flood rose to fame as a center fielder with the Cardinals during the years 1958-1969. In those 12, seasons he compiled a batting average of .293. His best offensive season was 1967, when he achieved .335. He was .301 or better in six of the 12 St. Louis years. He participated in the 1964, 1967, and 1968 World Series. He played errorless ball in the field in 1966, and once enjoyed 223 consecutive errorless games. Flood has received seven Golden Glove Awards. He was co-captain of his team from 1965-1969. He ranks among the 10 major league outfielders possessing the highest lifetime fielding averages.
Flood’s St. Louis compensation for the years shown was:
1961 $13,500 (including a bonus for signing)
These figures do not include any so-called fringe benefits or World Series shares.
But, at the age of 31, in October, 1969, Flood was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League in a multi-player transaction. He was not consulted about the trade. He was informed by telephone and received formal notice only after the deal had been consummated. In December, he complained to the Commissioner of Baseball and asked that he be made a free agent and be placed at liberty to strike his own bargain with any other major league team. His request was denied.
Flood then instituted this antitrust suit [Footnote 7] in January, 1970, in federal court for the Southern District of New York. The defendants (although not all were named in each cause of action) were the Commissioner of Baseball, the presidents of the two major leagues, and the 24 major league clubs. In general, the complaint charged violations of the federal antitrust laws and civil rights statutes, violation of state statutes and the common law, and the imposition of a form of peonage and involuntary servitude contrary to the Thirteenth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1994, 18 U.S.C. § 1581, and 29 U.S.C. §§ 102 and 103. Petitioner sought declaratory and injunctive relief and treble damages.” Flood v. Kuhn, 407 U.S. 258(1972)
FIGHTING FOR TECHDIRT‘S SURVIVAL, AN ICONIC TALE, & MORE
In this instance channeling Free Press and providing a portal to other citations as well, a Benton.org profferal that briefs scrappy scribes and stalwart citizens about a particular case, a largely bogus libel trial that involves the often-cited-here TechDirt, a must consider set of ideas and arguments that deal with only one of the ways that monopoly interests and the plundering thugs who run them seek to undermine, or even utterly destroy, grassroots mediation that dares to ‘speak truth to power’ and such, in the event an iteration that meshes in an interesting way with a just-released Justice Department investigation of the Chicago Police Department, where DOJ detected a culture of depredation and impunity worthy of a police state, an instructive finding indeed that today’s New York Timesbacks up in its own assessment of these matters.
This Day in History
In some U.S. jurisdictions, today is Korean American Day, and in many parts of Southern Asia, tonight is the Sidereal Winter Solstice celebration; in Constantinople fourteen hundred and eighty-five years back, factions allied with different gangs and sporting organizations erupted in violent conflict—the Nika Riots—that torched more than half the city and left uncounted tens-of-thousands of people dead, discord that arose over high taxes that imperial war necessitated; the fourth Pope Eugene nine hundred three years subsequent to that conjunction, in 1435, issued a dictate that forbade Spanish enslavement of indigenous inhabitants of the Canary Islands; a century and thirteen years later to the day, in 1547, the Earl of Surrey, who had helped to invent the English sonnet, faced a capital sentence from Henry VIII’s adherents in London, just a few short years after his cousin, Anne Boleyn, lost her head; MORE HERE
A Thought for the Day
The plethora of English vocabulary might cause an expectation of plentiful ideation—so many shades of meaning, such a rich metaphorical loam to match the wild fecundity that the cosmos breeds in even its most restricted environs, nouns and verbs and such aplenty, and a grammar that can seem both the keenest blade and a flexible rubbery band simultaneously—while a little reflection might also elicit the admission that social life’s denizens of imperial hegemony and dictatorial dominance so fear most critical thinking or rational analysis that they pay top wages in order for fetishized nonsense and boisterous bullshit to prevail instead of the desperately needed intelligence and insight necessary to manage our moment’s outpouring of manufactured mayhem: indeed, scrappy scribes now must surf the tsunami of paradox that typifies their present potential to comprehend and contextualize in such a fashion as to embrace the intellectual potential for transcendence while they resist and dismantle the established regime’s fierce commitment to disallow all that might threaten its continued plundering, even as that process of plutocracy and privilege threatens to extinguish altogether the human experiment, with all the beautiful poetry and incisive reason that its grassroots creators manage in the middle of madness to produce.
Quote of the Day
Behold, whiles she before the altar stands,
Hearing the holy priest that to her speakes,
And blesseth her with his two happy hands.
Sir,Would you allow me, grateful as I am for the kind reception you once extended to me, to show my concern about maintaining your well-deserved prestige and to point out that your star which, until now, has shone so brightly, risks being dimmed by the most shameful and indelible of stains?
Unscathed by vile slander, you have won the hearts of all. You are radiant in the patriotic glory of our country’s alliance with Russia, you are about to preside over the solemn triumph of our World Fair, the jewel that crowns this great century of labour, truth, and freedom. But what filth this wretched Dreyfus affair has cast on your name – I wanted to say ‘reign’ -. A court martial, under orders, has just dared to acquit a certain Esterhazy, a supreme insult to all truth and justice. And now the image of France is sullied by this filth, and history shall record that it was under your presidency that this crime against society was committed. MORE HERE
literature OR narrative OR storytelling purpose OR rationale OR adaptive OR advantage expose OR reveal OR uncover OR deconstruct OR "speaking truth" lampoon OR satire OR irony fraud OR abuse OR venality OR hypocrisy contradiction OR paradox OR ineffable analysis OR explication OR scholarship critique OR criticism marxist OR radical = 884,000 Connections.
TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, & AWARENESS VIDEO
AN UPLIFTING LOOK AT UNHERALDED COMMUNICATION CAPACITY
A six minute or so interlude that ought to give scrappy scribes and stalwart citizens chills, from Aeon video, a mini-documentary about a Spanish island where shepherds and cowherds have, time out of mind, communicated with a system of whistles that contains a lexicon and grammar that mandate the label of language for the practice, which is in the process of going extinct as observers look on, an iconic bit of documentation about how we go about being human that blends in a fascinating fashion with a new Global Voices report , which in addition contains a couple of hip videos from the Southern Cone, about Chilean predominance in astronomical matters, a case of whistling in the wind if ever there was one, both of which, in ways not exactly obvious but which are nonetheless palpable, create a groove that includes a somewhat older YouTube interlude from the proprietors of Patreon, about how artists and creators seek support through signs and signals that might not speak as directly as text but which still manage to reach to the heart of possible patrons who constitute the audience that we all seek.
The 2017 Seaside Writers Conference will be held from May 14 to May 21, 2017, at the Seaside Assembly Hall and Academic Village in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.
FABULA PRESS SHORT STORY COMPETITION http://www.fabulapress.com/the-contest/
$10 ENTRY FEE.
Deadline March 31, 2017. The contest is not theme bound. There is no restriction on genre either, and we are happy to read historical fiction, mystery/suspense, and horror. However, for consistency of presentation we cannot accept children’s stories, fantasy, young adult or chick lit; likewise hardcore science fiction is not something we are looking for, but are open to science based/alternative history based literary works. In case of doubt, it is best to query the editorial team before submitting. Stories must be not less than 1500 words and no more than 7,000 words in length. First Prize: US$250. Second Prize: US$150. Third Prize: US$100.
compensation: per project, competitive
employment type: contract
Do you get chills reading (or crafting) the perfect email? Can you take something short, and make it even more concise? Can you take something pretty good, and make it sing?We’re immediately seeking an experienced copy editor to help us produce our cold email campaigns. Specifically, you’ll be 1) giving feedback to our writers as they draft a new campaign (applying defined internal standards) and 2) line-editing their work to get it ready for final delivery.
A Truth-Out piece by an erudite analyst who gives background and provides a concrete solution for the current crises: “In private corporations the employers are the boards of directors selected by the major shareholders. In state or public enterprises of the traditional socialist economies, the employers are state officials. Instead of either kind of employer-employee relationship, system change installs a different core relationship inside enterprises. A different group of people — all workers in the factory, office or store — democratically makes those same decisions. The rule is “one worker, one vote,” and in general, the majority decides. The difference between employer and employee dissolves.”
A MEL look at the ins and outs of a particularly evocative form of punctuation…. “This is where the ellipsis comes in. It has become a finishing move, a power play; the communion it represents is no longer between speaker and listener, but rather between the speaker and those already on their side. Patrick D. Elliott, a Ph.D. candidate in Linguistics at University College London and visiting scholar at Berlin’s Center for General Linguistics, sees it as deliberately performative: “[The ellipsis] used to convey something like the following: ‘I could go on to explain why this is weird, but it’s so obvious to the rest of my audience that I don’t need to bother. Rather, I’m using ellipsis to demonstrate my awareness of this.’ ””
A Journalist’s Resource scholarly and thorough look at the phenomenon of ‘fake news’: “While much has been written about fake news, scholars have published a limited amount of peer-reviewed research on the topic. Below, Journalist’s Resource has compiled studies that examine fake news and the spread of misinformation more broadly to help journalists better understand the problem and its impacts. Other resources that may be helpful are Poynter Institute’s tips on debunking fake news stories and a well-circulated list of fake, unreliable and questionable news websites compiled by Melissa Zimdars, a communication professor at Merrimack College. The First Draft Partner Network, a global collaboration of newsrooms, social media platforms and fact-checking organizations, was launched in September 2016 to battle fake news.”
A Duran reposting and summary of the most recent Julian Assange interview: “Julian Assange slammed the recent report as a “press release”, stating that only about five pages of the report could be considered substantial content.
“The real question is whether the Russians hacked the Democratic party with the intention of favoring Donald Trump,” Said Assange [Paraphrase]. “Even if you accept that Russia hackers were involved, even if no evidence was presented in the report, what was the intent of those Russian attacks and do they connect to Wikileaks.”
A Waking Times look at the true side effects of the sorts of medications that are forced on children for the sake of ‘crowd control’: “Produced by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, in this video, Daniel tells his story of being required to take ADHD medications from the age of 5 years-old, re-counting the experience of his doctors yelling at his mother when she tried to stop after noticing her son was behaving strangely, in a distant and spaced-out manner. Daniel goes on to explain how his forced medication as a child led to severe psychological issues growing up included long suicidal episodes.”
Would you allow me, grateful as I am for the kind reception you once extended to me, to show my concern about maintaining your well-deserved prestige and to point out that your star which, until now, has shone so brightly, risks being dimmed by the most shameful and indelible of stains?
Unscathed by vile slander, you have won the hearts of all. You are radiant in the patriotic glory of our country’s alliance with Russia, you are about to preside over the solemn triumph of our World Fair, the jewel that crowns this great century of labour, truth, and freedom. But what filth this wretched Dreyfus affair has cast on your name – I wanted to say ‘reign’ -. A court martial, under orders, has just dared to acquit a certain Esterhazy, a supreme insult to all truth and justice. And now the image of France is sullied by this filth, and history shall record that it was under your presidency that this crime against society was committed.
As they have dared, so shall I dare. Dare to tell the truth, as I have pledged to tell it, in full, since the normal channels of justice have failed to do so. My duty is to speak out; I do not wish to be an accomplice in this travesty. My nights would otherwise be haunted by the spectre of the innocent man, far away, suffering the most horrible of tortures for a crime he did not commit.
And it is to you, Sir, that I shall proclaim this truth, with all the force born of the revulsion of an honest man. Knowing your integrity, I am convinced that you do not know the truth. But to whom if not to you, the first magistrate of the country, shall I reveal the vile baseness of the real guilty parties?
The truth, first of all, about Dreyfus’ trial and conviction:
At the root of it all is one evil man, Lt. Colonel du Paty de Clam, who was at the time a mere Major. He is the entire Dreyfus case, and the entirety of it will only come to light when an honest enquiry firmly establishes his actions and responsibilities. He appears to be the shadiest and most complex of creatures, spinning outlandish intrigues, stooping to the deceits of cheap thriller novels, complete with stolen documents, anonymous letters, meetings in deserted spots, mysterious women scurrying around at night, peddling damning evidence. He was the one who came up with the scheme of dictating the text of the bordereau to Dreyfus; he was the one who had the idea of observing him in a mirror-lined room. And he was the one that Major Forzinetti caught carrying a shuttered lantern that he planned to throw open on the accused man while he slept, hoping that, jolted awake by the sudden flash of light, Dreyfus would blurt out his guilt.
I need say no more: let us seek and we shall find. I am stating simply that Major du Paty de Clam, as the officer of justice charged with the preliminary investigation of the Dreyfus case, is the first and the most grievous offender in the ghastly miscarriage of justice that has been committed.
The bordereau had already been for some time in the hands of Colonel Sandherr, Head of the Intelligence Office, who has since died of a paralytic stroke. Information was ‘leaked’, papers were disappearing, then as they continue to do to this day; and, as the search for the author of the bordereau progressed, little by little, an a priori assumption developed that it could only have come from an officer of the General Staff, and furthermore, an artillery officer. This interpretation, wrong on both counts, shows how superficially the bordereau was analysed, for a logical examination shows that it could only have come from an infantry officer.
So an internal search was conducted. Handwriting samples were compared, as if this were some family affair, a traitor to be sniffed out and expelled from within the War Office. And, although I have no desire to dwell on a story that is only partly known, Major du Paty de Clam entered on the scene as soon as the slightest suspicion fell upon Dreyfus. From that moment on, he was the one who ‘invented’ Dreyfus the traitor, the one who orchestrated the whole affair and made it his own. He boasted that he would confuse him and make him confess all. Oh, yes, there was of course the Minister of War, General Mercier, a man of apparently mediocre intellect; and there were also the Chief of Staff, General de Boisdeffre, who appears to have yielded to his own religious bigotry, and the Deputy Chief of Staff, General Gonse, whose conscience allowed for many accommodations. But, at the end of the day, it all started with Major du Paty de Clam, who led them on, hypnotised them, for, as an adept of spiritualism and the occult, he conversed with spirits. Nobody would ever believe the experiments to which he subjected the unfortunate Dreyfus, the traps he set for him, the wild investigations, the monstrous fantasies, the whole demented torture.
Ah, that first trial! What a nightmare it is for all who know it in its true details. Major du Paty de Clam had Dreyfus arrested and placed in solitary confinement. He ran to Mme Dreyfus, terrorised her, telling her that, if she talked, that was it for her husband. Meanwhile, the unfortunate Dreyfus was tearing his hair out and proclaiming his innocence. And this is how the case proceeded, like some fifteenth century chronicle, shrouded in mystery, swamped in all manner of nasty twists and turns, all stemming from one trumped-up charge, that stupid bordereau. This was not only a bit of cheap trickery but also the most outrageous fraud imaginable, for almost all of these notorious secrets turned out in fact to be worthless. I dwell on this, because this is the germ of it all, whence the true crime would emerge, that horrifying miscarriage of justice that has blighted France. I would like to point out how this travesty was made possible, how it sprang out of the machinations of Major du Paty de Clam, how Generals Mercier, de Boisdeffre and Gonse became so ensnared in this falsehood that they would later feel compelled to impose it as holy and indisputable truth. Having set it all in motion merely by carelessness and lack of intelligence, they seem at worst to have given in to the religious bias of their milieu and the prejudices of their class. In the end, they allowed stupidity to prevail.
But now we see Dreyfus appearing before the court martial. Behind the closed doors, the utmost secrecy is demanded. Had a traitor opened the border to the enemy and driven the Kaiser straight to Notre-Dame the measures of secrecy and silence could not have been more stringent. The public was astounded; rumors flew of the most horrible acts, the most monstrous deceptions, lies that were an affront to our history. The public, naturally, was taken in. No punishment could be too harsh. The people clamored for the traitor to be publicly stripped of his rank and demanded to see him writhing with remorse on his rock of infamy. Could these things be true, these unspeakable acts, these deeds so dangerous that they must be carefully hidden behind closed doors to keep Europe from going up in flames? No! They were nothing but the demented fabrications of Major du Paty de Clam, a cover-up of the most preposterous fantasies imaginable. To be convinced of this one need only read carefully the accusation as it was presented before the court martial.
How flimsy it is! The fact that someone could have been convicted on this charge is the ultimate iniquity. I defy decent men to read it without a stir of indignation in their hearts and a cry of revulsion, at the thought of the undeserved punishment being meted out there on Devil’s Island. He knew several languages: a crime! He carried no compromising papers: a crime! He would occasionally visit his country of origin: a crime! He was hard-working, and strove to be well informed: a crime! He did not become confused: a crime! He became confused: a crime! And how childish the language is, how groundless the accusation! We also heard talk of fourteen charges but we found only one, the one about the bordereau, and we learn that even there the handwriting experts could not agree. One of them, Mr. Gobert, faced military pressure when he dared to come to a conclusion other than the desired one. We were told also that twenty-three officers had testified against Dreyfus. We still do not know what questions they were asked, but it is certain that not all of them implicated him. It should be noted, furthermore, that all of them came from the War Office. The whole case had been handled as an internal affair, among insiders. And we must not forget this: members of the General Staff had sought this trial to begin with and had passed judgment. And now they were passing judgment once again.
So all that remained of the case was the bordereau, on which the experts had not been able to agree. It is said that within the council chamber the judges were naturally leaning toward acquittal. It becomes clear why, at that point, as justification for the verdict, it became vitally important to turn up some damning evidence, a secret document that, like God, could not be shown, but which explained everything, and was invisible, unknowable, and incontrovertible. I deny the existence of that document. With all my strength, I deny it! Some trivial note, maybe, about some easy women, wherein a certain D… was becoming too insistent, no doubt some demanding husband who felt he wasn’t getting a good enough price for the use of his wife. But a document concerning national defense that could not be produced without sparking an immediate declaration of war tomorrow? No! No! It is a lie, all the more odious and cynical in that its perpetrators are getting off free without even admitting it. They stirred up all of France, they hid behind the understandable commotion they had set off, they sealed their lips while troubling our hearts and perverting our spirit. I know of no greater crime against the state.
These, Sir, are the facts that explain how this miscarriage of justice came about; The evidence of Dreyfus’s character, his affluence, the lack of motive and his continued affirmation of innocence combine to show that he is the victim of the lurid imagination of Major du Paty de Clam, the religious circles surrounding him, and the “dirty Jew” obsession that is the scourge of our time.
And now we come to the Esterhazy case. Three years have passed, many consciences remain profoundly troubled, become anxious, investigate, and wind up convinced that Dreyfus is innocent.
I shall not chronicle these doubts and the subsequent conclusion reached by Mr. Scheurer-Kestner . But, while he was conducting his own investigation, major events were occurring at headquarters. Colonel Sandherr had died and Lt. Colonel Picquart had succeeded him as Head of the Intelligence Office. It was in this capacity, in the exercise of his office, that Lt. Colonel Picquart came into possession of a telegram addressed to Major Esterhazy by an agent of a foreign power. His express duty was to open an inquiry. What is certain is that he never once acted against the will of his superiors. He thus submitted his suspicions to his hierarchical senior officers, first General Gonse, then General de Boisdeffre, and finally General Billot, who had succeeded General Mercier as Minister of War. That famous much discussed Picquart file was none other than the Billot file, by which I mean the file created by a subordinate for his minister, which can still probably be found at the War Office. The investigation lasted from May to September 1896, and what must be said loud and clear is that General Gonse was at that time convinced that Esterhazy was guilty and that Generals de Boisdeffre and Billot had no doubt that the handwriting on the famous bordereau was Esterhazy’s. This was the definitive conclusion of Lt. Colonel Picquart’s investigation. But feelings were running high, for the conviction of Esterhazy would inevitably lead to a retrial of Dreyfus, an eventuality that the General Staff wanted at all cost to avoid.
This must have led to a brief moment of psychological anguish. Note that, so far, General Billot was in no way compromised. Newly appointed to his position, he had the authority to bring out the truth. He did not dare, no doubt in terror of public opinion, certainly for fear of implicating the whole General Staff, General de Boisdeffre, and General Gonse, not to mention the subordinates. So he hesitated for a brief moment of struggle between his conscience and what he believed to be the interest of the military. Once that moment passed, it was already too late. He had committed himself and he was compromised. From that point on, his responsibility only grew, he took on the crimes of others, he became as guilty as they, if not more so, for he was in a position to bring about justice and did nothing. Can you understand this: for the last year General Billot, Generals Gonse and de Boisdeffre have known that Dreyfus is innocent, and they have kept this terrible knowledge to themselves? And these people sleep at night, and have wives and children they love!
Lt. Colonel Picquart had carried out his duty as an honest man. He kept insisting to his superiors in the name of justice. He even begged them, telling them how impolitic it was to temporize in the face of the terrible storm that was brewing and that would break when the truth became known. This was the language that Mr. Scheurer-Kestner later used with General Billot as well, appealing to his patriotism to take charge of the case so that it would not degenerate into a public disaster. But no! The crime had been committed and the General Staff could no longer admit to it. And so Lt. Colonel Picquart was sent away on official duty. He got sent further and further away until he landed in Tunisia, where they tried eventually to reward his courage with an assignment that would certainly have gotten him massacred, in the very same area where the Marquis de Morès had been killed. He was not in disgrace, indeed: General Gonse even maintained a friendly correspondence with him. It is just that there are certain secrets that are better left alone.
Meanwhile, in Paris, truth was marching on, inevitably, and we know how the long-awaited storm broke. Mr Mathieu Dreyfus denounced Major Esterhazy as the real author of the bordereau just as Mr Scheurer-Kestne was handing over to the Minister of Justice a request for the revision of the trial. This is where Major Esterhazy comes in. Witnesses say that he was at first in a panic, on the verge of suicide or running away. Then all of a sudden, emboldened, he amazed Paris by the violence of his attitude. Rescue had come, in the form of an anonymous letter warning of enemy actions, and a mysterious woman had even gone to the trouble one night of slipping him a paper, stolen from headquarters, that would save him. Here I cannot help seeing the handiwork of Lt Colonel du Paty de Clam, with the trademark fruits of his fertile imagination. His achievement, Dreyfus’s conviction, was in danger, and he surely was determined to protect it. A retrial would mean that this whole extraordinary saga, so extravagant, so tragic, with its denouement on Devil’s Island, would fall apart! This he could not allow to happen. From then on, it became a duel between Lt Colonel Picquart and Lt Colonel du Paty de Clam, one with his face visible, the other masked. The next step would take them both to civil court. It came down, once again, to the General Staff protecting itself, not wanting to admit its crime, an abomination that has been growing by the minute.
In disbelief, people wondered who Commander Esterhazy’s protectors were. First of all, behind the scenes, Lt Colonel du Paty de Clam was the one who had concocted the whole story, who kept it going, tipping his hand with his outrageous methods. Next General de Boisdeffre, then General Gonse, and finally, General Billot himself were all pulled into the effort to get the Major acquitted, for acknowledging Dreyfus’s innocence would make the War Office collapse under the weight of public contempt. And the astounding outcome of this appalling situation was that the one decent man involved, Lt. Colonel Picquart who, alone, had done his duty, was to become the victim, the one who got ridiculed and punished. O justice, what horrible despair grips our hearts? It was even claimed that he himself was the forger, that he had fabricated the letter-telegram in order to destroy Esterhazy . But, good God, why? To what end? Find me a motive. Was he, too, being paid off by the Jews? The best part of it is that Picquart was himself an anti-Semite. Yes! We have before us the ignoble spectacle of men who are sunken in debts and crimes being hailed as innocent, whereas the honor of a man whose life is spotless is being vilely attacked: A society that sinks to that level has fallen into decay.
The Esterhazy affair, thus, Mr. President, comes down to this: a guilty man is being passed off as innocent. For almost two months we have been following this nasty business hour by hour. I am being brief, for this is but the abridged version of a story whose sordid pages will some day be written out in full. And so we have seen General de Pellieux, and then Major Ravary conduct an outrageous inquiry from which criminals emerge glorified and honest people sullied. And then a court martial was convened.
How could anyone expect a court martial to undo what another court martial had done?
I am not even talking about the way the judges were hand-picked. Doesn’t the overriding idea of discipline, which is the lifeblood of these soldiers, itself undercut their capacity for fairness? Discipline means obedience. When the Minister of War, the commander in chief, proclaims, in public and to the acclamation of the nation’s representatives, the absolute authority of a previous verdict, how can you expect a court martial to rule against him? It is a hierarchical impossibility. General Billot directed the judges in his preliminary remarks, and they proceeded to judgment as they would to battle, unquestioningly. The preconceived opinion they brought to the bench was obviously the following: “Dreyfus was found guilty for the crime of treason by a court martial; he therefore is guilty and we, a court martial, cannot declare him innocent. On the other hand, we know that acknowledging Esterhazy’s guilt would be tantamount to proclaiming Dreyfus innocent.” There was no way for them to escape this rationale.
So they rendered an iniquitous verdict that will forever weigh upon our courts martial and will henceforth cast a shadow of suspicion on all their decrees. The first court martial was perhaps unintelligent; the second one is inescapably criminal. Their excuse, I repeat, is that the supreme chief had spoken, declaring the previous judgment incontrovertible, holy and above mere mortals. How, then, could subordinates contradict it? We are told of the honor of the army; we are supposed to love and respect it. Ah, yes, of course, an army that would rise to the first threat, that would defend French soil, that army is the nation itself, and for that army we have nothing but devotion and respect. But this is not about that army, whose dignity we are seeking, in our cry for justice. What is at stake is the sword, the master that will one day, perhaps, be forced upon us. Bow and scrape before that sword, that god? No!
As I have shown, the Dreyfus case was a matter internal to the War Office: an officer of the General Staff, denounced by his co-officers of the General Staff, sentenced under pressure by the Chiefs of Staff. Once again, he could not be found innocent without the entire General Staff being guilty. And so, by all means imaginable, by press campaigns, by official communications, by influence, the War Office covered up for Esterhazy only to condemn Dreyfus once again. Ah, what a good sweeping out the government of this Republic should give to that Jesuit-lair, as General Billot himself calls it. Where is that truly strong, judiciously patriotic administration that will dare to clean house and start afresh? How many people I know who, faced with the possibility of war, tremble in anguish knowing to what hands we are entrusting our nation’s defense! And what a nest of vile intrigues, gossip, and destruction that sacred sanctuary that decides the nation’s fate has become! We are horrified by the terrible light the Dreyfus affair has cast upon it all, this human sacrifice of an unfortunate man, a “dirty Jew.” Ah, what a cesspool of folly and foolishness, what preposterous fantasies, what corrupt police tactics, what inquisitorial, tyrannical practices! What petty whims of a few higher-ups trampling the nation under their boots, ramming back down their throats the people’s cries for truth and justice, with the travesty of state security as a pretext.
Indeed, it is a crime to have relied on the most squalid elements of the press, and to have entrusted Esterhazy’s defense to the vermin of Paris, who are now gloating over the defeat of justice and plain truth. It is a crime that those people who wish to see a generous France take her place as leader of all the free and just nations are being accused of fomenting turmoil in the country, denounced by the very plotters who are conniving so shamelessly to foist this miscarriage of justice on the entire world. It is a crime to lie to the public, to twist public opinion to insane lengths in the service of the vilest death-dealing machinations. It is a crime to poison the minds of the meek and the humble, to stoke the passions of reactionism and intolerance, by appealing to that odious anti-Semitism that, unchecked, will destroy the freedom-loving France of the Rights of Man. It is a crime to exploit patriotism in the service of hatred, and it is, finally, a crime to ensconce the sword as the modern god, whereas all science is toiling to achieve the coming era of truth and justice.
Truth and justice, so ardently longed for! How terrible it is to see them trampled, unrecognized and ignored! I can feel Mr. Scheurer-Kestner’s soul withering and I believe that one day he will even feel sorry for having failed, when questioned by the Senate, to spill all and lay out the whole mess. A man of honor, as he had been all his life, he believed that the truth would speak for itself, especially since it appeared to him plain as day. Why stir up trouble, especially since the sun would soon shine? It is for this serene trust that he is now being so cruelly punished. The same goes for Lt Colonel Picquart, who, guided by the highest sentiment of dignity, did not wish to publish General Gonse’s correspondence. These scruples are all the more honorable since he remained mindful of discipline, while his superiors were dragging his name through the mud and casting suspicion on him, in the most astounding and outrageous ways. There are two victims, two decent men, two simple hearts, who left their fates to God, while the devil was taking charge. Regarding Lt Col Picquart, even this despicable deed was perpetrated: a French tribunal allowed the statement of the case to become a public indictment of one of the witnesses [Picquart], accusing him of all sorts of wrongdoing, It then chose to prosecute the case behind closed doors as soon as that witness was brought in to defend himself. I say this is yet another crime, and this crime will stir consciences everywhere. These military tribunals have, decidedly, a most singular idea of justice.
This is the plain truth, Mr. President, and it is terrifying. It will leave an indelible stain on your presidency. I realise that you have no power over this case, that you are limited by the Constitution and your entourage. You have, nonetheless, your duty as a man, which you will recognise and fulfill. As for myself, I have not despaired in the least, of the triumph of right. I repeat with the most vehement conviction: truth is on the march, and nothing will stop it. Today is only the beginning, for it is only today that the positions have become clear: on one side, those who are guilty, who do not want the light to shine forth, on the other, those who seek justice and who will give their lives to attain it. I said it before and I repeat it now: when truth is buried underground, it grows and it builds up so much force that the day it explodes it blasts everything with it. We shall see whether we have been setting ourselves up for the most resounding of disasters, yet to come.
But this letter is long, Sir, and it is time to conclude it.
I accuse Lt. Col. du Paty de Clam of being the diabolical creator of this miscarriage of justice – unwittingly, I would like to believe – and of defending this sorry deed, over the last three years, by all manner of ludricrous and evil machinations.
I accuse General Mercier of complicity, at least by mental weakness, in one of the greatest inequities of the century.
I accuse General Billot of having held in his hands absolute proof of Dreyfus’s innocence and covering it up, and making himself guilty of this crime against mankind and justice, as a political expedient and a way for the compromised General Staff to save face.
I accuse Gen. de Boisdeffre and Gen. Gonse of complicity in the same crime, the former, no doubt, out of religious prejudice, the latter perhaps out of that esprit de corps that has transformed the War Office into an unassailable holy ark.
I accuse Gen. de Pellieux and Major Ravary of conducting a villainous enquiry, by which I mean a monstrously biased one, as attested by the latter in a report that is an imperishable monument to naïve impudence.
I accuse the three handwriting experts, Messrs. Belhomme, Varinard and Couard, of submitting reports that were deceitful and fraudulent, unless a medical examination finds them to be suffering from a condition that impairs their eyesight and judgement.
I accuse the War Office of using the press, particularly L’Eclair and L’Echo de Paris, to conduct an abominable campaign to mislead the general public and cover up their own wrongdoing.
Finally, I accuse the first court martial of violating the law by convicting the accused on the basis of a document that was kept secret, and I accuse the second court martial of covering up this illegality, on orders, thus committing the judicial crime of knowingly acquitting a guilty man.
In making these accusations I am aware that I am making myself liable to articles 30 and 31 of the law of 29/7/1881 regarding the press, which make libel a punishable offence. I expose myself to that risk voluntarily.
As for the people I am accusing, I do not know them, I have never seen them, and I bear them neither ill will nor hatred. To me they are mere entities, agents of harm to society. The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice.
I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight! I am waiting.” Emile Zola, “J’Accuse:” https://www.marxists.org/archive/zola/1898/jaccuse.htm.
Numero Dos—“LILY, the caretaker’s daughter, was literally run off her feet. Hardly had she brought one gentleman into the little pantry behind the office on the ground floor and helped him off with his overcoat than the wheezy hall-door bell clanged again and she had to scamper along the bare hallway to let in another guest. It was well for her she had not to attend to the ladies also. But Miss Kate and Miss Julia had thought of that and had converted the bathroom upstairs into a ladies’ dressing-room. Miss Kate and Miss Julia were there, gossiping and laughing and fussing, walking after each other to the head of the stairs, peering down over the banisters and calling down to Lily to ask her who had come.
It was always a great affair, the Misses Morkan’s annual dance. Everybody who knew them came to it, members of the family, old friends of the family, the members of Julia’s choir, any of Kate’s pupils that were grown up enough, and even some of Mary Jane’s pupils too. Never once had it fallen flat. For years and years it had gone off in splendid style as long as anyone could remember; ever since Kate and Julia, after the death of their brother Pat, had left the house in Stoney Batter and taken Mary Jane, their only niece, to live with them in the dark gaunt house on Usher’s Island, the upper part of which they had rented from Mr Fulham, the corn-factor on the ground floor. That was a good thirty years ago if it was a day. Mary Jane, who was then a little girl in short clothes, was now the main prop of the household, for she had the organ in Haddington Road. She had been through the Academy and gave a pupils’ concert every year in the upper room of the Antient Concert Rooms. Many of her pupils belonged to the better-class families on the Kingstown and Dalkey line. Old as they were, her aunts also did their share. Julia, though she was quite grey, was still the leading soprano in Adam and Eve’s, and Kate, being too feeble to go about much, gave music lessons to beginners on the old square piano in the back room. Lily, the caretaker’s daughter, did housemaid’s work for them. Though their life was modest they believed in eating well; the best of everything: diamond-bone sirloins, three-shilling tea and the best bottled stout. But Lily seldom made a mistake in the orders so that she got on well with her three mistresses. They were fussy, that was all. But the only thing they would not stand was back answers.
Of course they had good reason to be fussy on such a night. And then it was long after ten o’clock and yet there was no sign of Gabriel and his wife. Besides they were dreadfully afraid that Freddy Malins might turn up screwed. They would not wish for worlds that any of Mary Jane’s pupils should see him under the influence; and when he was like that it was sometimes very hard to manage him. Freddy Malins always came late but they wondered what could be keeping Gabriel: and that was what brought them every two minutes to the banisters to ask Lily had Gabriel or Freddy come.
“O, Mr Conroy,” said Lily to Gabriel when she opened the door for him, “Miss Kate and Miss Julia thought you were never coming. Good-night, Mrs Conroy.”
“I’ll engage they did,” said Gabriel, “but they forget that my wife here takes three mortal hours to dress herself.”
He stood on the mat, scraping the snow from his goloshes, while Lily led his wife to the foot of the stairs and called out:
“Miss Kate, here’s Mrs Conroy.”
Kate and Julia came toddling down the dark stairs at once. Both of them kissed Gabriel’s wife, said she must be perished alive and asked was Gabriel with her.
“Here I am as right as the mail, Aunt Kate! Go on up. I’ll follow,” called out Gabriel from the dark.
He continued scraping his feet vigorously while the three women went upstairs, laughing, to the ladies’ dressing-room. A light fringe of snow lay like a cape on the shoulders of his overcoat and like toecaps on the toes of his goloshes; and, as the buttons of his overcoat slipped with a squeaking noise through the snow-stiffened frieze, a cold, fragrant air from out-of-doors escaped from crevices and folds.
“Is it snowing again, Mr Conroy?” asked Lily.
She had preceded him into the pantry to help him off with his overcoat. Gabriel smiled at the three syllables she had given his surname and glanced at her. She was a slim, growing girl, pale in complexion and with hay-coloured hair. The gas in the pantry made her look still paler. Gabriel had known her when she was a child and used to sit on the lowest step nursing a rag doll.
“Yes, Lily,” he answered, “and I think we’re in for a night of it.”
He looked up at the pantry ceiling, which was shaking with the stamping and shuffling of feet on the floor above, listened for a moment to the piano and then glanced at the girl, who was folding his overcoat carefully at the end of a shelf.
“Tell me, Lily,” he said in a friendly tone, “do you still go to school?”
“O no, sir,” she answered. “I’m done schooling this year and more.”
“O, then,” said Gabriel gaily, “I suppose we’ll be going to your wedding one of these fine days with your young man, eh?”
The girl glanced back at him over her shoulder and said with great bitterness:
“The men that is now is only all palaver and what they can get out of you.”
Gabriel coloured as if he felt he had made a mistake and, without looking at her, kicked off his goloshes and flicked actively with his muffler at his patent-leather shoes.
He was a stout tallish young man. The high colour of his cheeks pushed upwards even to his forehead where it scattered itself in a few formless patches of pale red; and on his hairless face there scintillated restlessly the polished lenses and the bright gilt rims of the glasses which screened his delicate and restless eyes. His glossy black hair was parted in the middle and brushed in a long curve behind his ears where it curled slightly beneath the groove left by his hat.
When he had flicked lustre into his shoes he stood up and pulled his waistcoat down more tightly on his plump body. Then he took a coin rapidly from his pocket.
“O Lily,” he said, thrusting it into her hands, “it’s Christmas-time, isn’t it? Just … here’s a little….”
He walked rapidly towards the door.
“O no, sir!” cried the girl, following him. “Really, sir, I wouldn’t take it.”
“Christmas-time! Christmas-time!” said Gabriel, almost trotting to the stairs and waving his hand to her in deprecation.
The girl, seeing that he had gained the stairs, called out after him:
“Well, thank you, sir.”
He waited outside the drawing-room door until the waltz should finish, listening to the skirts that swept against it and to the shuffling of feet. He was still discomposed by the girl’s bitter and sudden retort. It had cast a gloom over him which he tried to dispel by arranging his cuffs and the bows of his tie. He then took from his waistcoat pocket a little paper and glanced at the headings he had made for his speech. He was undecided about the lines from Robert Browning for he feared they would be above the heads of his hearers. Some quotation that they would recognise from Shakespeare or from the Melodies would be better. The indelicate clacking of the men’s heels and the shuffling of their soles reminded him that their grade of culture differed from his. He would only make himself ridiculous by quoting poetry to them which they could not understand. They would think that he was airing his superior education. He would fail with them just as he had failed with the girl in the pantry. He had taken up a wrong tone. His whole speech was a mistake from first to last, an utter failure.
Just then his aunts and his wife came out of the ladies’ dressing-room. His aunts were two small plainly dressed old women. Aunt Julia was an inch or so the taller. Her hair, drawn low over the tops of her ears, was grey; and grey also, with darker shadows, was her large flaccid face. Though she was stout in build and stood erect her slow eyes and parted lips gave her the appearance of a woman who did not know where she was or where she was going. Aunt Kate was more vivacious. Her face, healthier than her sister’s, was all puckers and creases, like a shrivelled red apple, and her hair, braided in the same old-fashioned way, had not lost its ripe nut colour.
They both kissed Gabriel frankly. He was their favourite nephew, the son of their dead elder sister, Ellen, who had married T. J. Conroy of the Port and Docks.
“Gretta tells me you’re not going to take a cab back to Monkstown tonight, Gabriel,” said Aunt Kate.
“No,” said Gabriel, turning to his wife, “we had quite enough of that last year, hadn’t we? Don’t you remember, Aunt Kate, what a cold Gretta got out of it? Cab windows rattling all the way, and the east wind blowing in after we passed Merrion. Very jolly it was. Gretta caught a dreadful cold.”
Aunt Kate frowned severely and nodded her head at every word.
“Quite right, Gabriel, quite right,” she said. “You can’t be too careful.”
“But as for Gretta there,” said Gabriel, “she’d walk home in the snow if she were let.”
Mrs Conroy laughed.
“Don’t mind him, Aunt Kate,” she said. “He’s really an awful bother, what with green shades for Tom’s eyes at night and making him do the dumb-bells, and forcing Eva to eat the stirabout. The poor child! And she simply hates the sight of it!… O, but you’ll never guess what he makes me wear now!”
She broke out into a peal of laughter and glanced at her husband, whose admiring and happy eyes had been wandering from her dress to her face and hair. The two aunts laughed heartily too, for Gabriel’s solicitude was a standing joke with them.
“Goloshes!” said Mrs Conroy. “That’s the latest. Whenever it’s wet underfoot I must put on my goloshes. Tonight even he wanted me to put them on, but I wouldn’t. The next thing he’ll buy me will be a diving suit.”
Gabriel laughed nervously and patted his tie reassuringly while Aunt Kate nearly doubled herself, so heartily did she enjoy the joke. The smile soon faded from Aunt Julia’s face and her mirthless eyes were directed towards her nephew’s face. After a pause she asked:
“And what are goloshes, Gabriel?”
“Goloshes, Julia!” exclaimed her sister “Goodness me, don’t you know what goloshes are? You wear them over your … over your boots, Gretta, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” said Mrs Conroy. “Guttapercha things. We both have a pair now. Gabriel says everyone wears them on the continent.”
“O, on the continent,” murmured Aunt Julia, nodding her head slowly.
Gabriel knitted his brows and said, as if he were slightly angered:
“It’s nothing very wonderful but Gretta thinks it very funny because she says the word reminds her of Christy Minstrels.”
“But tell me, Gabriel,” said Aunt Kate, with brisk tact. “Of course, you’ve seen about the room. Gretta was saying….”
“O, the room is all right,” replied Gabriel. “I’ve taken one in the Gresham.”
“To be sure,” said Aunt Kate, “by far the best thing to do. And the children, Gretta, you’re not anxious about them?”
“O, for one night,” said Mrs Conroy. “Besides, Bessie will look after them.”
“To be sure,” said Aunt Kate again. “What a comfort it is to have a girl like that, one you can depend on! There’s that Lily, I’m sure I don’t know what has come over her lately. She’s not the girl she was at all.”
Gabriel was about to ask his aunt some questions on this point but she broke off suddenly to gaze after her sister who had wandered down the stairs and was craning her neck over the banisters.
“Now, I ask you,” she said almost testily, “where is Julia going? Julia! Julia! Where are you going?”
Julia, who had gone half way down one flight, came back and announced blandly:
At the same moment a clapping of hands and a final flourish of the pianist told that the waltz had ended. The drawing-room door was opened from within and some couples came out. Aunt Kate drew Gabriel aside hurriedly and whispered into his ear:
“Slip down, Gabriel, like a good fellow and see if he’s all right, and don’t let him up if he’s screwed. I’m sure he’s screwed. I’m sure he is.”
Gabriel went to the stairs and listened over the banisters. He could hear two persons talking in the pantry. Then he recognised Freddy Malins’ laugh. He went down the stairs noisily.
“It’s such a relief,” said Aunt Kate to Mrs Conroy, “that Gabriel is here. I always feel easier in my mind when he’s here…. Julia, there’s Miss Daly and Miss Power will take some refreshment. Thanks for your beautiful waltz, Miss Daly. It made lovely time.”
A tall wizen-faced man, with a stiff grizzled moustache and swarthy skin, who was passing out with his partner said:
“And may we have some refreshment, too, Miss Morkan?”
“Julia,” said Aunt Kate summarily, “and here’s Mr Browne and Miss Furlong. Take them in, Julia, with Miss Daly and Miss Power.”
“I’m the man for the ladies,” said Mr Browne, pursing his lips until his moustache bristled and smiling in all his wrinkles. “You know, Miss Morkan, the reason they are so fond of me is——”
He did not finish his sentence, but, seeing that Aunt Kate was out of earshot, at once led the three young ladies into the back room. The middle of the room was occupied by two square tables placed end to end, and on these Aunt Julia and the caretaker were straightening and smoothing a large cloth. On the sideboard were arrayed dishes and plates, and glasses and bundles of knives and forks and spoons. The top of the closed square piano served also as a sideboard for viands and sweets. At a smaller sideboard in one corner two young men were standing, drinking hop-bitters.
Mr Browne led his charges thither and invited them all, in jest, to some ladies’ punch, hot, strong and sweet. As they said they never took anything strong he opened three bottles of lemonade for them. Then he asked one of the young men to move aside, and, taking hold of the decanter, filled out for himself a goodly measure of whisky. The young men eyed him respectfully while he took a trial sip.
“God help me,” he said, smiling, “it’s the doctor’s orders.”
His wizened face broke into a broader smile, and the three young ladies laughed in musical echo to his pleasantry, swaying their bodies to and fro, with nervous jerks of their shoulders. The boldest said:
“O, now, Mr Browne, I’m sure the doctor never ordered anything of the kind.”
Mr Browne took another sip of his whisky and said, with sidling mimicry:
“Well, you see, I’m like the famous Mrs Cassidy, who is reported to have said: ‘Now, Mary Grimes, if I don’t take it, make me take it, for I feel I want it.’”
His hot face had leaned forward a little too confidentially and he had assumed a very low Dublin accent so that the young ladies, with one instinct, received his speech in silence. Miss Furlong, who was one of Mary Jane’s pupils, asked Miss Daly what was the name of the pretty waltz she had played; and Mr Browne, seeing that he was ignored, turned promptly to the two young men who were more appreciative.
A red-faced young woman, dressed in pansy, came into the room, excitedly clapping her hands and crying:
Close on her heels came Aunt Kate, crying:
“Two gentlemen and three ladies, Mary Jane!”
“O, here’s Mr Bergin and Mr Kerrigan,” said Mary Jane. “Mr Kerrigan, will you take Miss Power? Miss Furlong, may I get you a partner, Mr Bergin. O, that’ll just do now.”
“Three ladies, Mary Jane,” said Aunt Kate.
The two young gentlemen asked the ladies if they might have the pleasure, and Mary Jane turned to Miss Daly.
“O, Miss Daly, you’re really awfully good, after playing for the last two dances, but really we’re so short of ladies tonight.”
“I don’t mind in the least, Miss Morkan.”
“But I’ve a nice partner for you, Mr Bartell D’Arcy, the tenor. I’ll get him to sing later on. All Dublin is raving about him.”
“Lovely voice, lovely voice!” said Aunt Kate.
As the piano had twice begun the prelude to the first figure Mary Jane led her recruits quickly from the room. They had hardly gone when Aunt Julia wandered slowly into the room, looking behind her at something.
“What is the matter, Julia?” asked Aunt Kate anxiously. “Who is it?”
Julia, who was carrying in a column of table-napkins, turned to her sister and said, simply, as if the question had surprised her:
“It’s only Freddy, Kate, and Gabriel with him.”
In fact right behind her Gabriel could be seen piloting Freddy Malins across the landing. The latter, a young man of about forty, was of Gabriel’s size and build, with very round shoulders. His face was fleshy and pallid, touched with colour only at the thick hanging lobes of his ears and at the wide wings of his nose. He had coarse features, a blunt nose, a convex and receding brow, tumid and protruded lips. His heavy-lidded eyes and the disorder of his scanty hair made him look sleepy. He was laughing heartily in a high key at a story which he had been telling Gabriel on the stairs and at the same time rubbing the knuckles of his left fist backwards and forwards into his left eye.
“Good-evening, Freddy,” said Aunt Julia.
Freddy Malins bade the Misses Morkan good-evening in what seemed an offhand fashion by reason of the habitual catch in his voice and then, seeing that Mr Browne was grinning at him from the sideboard, crossed the room on rather shaky legs and began to repeat in an undertone the story he had just told to Gabriel.
“He’s not so bad, is he?” said Aunt Kate to Gabriel.
Gabriel’s brows were dark but he raised them quickly and answered:
“O, no, hardly noticeable.”
“Now, isn’t he a terrible fellow!” she said. “And his poor mother made him take the pledge on New Year’s Eve. But come on, Gabriel, into the drawing-room.”
Before leaving the room with Gabriel she signalled to Mr Browne by frowning and shaking her forefinger in warning to and fro. Mr Browne nodded in answer and, when she had gone, said to Freddy Malins:
“Now, then, Teddy, I’m going to fill you out a good glass of lemonade just to buck you up.”
Freddy Malins, who was nearing the climax of his story, waved the offer aside impatiently but Mr Browne, having first called Freddy Malins’ attention to a disarray in his dress, filled out and handed him a full glass of lemonade. Freddy Malins’ left hand accepted the glass mechanically, his right hand being engaged in the mechanical readjustment of his dress. Mr Browne, whose face was once more wrinkling with mirth, poured out for himself a glass of whisky while Freddy Malins exploded, before he had well reached the climax of his story, in a kink of high-pitched bronchitic laughter and, setting down his untasted and overflowing glass, began to rub the knuckles of his left fist backwards and forwards into his left eye, repeating words of his last phrase as well as his fit of laughter would allow him.
Gabriel could not listen while Mary Jane was playing her Academy piece, full of runs and difficult passages, to the hushed drawing-room. He liked music but the piece she was playing had no melody for him and he doubted whether it had any melody for the other listeners, though they had begged Mary Jane to play something. Four young men, who had come from the refreshment-room to stand in the doorway at the sound of the piano, had gone away quietly in couples after a few minutes. The only persons who seemed to follow the music were Mary Jane herself, her hands racing along the key-board or lifted from it at the pauses like those of a priestess in momentary imprecation, and Aunt Kate standing at her elbow to turn the page.
Gabriel’s eyes, irritated by the floor, which glittered with beeswax under the heavy chandelier, wandered to the wall above the piano. A picture of the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet hung there and beside it was a picture of the two murdered princes in the Tower which Aunt Julia had worked in red, blue and brown wools when she was a girl. Probably in the school they had gone to as girls that kind of work had been taught for one year. His mother had worked for him as a birthday present a waistcoat of purple tabinet, with little foxes’ heads upon it, lined with brown satin and having round mulberry buttons. It was strange that his mother had had no musical talent though Aunt Kate used to call her the brains carrier of the Morkan family. Both she and Julia had always seemed a little proud of their serious and matronly sister. Her photograph stood before the pierglass. She held an open book on her knees and was pointing out something in it to Constantine who, dressed in a man-o’-war suit, lay at her feet. It was she who had chosen the name of her sons for she was very sensible of the dignity of family life. Thanks to her, Constantine was now senior curate in Balbrigan and, thanks to her, Gabriel himself had taken his degree in the Royal University. A shadow passed over his face as he remembered her sullen opposition to his marriage. Some slighting phrases she had used still rankled in his memory; she had once spoken of Gretta as being country cute and that was not true of Gretta at all. It was Gretta who had nursed her during all her last long illness in their house at Monkstown.
He knew that Mary Jane must be near the end of her piece for she was playing again the opening melody with runs of scales after every bar and while he waited for the end the resentment died down in his heart. The piece ended with a trill of octaves in the treble and a final deep octave in the bass. Great applause greeted Mary Jane as, blushing and rolling up her music nervously, she escaped from the room. The most vigorous clapping came from the four young men in the doorway who had gone away to the refreshment-room at the beginning of the piece but had come back when the piano had stopped.
Lancers were arranged. Gabriel found himself partnered with Miss Ivors. She was a frank-mannered talkative young lady, with a freckled face and prominent brown eyes. She did not wear a low-cut bodice and the large brooch which was fixed in the front of her collar bore on it an Irish device and motto.
When they had taken their places she said abruptly:
“I have a crow to pluck with you.”
“With me?” said Gabriel.
She nodded her head gravely.
“What is it?” asked Gabriel, smiling at her solemn manner.
“Who is G. C.?” answered Miss Ivors, turning her eyes upon him.
Gabriel coloured and was about to knit his brows, as if he did not understand, when she said bluntly:
“O, innocent Amy! I have found out that you write for The Daily Express. Now, aren’t you ashamed of yourself?”
“Why should I be ashamed of myself?” asked Gabriel, blinking his eyes and trying to smile.
“Well, I’m ashamed of you,” said Miss Ivors frankly. “To say you’d write for a paper like that. I didn’t think you were a West Briton.”
A look of perplexity appeared on Gabriel’s face. It was true that he wrote a literary column every Wednesday in The Daily Express, for which he was paid fifteen shillings. But that did not make him a West Briton surely. The books he received for review were almost more welcome than the paltry cheque. He loved to feel the covers and turn over the pages of newly printed books. Nearly every day when his teaching in the college was ended he used to wander down the quays to the second-hand booksellers, to Hickey’s on Bachelor’s Walk, to Webb’s or Massey’s on Aston’s Quay, or to O’Clohissey’s in the by-street. He did not know how to meet her charge. He wanted to say that literature was above politics. But they were friends of many years’ standing and their careers had been parallel, first at the university and then as teachers: he could not risk a grandiose phrase with her. He continued blinking his eyes and trying to smile and murmured lamely that he saw nothing political in writing reviews of books.
When their turn to cross had come he was still perplexed and inattentive. Miss Ivors promptly took his hand in a warm grasp and said in a soft friendly tone:
“Of course, I was only joking. Come, we cross now.”
When they were together again she spoke of the University question and Gabriel felt more at ease. A friend of hers had shown her his review of Browning’s poems. That was how she had found out the secret: but she liked the review immensely. Then she said suddenly:
“O, Mr Conroy, will you come for an excursion to the Aran Isles this summer? We’re going to stay there a whole month. It will be splendid out in the Atlantic. You ought to come. Mr Clancy is coming, and Mr Kilkelly and Kathleen Kearney. It would be splendid for Gretta too if she’d come. She’s from Connacht, isn’t she?”
“Her people are,” said Gabriel shortly.
“But you will come, won’t you?” said Miss Ivors, laying her warm hand eagerly on his arm.
“The fact is,” said Gabriel, “I have just arranged to go——”
“Go where?” asked Miss Ivors.
“Well, you know, every year I go for a cycling tour with some fellows and so——”
“But where?” asked Miss Ivors.
“Well, we usually go to France or Belgium or perhaps Germany,” said Gabriel awkwardly.
“And why do you go to France and Belgium,” said Miss Ivors, “instead of visiting your own land?”
“Well,” said Gabriel, “it’s partly to keep in touch with the languages and partly for a change.”
“And haven’t you your own language to keep in touch with—Irish?” asked Miss Ivors.
“Well,” said Gabriel, “if it comes to that, you know, Irish is not my language.”
Their neighbours had turned to listen to the cross-examination. Gabriel glanced right and left nervously and tried to keep his good humour under the ordeal which was making a blush invade his forehead.
“And haven’t you your own land to visit,” continued Miss Ivors, “that you know nothing of, your own people, and your own country?”
“O, to tell you the truth,” retorted Gabriel suddenly, “I’m sick of my own country, sick of it!”
“Why?” asked Miss Ivors.
Gabriel did not answer for his retort had heated him.
“Why?” repeated Miss Ivors.
They had to go visiting together and, as he had not answered her, Miss Ivors said warmly:
“Of course, you’ve no answer.”
Gabriel tried to cover his agitation by taking part in the dance with great energy. He avoided her eyes for he had seen a sour expression on her face. But when they met in the long chain he was surprised to feel his hand firmly pressed. She looked at him from under her brows for a moment quizzically until he smiled. Then, just as the chain was about to start again, she stood on tiptoe and whispered into his ear:
When the lancers were over Gabriel went away to a remote corner of the room where Freddy Malins’ mother was sitting. She was a stout feeble old woman with white hair. Her voice had a catch in it like her son’s and she stuttered slightly. She had been told that Freddy had come and that he was nearly all right. Gabriel asked her whether she had had a good crossing. She lived with her married daughter in Glasgow and came to Dublin on a visit once a year. She answered placidly that she had had a beautiful crossing and that the captain had been most attentive to her. She spoke also of the beautiful house her daughter kept in Glasgow, and of all the friends they had there. While her tongue rambled on Gabriel tried to banish from his mind all memory of the unpleasant incident with Miss Ivors. Of course the girl or woman, or whatever she was, was an enthusiast but there was a time for all things. Perhaps he ought not to have answered her like that. But she had no right to call him a West Briton before people, even in joke. She had tried to make him ridiculous before people, heckling him and staring at him with her rabbit’s eyes.
He saw his wife making her way towards him through the waltzing couples. When she reached him she said into his ear:
“Gabriel, Aunt Kate wants to know won’t you carve the goose as usual. Miss Daly will carve the ham and I’ll do the pudding.”
“All right,” said Gabriel.
“She’s sending in the younger ones first as soon as this waltz is over so that we’ll have the table to ourselves.”
“Were you dancing?” asked Gabriel.
“Of course I was. Didn’t you see me? What row had you with Molly Ivors?”
“No row. Why? Did she say so?”
“Something like that. I’m trying to get that Mr D’Arcy to sing. He’s full of conceit, I think.”
“There was no row,” said Gabriel moodily, “only she wanted me to go for a trip to the west of Ireland and I said I wouldn’t.”
His wife clasped her hands excitedly and gave a little jump.
“O, do go, Gabriel,” she cried. “I’d love to see Galway again.”
“You can go if you like,” said Gabriel coldly.
She looked at him for a moment, then turned to Mrs Malins and said:
“There’s a nice husband for you, Mrs Malins.”
While she was threading her way back across the room Mrs Malins, without adverting to the interruption, went on to tell Gabriel what beautiful places there were in Scotland and beautiful scenery. Her son-in-law brought them every year to the lakes and they used to go fishing. Her son-in-law was a splendid fisher. One day he caught a beautiful big fish and the man in the hotel cooked it for their dinner.
Gabriel hardly heard what she said. Now that supper was coming near he began to think again about his speech and about the quotation. When he saw Freddy Malins coming across the room to visit his mother Gabriel left the chair free for him and retired into the embrasure of the window. The room had already cleared and from the back room came the clatter of plates and knives. Those who still remained in the drawing-room seemed tired of dancing and were conversing quietly in little groups. Gabriel’s warm trembling fingers tapped the cold pane of the window. How cool it must be outside! How pleasant it would be to walk out alone, first along by the river and then through the park! The snow would be lying on the branches of the trees and forming a bright cap on the top of the Wellington Monument. How much more pleasant it would be there than at the supper-table!
He ran over the headings of his speech: Irish hospitality, sad memories, the Three Graces, Paris, the quotation from Browning. He repeated to himself a phrase he had written in his review: “One feels that one is listening to a thought-tormented music.” Miss Ivors had praised the review. Was she sincere? Had she really any life of her own behind all her propagandism? There had never been any ill-feeling between them until that night. It unnerved him to think that she would be at the supper-table, looking up at him while he spoke with her critical quizzing eyes. Perhaps she would not be sorry to see him fail in his speech. An idea came into his mind and gave him courage. He would say, alluding to Aunt Kate and Aunt Julia: “Ladies and Gentlemen, the generation which is now on the wane among us may have had its faults but for my part I think it had certain qualities of hospitality, of humour, of humanity, which the new and very serious and hypereducated generation that is growing up around us seems to me to lack.” Very good: that was one for Miss Ivors. What did he care that his aunts were only two ignorant old women?
A murmur in the room attracted his attention. Mr Browne was advancing from the door, gallantly escorting Aunt Julia, who leaned upon his arm, smiling and hanging her head. An irregular musketry of applause escorted her also as far as the piano and then, as Mary Jane seated herself on the stool, and Aunt Julia, no longer smiling, half turned so as to pitch her voice fairly into the room, gradually ceased. Gabriel recognised the prelude. It was that of an old song of Aunt Julia’s—Arrayed for the Bridal. Her voice, strong and clear in tone, attacked with great spirit the runs which embellish the air and though she sang very rapidly she did not miss even the smallest of the grace notes. To follow the voice, without looking at the singer’s face, was to feel and share the excitement of swift and secure flight. Gabriel applauded loudly with all the others at the close of the song and loud applause was borne in from the invisible supper-table. It sounded so genuine that a little colour struggled into Aunt Julia’s face as she bent to replace in the music-stand the old leather-bound songbook that had her initials on the cover. Freddy Malins, who had listened with his head perched sideways to hear her better, was still applauding when everyone else had ceased and talking animatedly to his mother who nodded her head gravely and slowly in acquiescence. At last, when he could clap no more, he stood up suddenly and hurried across the room to Aunt Julia whose hand he seized and held in both his hands, shaking it when words failed him or the catch in his voice proved too much for him.
“I was just telling my mother,” he said, “I never heard you sing so well, never. No, I never heard your voice so good as it is tonight. Now! Would you believe that now? That’s the truth. Upon my word and honour that’s the truth. I never heard your voice sound so fresh and so … so clear and fresh, never.”
Aunt Julia smiled broadly and murmured something about compliments as she released her hand from his grasp. Mr Browne extended his open hand towards her and said to those who were near him in the manner of a showman introducing a prodigy to an audience:
“Miss Julia Morkan, my latest discovery!”
He was laughing very heartily at this himself when Freddy Malins turned to him and said:
“Well, Browne, if you’re serious you might make a worse discovery. All I can say is I never heard her sing half so well as long as I am coming here. And that’s the honest truth.”
“Neither did I,” said Mr Browne. “I think her voice has greatly improved.”
Aunt Julia shrugged her shoulders and said with meek pride:
“Thirty years ago I hadn’t a bad voice as voices go.”
“I often told Julia,” said Aunt Kate emphatically, “that she was simply thrown away in that choir. But she never would be said by me.”
She turned as if to appeal to the good sense of the others against a refractory child while Aunt Julia gazed in front of her, a vague smile of reminiscence playing on her face.
“No,” continued Aunt Kate, “she wouldn’t be said or led by anyone, slaving there in that choir night and day, night and day. Six o’clock on Christmas morning! And all for what?”
“Well, isn’t it for the honour of God, Aunt Kate?” asked Mary Jane, twisting round on the piano-stool and smiling.
Aunt Kate turned fiercely on her niece and said:
“I know all about the honour of God, Mary Jane, but I think it’s not at all honourable for the pope to turn out the women out of the choirs that have slaved there all their lives and put little whipper-snappers of boys over their heads. I suppose it is for the good of the Church if the pope does it. But it’s not just, Mary Jane, and it’s not right.”
She had worked herself into a passion and would have continued in defence of her sister for it was a sore subject with her but Mary Jane, seeing that all the dancers had come back, intervened pacifically:
“Now, Aunt Kate, you’re giving scandal to Mr Browne who is of the other persuasion.”
Aunt Kate turned to Mr Browne, who was grinning at this allusion to his religion, and said hastily:
“O, I don’t question the pope’s being right. I’m only a stupid old woman and I wouldn’t presume to do such a thing. But there’s such a thing as common everyday politeness and gratitude. And if I were in Julia’s place I’d tell that Father Healey straight up to his face….”
“And besides, Aunt Kate,” said Mary Jane, “we really are all hungry and when we are hungry we are all very quarrelsome.”
“And when we are thirsty we are also quarrelsome,” added Mr Browne.
“So that we had better go to supper,” said Mary Jane, “and finish the discussion afterwards.”
On the landing outside the drawing-room Gabriel found his wife and Mary Jane trying to persuade Miss Ivors to stay for supper. But Miss Ivors, who had put on her hat and was buttoning her cloak, would not stay. She did not feel in the least hungry and she had already overstayed her time.
“But only for ten minutes, Molly,” said Mrs Conroy. “That won’t delay you.”
“To take a pick itself,” said Mary Jane, “after all your dancing.”
“I really couldn’t,” said Miss Ivors.
“I am afraid you didn’t enjoy yourself at all,” said Mary Jane hopelessly.
“Ever so much, I assure you,” said Miss Ivors, “but you really must let me run off now.”
“But how can you get home?” asked Mrs Conroy.
“O, it’s only two steps up the quay.”
Gabriel hesitated a moment and said:
“If you will allow me, Miss Ivors, I’ll see you home if you are really obliged to go.”
But Miss Ivors broke away from them.
“I won’t hear of it,” she cried. “For goodness’ sake go in to your suppers and don’t mind me. I’m quite well able to take care of myself.”
“Well, you’re the comical girl, Molly,” said Mrs Conroy frankly.
“Beannacht libh,” cried Miss Ivors, with a laugh, as she ran down the staircase.
Mary Jane gazed after her, a moody puzzled expression on her face, while Mrs Conroy leaned over the banisters to listen for the hall-door. Gabriel asked himself was he the cause of her abrupt departure. But she did not seem to be in ill humour: she had gone away laughing. He stared blankly down the staircase.
At the moment Aunt Kate came toddling out of the supper-room, almost wringing her hands in despair.
“Where is Gabriel?” she cried. “Where on earth is Gabriel? There’s everyone waiting in there, stage to let, and nobody to carve the goose!”
“Here I am, Aunt Kate!” cried Gabriel, with sudden animation, “ready to carve a flock of geese, if necessary.”
A fat brown goose lay at one end of the table and at the other end, on a bed of creased paper strewn with sprigs of parsley, lay a great ham, stripped of its outer skin and peppered over with crust crumbs, a neat paper frill round its shin and beside this was a round of spiced beef. Between these rival ends ran parallel lines of side-dishes: two little minsters of jelly, red and yellow; a shallow dish full of blocks of blancmange and red jam, a large green leaf-shaped dish with a stalk-shaped handle, on which lay bunches of purple raisins and peeled almonds, a companion dish on which lay a solid rectangle of Smyrna figs, a dish of custard topped with grated nutmeg, a small bowl full of chocolates and sweets wrapped in gold and silver papers and a glass vase in which stood some tall celery stalks. In the centre of the table there stood, as sentries to a fruit-stand which upheld a pyramid of oranges and American apples, two squat old-fashioned decanters of cut glass, one containing port and the other dark sherry. On the closed square piano a pudding in a huge yellow dish lay in waiting and behind it were three squads of bottles of stout and ale and minerals, drawn up according to the colours of their uniforms, the first two black, with brown and red labels, the third and smallest squad white, with transverse green sashes.
Gabriel took his seat boldly at the head of the table and, having looked to the edge of the carver, plunged his fork firmly into the goose. He felt quite at ease now for he was an expert carver and liked nothing better than to find himself at the head of a well-laden table.
“Miss Furlong, what shall I send you?” he asked. “A wing or a slice of the breast?”
“Just a small slice of the breast.”
“Miss Higgins, what for you?”
“O, anything at all, Mr Conroy.”
While Gabriel and Miss Daly exchanged plates of goose and plates of ham and spiced beef Lily went from guest to guest with a dish of hot floury potatoes wrapped in a white napkin. This was Mary Jane’s idea and she had also suggested apple sauce for the goose but Aunt Kate had said that plain roast goose without any apple sauce had always been good enough for her and she hoped she might never eat worse. Mary Jane waited on her pupils and saw that they got the best slices and Aunt Kate and Aunt Julia opened and carried across from the piano bottles of stout and ale for the gentlemen and bottles of minerals for the ladies. There was a great deal of confusion and laughter and noise, the noise of orders and counter-orders, of knives and forks, of corks and glass-stoppers. Gabriel began to carve second helpings as soon as he had finished the first round without serving himself. Everyone protested loudly so that he compromised by taking a long draught of stout for he had found the carving hot work. Mary Jane settled down quietly to her supper but Aunt Kate and Aunt Julia were still toddling round the table, walking on each other’s heels, getting in each other’s way and giving each other unheeded orders. Mr Browne begged of them to sit down and eat their suppers and so did Gabriel but they said they were time enough so that, at last, Freddy Malins stood up and, capturing Aunt Kate, plumped her down on her chair amid general laughter.
When everyone had been well served Gabriel said, smiling:
“Now, if anyone wants a little more of what vulgar people call stuffing let him or her speak.”
A chorus of voices invited him to begin his own supper and Lily came forward with three potatoes which she had reserved for him.
“Very well,” said Gabriel amiably, as he took another preparatory draught, “kindly forget my existence, ladies and gentlemen, for a few minutes.”
He set to his supper and took no part in the conversation with which the table covered Lily’s removal of the plates. The subject of talk was the opera company which was then at the Theatre Royal. Mr Bartell D’Arcy, the tenor, a dark-complexioned young man with a smart moustache, praised very highly the leading contralto of the company but Miss Furlong thought she had a rather vulgar style of production. Freddy Malins said there was a negro chieftain singing in the second part of the Gaiety pantomime who had one of the finest tenor voices he had ever heard.
“Have you heard him?” he asked Mr Bartell D’Arcy across the table.
“No,” answered Mr Bartell D’Arcy carelessly.
“Because,” Freddy Malins explained, “now I’d be curious to hear your opinion of him. I think he has a grand voice.”
“It takes Teddy to find out the really good things,” said Mr Browne familiarly to the table.
“And why couldn’t he have a voice too?” asked Freddy Malins sharply. “Is it because he’s only a black?”
Nobody answered this question and Mary Jane led the table back to the legitimate opera. One of her pupils had given her a pass for Mignon. Of course it was very fine, she said, but it made her think of poor Georgina Burns. Mr Browne could go back farther still, to the old Italian companies that used to come to Dublin—Tietjens, Ilma de Murzka, Campanini, the great Trebelli, Giuglini, Ravelli, Aramburo. Those were the days, he said, when there was something like singing to be heard in Dublin. He told too of how the top gallery of the old Royal used to be packed night after night, of how one night an Italian tenor had sung five encores to Let me like a Soldier fall, introducing a high C every time, and of how the gallery boys would sometimes in their enthusiasm unyoke the horses from the carriage of some great prima donna and pull her themselves through the streets to her hotel. Why did they never play the grand old operas now, he asked, Dinorah, Lucrezia Borgia? Because they could not get the voices to sing them: that was why.
“Oh, well,” said Mr Bartell D’Arcy, “I presume there are as good singers today as there were then.”
“Where are they?” asked Mr Browne defiantly.
“In London, Paris, Milan,” said Mr Bartell D’Arcy warmly. “I suppose Caruso, for example, is quite as good, if not better than any of the men you have mentioned.”
“Maybe so,” said Mr Browne. “But I may tell you I doubt it strongly.”
“O, I’d give anything to hear Caruso sing,” said Mary Jane.
“For me,” said Aunt Kate, who had been picking a bone, “there was only one tenor. To please me, I mean. But I suppose none of you ever heard of him.”
“Who was he, Miss Morkan?” asked Mr Bartell D’Arcy politely.
“His name,” said Aunt Kate, “was Parkinson. I heard him when he was in his prime and I think he had then the purest tenor voice that was ever put into a man’s throat.”
“Strange,” said Mr Bartell D’Arcy. “I never even heard of him.”
“Yes, yes, Miss Morkan is right,” said Mr Browne. “I remember hearing of old Parkinson but he’s too far back for me.”
“A beautiful pure sweet mellow English tenor,” said Aunt Kate with enthusiasm.
Gabriel having finished, the huge pudding was transferred to the table. The clatter of forks and spoons began again. Gabriel’s wife served out spoonfuls of the pudding and passed the plates down the table. Midway down they were held up by Mary Jane, who replenished them with raspberry or orange jelly or with blancmange and jam. The pudding was of Aunt Julia’s making and she received praises for it from all quarters. She herself said that it was not quite brown enough.
“Well, I hope, Miss Morkan,” said Mr Browne, “that I’m brown enough for you because, you know, I’m all brown.”
All the gentlemen, except Gabriel, ate some of the pudding out of compliment to Aunt Julia. As Gabriel never ate sweets the celery had been left for him. Freddy Malins also took a stalk of celery and ate it with his pudding. He had been told that celery was a capital thing for the blood and he was just then under doctor’s care. Mrs Malins, who had been silent all through the supper, said that her son was going down to Mount Melleray in a week or so. The table then spoke of Mount Melleray, how bracing the air was down there, how hospitable the monks were and how they never asked for a penny-piece from their guests.
“And do you mean to say,” asked Mr Browne incredulously, “that a chap can go down there and put up there as if it were a hotel and live on the fat of the land and then come away without paying anything?”
“O, most people give some donation to the monastery when they leave.” said Mary Jane.
“I wish we had an institution like that in our Church,” said Mr Browne candidly.
He was astonished to hear that the monks never spoke, got up at two in the morning and slept in their coffins. He asked what they did it for.
“That’s the rule of the order,” said Aunt Kate firmly.
“Yes, but why?” asked Mr Browne.
Aunt Kate repeated that it was the rule, that was all. Mr Browne still seemed not to understand. Freddy Malins explained to him, as best he could, that the monks were trying to make up for the sins committed by all the sinners in the outside world. The explanation was not very clear for Mr Browne grinned and said:
“I like that idea very much but wouldn’t a comfortable spring bed do them as well as a coffin?”
“The coffin,” said Mary Jane, “is to remind them of their last end.”
As the subject had grown lugubrious it was buried in a silence of the table during which Mrs Malins could be heard saying to her neighbour in an indistinct undertone:
“They are very good men, the monks, very pious men.”
The raisins and almonds and figs and apples and oranges and chocolates and sweets were now passed about the table and Aunt Julia invited all the guests to have either port or sherry. At first Mr Bartell D’Arcy refused to take either but one of his neighbours nudged him and whispered something to him upon which he allowed his glass to be filled. Gradually as the last glasses were being filled the conversation ceased. A pause followed, broken only by the noise of the wine and by unsettlings of chairs. The Misses Morkan, all three, looked down at the tablecloth. Someone coughed once or twice and then a few gentlemen patted the table gently as a signal for silence. The silence came and Gabriel pushed back his chair.
The patting at once grew louder in encouragement and then ceased altogether. Gabriel leaned his ten trembling fingers on the tablecloth and smiled nervously at the company. Meeting a row of upturned faces he raised his eyes to the chandelier. The piano was playing a waltz tune and he could hear the skirts sweeping against the drawing-room door. People, perhaps, were standing in the snow on the quay outside, gazing up at the lighted windows and listening to the waltz music. The air was pure there. In the distance lay the park where the trees were weighted with snow. The Wellington Monument wore a gleaming cap of snow that flashed westward over the white field of Fifteen Acres.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,
“It has fallen to my lot this evening, as in years past, to perform a very pleasing task but a task for which I am afraid my poor powers as a speaker are all too inadequate.”
“No, no!” said Mr Browne.
“But, however that may be, I can only ask you tonight to take the will for the deed and to lend me your attention for a few moments while I endeavour to express to you in words what my feelings are on this occasion.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, it is not the first time that we have gathered together under this hospitable roof, around this hospitable board. It is not the first time that we have been the recipients—or perhaps, I had better say, the victims—of the hospitality of certain good ladies.”
He made a circle in the air with his arm and paused. Everyone laughed or smiled at Aunt Kate and Aunt Julia and Mary Jane who all turned crimson with pleasure. Gabriel went on more boldly:
“I feel more strongly with every recurring year that our country has no tradition which does it so much honour and which it should guard so jealously as that of its hospitality. It is a tradition that is unique as far as my experience goes (and I have visited not a few places abroad) among the modern nations. Some would say, perhaps, that with us it is rather a failing than anything to be boasted of. But granted even that, it is, to my mind, a princely failing, and one that I trust will long be cultivated among us. Of one thing, at least, I am sure. As long as this one roof shelters the good ladies aforesaid—and I wish from my heart it may do so for many and many a long year to come—the tradition of genuine warm-hearted courteous Irish hospitality, which our forefathers have handed down to us and which we in turn must hand down to our descendants, is still alive among us.”
A hearty murmur of assent ran round the table. It shot through Gabriel’s mind that Miss Ivors was not there and that she had gone away discourteously: and he said with confidence in himself:
“Ladies and Gentlemen,
“A new generation is growing up in our midst, a generation actuated by new ideas and new principles. It is serious and enthusiastic for these new ideas and its enthusiasm, even when it is misdirected, is, I believe, in the main sincere. But we are living in a sceptical and, if I may use the phrase, a thought-tormented age: and sometimes I fear that this new generation, educated or hypereducated as it is, will lack those qualities of humanity, of hospitality, of kindly humour which belonged to an older day. Listening tonight to the names of all those great singers of the past it seemed to me, I must confess, that we were living in a less spacious age. Those days might, without exaggeration, be called spacious days: and if they are gone beyond recall let us hope, at least, that in gatherings such as this we shall still speak of them with pride and affection, still cherish in our hearts the memory of those dead and gone great ones whose fame the world will not willingly let die.”
“Hear, hear!” said Mr Browne loudly.
“But yet,” continued Gabriel, his voice falling into a softer inflection, “there are always in gatherings such as this sadder thoughts that will recur to our minds: thoughts of the past, of youth, of changes, of absent faces that we miss here tonight. Our path through life is strewn with many such sad memories: and were we to brood upon them always we could not find the heart to go on bravely with our work among the living. We have all of us living duties and living affections which claim, and rightly claim, our strenuous endeavours.
“Therefore, I will not linger on the past. I will not let any gloomy moralising intrude upon us here tonight. Here we are gathered together for a brief moment from the bustle and rush of our everyday routine. We are met here as friends, in the spirit of good-fellowship, as colleagues, also to a certain extent, in the true spirit of camaraderie, and as the guests of—what shall I call them?—the Three Graces of the Dublin musical world.”
The table burst into applause and laughter at this allusion. Aunt Julia vainly asked each of her neighbours in turn to tell her what Gabriel had said.
“He says we are the Three Graces, Aunt Julia,” said Mary Jane.
Aunt Julia did not understand but she looked up, smiling, at Gabriel, who continued in the same vein:
“Ladies and Gentlemen,
“I will not attempt to play tonight the part that Paris played on another occasion. I will not attempt to choose between them. The task would be an invidious one and one beyond my poor powers. For when I view them in turn, whether it be our chief hostess herself, whose good heart, whose too good heart, has become a byword with all who know her, or her sister, who seems to be gifted with perennial youth and whose singing must have been a surprise and a revelation to us all tonight, or, last but not least, when I consider our youngest hostess, talented, cheerful, hard-working and the best of nieces, I confess, Ladies and Gentlemen, that I do not know to which of them I should award the prize.”
Gabriel glanced down at his aunts and, seeing the large smile on Aunt Julia’s face and the tears which had risen to Aunt Kate’s eyes, hastened to his close. He raised his glass of port gallantly, while every member of the company fingered a glass expectantly, and said loudly:
“Let us toast them all three together. Let us drink to their health, wealth, long life, happiness and prosperity and may they long continue to hold the proud and self-won position which they hold in their profession and the position of honour and affection which they hold in our hearts.”
All the guests stood up, glass in hand, and turning towards the three seated ladies, sang in unison, with Mr Browne as leader:
For they are jolly gay fellows,
For they are jolly gay fellows,
For they are jolly gay fellows,
Which nobody can deny.
Aunt Kate was making frank use of her handkerchief and even Aunt Julia seemed moved. Freddy Malins beat time with his pudding-fork and the singers turned towards one another, as if in melodious conference, while they sang with emphasis:
Unless he tells a lie,
Unless he tells a lie.
Then, turning once more towards their hostesses, they sang:
For they are jolly gay fellows,
For they are jolly gay fellows,
For they are jolly gay fellows,
Which nobody can deny.
The acclamation which followed was taken up beyond the door of the supper-room by many of the other guests and renewed time after time, Freddy Malins acting as officer with his fork on high.
The piercing morning air came into the hall where they were standing so that Aunt Kate said:
“Close the door, somebody. Mrs Malins will get her death of cold.”
“Browne is out there, Aunt Kate,” said Mary Jane.
“Browne is everywhere,” said Aunt Kate, lowering her voice.
Mary Jane laughed at her tone.
“Really,” she said archly, “he is very attentive.”
“He has been laid on here like the gas,” said Aunt Kate in the same tone, “all during the Christmas.”
She laughed herself this time good-humouredly and then added quickly:
“But tell him to come in, Mary Jane, and close the door. I hope to goodness he didn’t hear me.”
At that moment the hall-door was opened and Mr Browne came in from the doorstep, laughing as if his heart would break. He was dressed in a long green overcoat with mock astrakhan cuffs and collar and wore on his head an oval fur cap. He pointed down the snow-covered quay from where the sound of shrill prolonged whistling was borne in.
“Teddy will have all the cabs in Dublin out,” he said.
Gabriel advanced from the little pantry behind the office, struggling into his overcoat and, looking round the hall, said:
“Gretta not down yet?”
“She’s getting on her things, Gabriel,” said Aunt Kate.
“Who’s playing up there?” asked Gabriel.
“Nobody. They’re all gone.”
“O no, Aunt Kate,” said Mary Jane. “Bartell D’Arcy and Miss O’Callaghan aren’t gone yet.”
“Someone is fooling at the piano anyhow,” said Gabriel.
Mary Jane glanced at Gabriel and Mr Browne and said with a shiver:
“It makes me feel cold to look at you two gentlemen muffled up like that. I wouldn’t like to face your journey home at this hour.”
“I’d like nothing better this minute,” said Mr Browne stoutly, “than a rattling fine walk in the country or a fast drive with a good spanking goer between the shafts.”
“We used to have a very good horse and trap at home,” said Aunt Julia sadly.
“The never-to-be-forgotten Johnny,” said Mary Jane, laughing.
Aunt Kate and Gabriel laughed too.
“Why, what was wonderful about Johnny?” asked Mr Browne.
“The late lamented Patrick Morkan, our grandfather, that is,” explained Gabriel, “commonly known in his later years as the old gentleman, was a glue-boiler.”
“O now, Gabriel,” said Aunt Kate, laughing, “he had a starch mill.”
“Well, glue or starch,” said Gabriel, “the old gentleman had a horse by the name of Johnny. And Johnny used to work in the old gentleman’s mill, walking round and round in order to drive the mill. That was all very well; but now comes the tragic part about Johnny. One fine day the old gentleman thought he’d like to drive out with the quality to a military review in the park.”
“The Lord have mercy on his soul,” said Aunt Kate compassionately.
“Amen,” said Gabriel. “So the old gentleman, as I said, harnessed Johnny and put on his very best tall hat and his very best stock collar and drove out in grand style from his ancestral mansion somewhere near Back Lane, I think.”
Everyone laughed, even Mrs Malins, at Gabriel’s manner and Aunt Kate said:
“O now, Gabriel, he didn’t live in Back Lane, really. Only the mill was there.”
“Out from the mansion of his forefathers,” continued Gabriel, “he drove with Johnny. And everything went on beautifully until Johnny came in sight of King Billy’s statue: and whether he fell in love with the horse King Billy sits on or whether he thought he was back again in the mill, anyhow he began to walk round the statue.”
Gabriel paced in a circle round the hall in his goloshes amid the laughter of the others.
“Round and round he went,” said Gabriel, “and the old gentleman, who was a very pompous old gentleman, was highly indignant. ‘Go on, sir! What do you mean, sir? Johnny! Johnny! Most extraordinary conduct! Can’t understand the horse!’”
The peal of laughter which followed Gabriel’s imitation of the incident was interrupted by a resounding knock at the hall door. Mary Jane ran to open it and let in Freddy Malins. Freddy Malins, with his hat well back on his head and his shoulders humped with cold, was puffing and steaming after his exertions.
“I could only get one cab,” he said.
“O, we’ll find another along the quay,” said Gabriel.
“Yes,” said Aunt Kate. “Better not keep Mrs Malins standing in the draught.”
Mrs Malins was helped down the front steps by her son and Mr Browne and, after many manœuvres, hoisted into the cab. Freddy Malins clambered in after her and spent a long time settling her on the seat, Mr Browne helping him with advice. At last she was settled comfortably and Freddy Malins invited Mr Browne into the cab. There was a good deal of confused talk, and then Mr Browne got into the cab. The cabman settled his rug over his knees, and bent down for the address. The confusion grew greater and the cabman was directed differently by Freddy Malins and Mr Browne, each of whom had his head out through a window of the cab. The difficulty was to know where to drop Mr Browne along the route, and Aunt Kate, Aunt Julia and Mary Jane helped the discussion from the doorstep with cross-directions and contradictions and abundance of laughter. As for Freddy Malins he was speechless with laughter. He popped his head in and out of the window every moment to the great danger of his hat, and told his mother how the discussion was progressing, till at last Mr Browne shouted to the bewildered cabman above the din of everybody’s laughter:
“Do you know Trinity College?”
“Yes, sir,” said the cabman.
“Well, drive bang up against Trinity College gates,” said Mr Browne, “and then we’ll tell you where to go. You understand now?”
“Yes, sir,” said the cabman.
“Make like a bird for Trinity College.”
“Right, sir,” said the cabman.
The horse was whipped up and the cab rattled off along the quay amid a chorus of laughter and adieus.
Gabriel had not gone to the door with the others. He was in a dark part of the hall gazing up the staircase. A woman was standing near the top of the first flight, in the shadow also. He could not see her face but he could see the terracotta and salmon-pink panels of her skirt which the shadow made appear black and white. It was his wife. She was leaning on the banisters, listening to something. Gabriel was surprised at her stillness and strained his ear to listen also. But he could hear little save the noise of laughter and dispute on the front steps, a few chords struck on the piano and a few notes of a man’s voice singing.
He stood still in the gloom of the hall, trying to catch the air that the voice was singing and gazing up at his wife. There was grace and mystery in her attitude as if she were a symbol of something. He asked himself what is a woman standing on the stairs in the shadow, listening to distant music, a symbol of. If he were a painter he would paint her in that attitude. Her blue felt hat would show off the bronze of her hair against the darkness and the dark panels of her skirt would show off the light ones. Distant Music he would call the picture if he were a painter.
The hall-door was closed; and Aunt Kate, Aunt Julia and Mary Jane came down the hall, still laughing.
“Well, isn’t Freddy terrible?” said Mary Jane. “He’s really terrible.”
Gabriel said nothing but pointed up the stairs towards where his wife was standing. Now that the hall-door was closed the voice and the piano could be heard more clearly. Gabriel held up his hand for them to be silent. The song seemed to be in the old Irish tonality and the singer seemed uncertain both of his words and of his voice. The voice, made plaintive by distance and by the singer’s hoarseness, faintly illuminated the cadence of the air with words expressing grief:
O, the rain falls on my heavy locks
And the dew wets my skin,
My babe lies cold....
“O,” exclaimed Mary Jane. “It’s Bartell D’Arcy singing and he wouldn’t sing all the night. O, I’ll get him to sing a song before he goes.”
“O do, Mary Jane,” said Aunt Kate.
Mary Jane brushed past the others and ran to the staircase, but before she reached it the singing stopped and the piano was closed abruptly.
“O, what a pity!” she cried. “Is he coming down, Gretta?”
Gabriel heard his wife answer yes and saw her come down towards them. A few steps behind her were Mr Bartell D’Arcy and Miss O’Callaghan.
“O, Mr D’Arcy,” cried Mary Jane, “it’s downright mean of you to break off like that when we were all in raptures listening to you.”
“I have been at him all the evening,” said Miss O’Callaghan, “and Mrs Conroy too and he told us he had a dreadful cold and couldn’t sing.”
“O, Mr D’Arcy,” said Aunt Kate, “now that was a great fib to tell.”
“Can’t you see that I’m as hoarse as a crow?” said Mr D’Arcy roughly.
He went into the pantry hastily and put on his overcoat. The others, taken aback by his rude speech, could find nothing to say. Aunt Kate wrinkled her brows and made signs to the others to drop the subject. Mr D’Arcy stood swathing his neck carefully and frowning.
“It’s the weather,” said Aunt Julia, after a pause.
“Yes, everybody has colds,” said Aunt Kate readily, “everybody.”
“They say,” said Mary Jane, “we haven’t had snow like it for thirty years; and I read this morning in the newspapers that the snow is general all over Ireland.”
“I love the look of snow,” said Aunt Julia sadly.
“So do I,” said Miss O’Callaghan. “I think Christmas is never really Christmas unless we have the snow on the ground.”
“But poor Mr D’Arcy doesn’t like the snow,” said Aunt Kate, smiling.
Mr D’Arcy came from the pantry, fully swathed and buttoned, and in a repentant tone told them the history of his cold. Everyone gave him advice and said it was a great pity and urged him to be very careful of his throat in the night air. Gabriel watched his wife, who did not join in the conversation. She was standing right under the dusty fanlight and the flame of the gas lit up the rich bronze of her hair, which he had seen her drying at the fire a few days before. She was in the same attitude and seemed unaware of the talk about her. At last she turned towards them and Gabriel saw that there was colour on her cheeks and that her eyes were shining. A sudden tide of joy went leaping out of his heart.
“Mr D’Arcy,” she said, “what is the name of that song you were singing?”
“It’s called The Lass of Aughrim,” said Mr D’Arcy, “but I couldn’t remember it properly. Why? Do you know it?”
“The Lass of Aughrim,” she repeated. “I couldn’t think of the name.”
“It’s a very nice air,” said Mary Jane. “I’m sorry you were not in voice tonight.”
“Now, Mary Jane,” said Aunt Kate, “don’t annoy Mr D’Arcy. I won’t have him annoyed.”
Seeing that all were ready to start she shepherded them to the door, where good-night was said:
“Well, good-night, Aunt Kate, and thanks for the pleasant evening.”
“Good-night, Gabriel. Good-night, Gretta!”
“Good-night, Aunt Kate, and thanks ever so much. Good-night, Aunt Julia.”
“O, good-night, Gretta, I didn’t see you.”
“Good-night, Mr D’Arcy. Good-night, Miss O’Callaghan.”
“Good-night, Miss Morkan.”
“Good-night, all. Safe home.”
The morning was still dark. A dull yellow light brooded over the houses and the river; and the sky seemed to be descending. It was slushy underfoot; and only streaks and patches of snow lay on the roofs, on the parapets of the quay and on the area railings. The lamps were still burning redly in the murky air and, across the river, the palace of the Four Courts stood out menacingly against the heavy sky.
She was walking on before him with Mr Bartell D’Arcy, her shoes in a brown parcel tucked under one arm and her hands holding her skirt up from the slush. She had no longer any grace of attitude but Gabriel’s eyes were still bright with happiness. The blood went bounding along his veins; and the thoughts went rioting through his brain, proud, joyful, tender, valorous.
She was walking on before him so lightly and so erect that he longed to run after her noiselessly, catch her by the shoulders and say something foolish and affectionate into her ear. She seemed to him so frail that he longed to defend her against something and then to be alone with her. Moments of their secret life together burst like stars upon his memory. A heliotrope envelope was lying beside his breakfast-cup and he was caressing it with his hand. Birds were twittering in the ivy and the sunny web of the curtain was shimmering along the floor: he could not eat for happiness. They were standing on the crowded platform and he was placing a ticket inside the warm palm of her glove. He was standing with her in the cold, looking in through a grated window at a man making bottles in a roaring furnace. It was very cold. Her face, fragrant in the cold air, was quite close to his; and suddenly he called out to the man at the furnace:
“Is the fire hot, sir?”
But the man could not hear with the noise of the furnace. It was just as well. He might have answered rudely.
A wave of yet more tender joy escaped from his heart and went coursing in warm flood along his arteries. Like the tender fire of stars moments of their life together, that no one knew of or would ever know of, broke upon and illumined his memory. He longed to recall to her those moments, to make her forget the years of their dull existence together and remember only their moments of ecstasy. For the years, he felt, had not quenched his soul or hers. Their children, his writing, her household cares had not quenched all their souls’ tender fire. In one letter that he had written to her then he had said: “Why is it that words like these seem to me so dull and cold? Is it because there is no word tender enough to be your name?”
Like distant music these words that he had written years before were borne towards him from the past. He longed to be alone with her. When the others had gone away, when he and she were in their room in the hotel, then they would be alone together. He would call her softly:
Perhaps she would not hear at once: she would be undressing. Then something in his voice would strike her. She would turn and look at him….
At the corner of Winetavern Street they met a cab. He was glad of its rattling noise as it saved him from conversation. She was looking out of the window and seemed tired. The others spoke only a few words, pointing out some building or street. The horse galloped along wearily under the murky morning sky, dragging his old rattling box after his heels, and Gabriel was again in a cab with her, galloping to catch the boat, galloping to their honeymoon.
As the cab drove across O’Connell Bridge Miss O’Callaghan said:
“They say you never cross O’Connell Bridge without seeing a white horse.”
“I see a white man this time,” said Gabriel.
“Where?” asked Mr Bartell D’Arcy.
Gabriel pointed to the statue, on which lay patches of snow. Then he nodded familiarly to it and waved his hand.
“Good-night, Dan,” he said gaily.
When the cab drew up before the hotel, Gabriel jumped out and, in spite of Mr Bartell D’Arcy’s protest, paid the driver. He gave the man a shilling over his fare. The man saluted and said:
“A prosperous New Year to you, sir.”
“The same to you,” said Gabriel cordially.
She leaned for a moment on his arm in getting out of the cab and while standing at the curbstone, bidding the others good-night. She leaned lightly on his arm, as lightly as when she had danced with him a few hours before. He had felt proud and happy then, happy that she was his, proud of her grace and wifely carriage. But now, after the kindling again of so many memories, the first touch of her body, musical and strange and perfumed, sent through him a keen pang of lust. Under cover of her silence he pressed her arm closely to his side; and, as they stood at the hotel door, he felt that they had escaped from their lives and duties, escaped from home and friends and run away together with wild and radiant hearts to a new adventure.
An old man was dozing in a great hooded chair in the hall. He lit a candle in the office and went before them to the stairs. They followed him in silence, their feet falling in soft thuds on the thickly carpeted stairs. She mounted the stairs behind the porter, her head bowed in the ascent, her frail shoulders curved as with a burden, her skirt girt tightly about her. He could have flung his arms about her hips and held her still, for his arms were trembling with desire to seize her and only the stress of his nails against the palms of his hands held the wild impulse of his body in check. The porter halted on the stairs to settle his guttering candle. They halted too on the steps below him. In the silence Gabriel could hear the falling of the molten wax into the tray and the thumping of his own heart against his ribs.
The porter led them along a corridor and opened a door. Then he set his unstable candle down on a toilet-table and asked at what hour they were to be called in the morning.
“Eight,” said Gabriel.
The porter pointed to the tap of the electric-light and began a muttered apology but Gabriel cut him short.
“We don’t want any light. We have light enough from the street. And I say,” he added, pointing to the candle, “you might remove that handsome article, like a good man.”
The porter took up his candle again, but slowly for he was surprised by such a novel idea. Then he mumbled good-night and went out. Gabriel shot the lock to.
A ghostly light from the street lamp lay in a long shaft from one window to the door. Gabriel threw his overcoat and hat on a couch and crossed the room towards the window. He looked down into the street in order that his emotion might calm a little. Then he turned and leaned against a chest of drawers with his back to the light. She had taken off her hat and cloak and was standing before a large swinging mirror, unhooking her waist. Gabriel paused for a few moments, watching her, and then said:
She turned away from the mirror slowly and walked along the shaft of light towards him. Her face looked so serious and weary that the words would not pass Gabriel’s lips. No, it was not the moment yet.
“You looked tired,” he said.
“I am a little,” she answered.
“You don’t feel ill or weak?”
“No, tired: that’s all.”
She went on to the window and stood there, looking out. Gabriel waited again and then, fearing that diffidence was about to conquer him, he said abruptly:
“By the way, Gretta!”
“What is it?”
“You know that poor fellow Malins?” he said quickly.
“Yes. What about him?”
“Well, poor fellow, he’s a decent sort of chap after all,” continued Gabriel in a false voice. “He gave me back that sovereign I lent him, and I didn’t expect it, really. It’s a pity he wouldn’t keep away from that Browne, because he’s not a bad fellow, really.”
He was trembling now with annoyance. Why did she seem so abstracted? He did not know how he could begin. Was she annoyed, too, about something? If she would only turn to him or come to him of her own accord! To take her as she was would be brutal. No, he must see some ardour in her eyes first. He longed to be master of her strange mood.
“When did you lend him the pound?” she asked, after a pause.
Gabriel strove to restrain himself from breaking out into brutal language about the sottish Malins and his pound. He longed to cry to her from his soul, to crush her body against his, to overmaster her. But he said:
“O, at Christmas, when he opened that little Christmas-card shop in Henry Street.”
He was in such a fever of rage and desire that he did not hear her come from the window. She stood before him for an instant, looking at him strangely. Then, suddenly raising herself on tiptoe and resting her hands lightly on his shoulders, she kissed him.
“You are a very generous person, Gabriel,” she said.
Gabriel, trembling with delight at her sudden kiss and at the quaintness of her phrase, put his hands on her hair and began smoothing it back, scarcely touching it with his fingers. The washing had made it fine and brilliant. His heart was brimming over with happiness. Just when he was wishing for it she had come to him of her own accord. Perhaps her thoughts had been running with his. Perhaps she had felt the impetuous desire that was in him, and then the yielding mood had come upon her. Now that she had fallen to him so easily, he wondered why he had been so diffident.
He stood, holding her head between his hands. Then, slipping one arm swiftly about her body and drawing her towards him, he said softly:
“Gretta, dear, what are you thinking about?”
She did not answer nor yield wholly to his arm. He said again, softly:
“Tell me what it is, Gretta. I think I know what is the matter. Do I know?”
She did not answer at once. Then she said in an outburst of tears:
“O, I am thinking about that song, The Lass of Aughrim.”
She broke loose from him and ran to the bed and, throwing her arms across the bed-rail, hid her face. Gabriel stood stock-still for a moment in astonishment and then followed her. As he passed in the way of the cheval-glass he caught sight of himself in full length, his broad, well-filled shirt-front, the face whose expression always puzzled him when he saw it in a mirror and his glimmering gilt-rimmed eyeglasses. He halted a few paces from her and said:
“What about the song? Why does that make you cry?”
She raised her head from her arms and dried her eyes with the back of her hand like a child. A kinder note than he had intended went into his voice.
“Why, Gretta?” he asked.
“I am thinking about a person long ago who used to sing that song.”
“And who was the person long ago?” asked Gabriel, smiling.
“It was a person I used to know in Galway when I was living with my grandmother,” she said.
The smile passed away from Gabriel’s face. A dull anger began to gather again at the back of his mind and the dull fires of his lust began to glow angrily in his veins.
“Someone you were in love with?” he asked ironically.
“It was a young boy I used to know,” she answered, “named Michael Furey. He used to sing that song, The Lass of Aughrim. He was very delicate.”
Gabriel was silent. He did not wish her to think that he was interested in this delicate boy.
“I can see him so plainly,” she said after a moment. “Such eyes as he had: big, dark eyes! And such an expression in them—an expression!”
“O then, you were in love with him?” said Gabriel.
“I used to go out walking with him,” she said, “when I was in Galway.”
A thought flew across Gabriel’s mind.
“Perhaps that was why you wanted to go to Galway with that Ivors girl?” he said coldly.
She looked at him and asked in surprise:
Her eyes made Gabriel feel awkward. He shrugged his shoulders and said:
“How do I know? To see him, perhaps.”
She looked away from him along the shaft of light towards the window in silence.
“He is dead,” she said at length. “He died when he was only seventeen. Isn’t it a terrible thing to die so young as that?”
“What was he?” asked Gabriel, still ironically.
“He was in the gasworks,” she said.
Gabriel felt humiliated by the failure of his irony and by the evocation of this figure from the dead, a boy in the gasworks. While he had been full of memories of their secret life together, full of tenderness and joy and desire, she had been comparing him in her mind with another. A shameful consciousness of his own person assailed him. He saw himself as a ludicrous figure, acting as a pennyboy for his aunts, a nervous, well-meaning sentimentalist, orating to vulgarians and idealising his own clownish lusts, the pitiable fatuous fellow he had caught a glimpse of in the mirror. Instinctively he turned his back more to the light lest she might see the shame that burned upon his forehead.
He tried to keep up his tone of cold interrogation, but his voice when he spoke was humble and indifferent.
“I suppose you were in love with this Michael Furey, Gretta,” he said.
“I was great with him at that time,” she said.
Her voice was veiled and sad. Gabriel, feeling now how vain it would be to try to lead her whither he had purposed, caressed one of her hands and said, also sadly:
“And what did he die of so young, Gretta? Consumption, was it?”
“I think he died for me,” she answered.
A vague terror seized Gabriel at this answer as if, at that hour when he had hoped to triumph, some impalpable and vindictive being was coming against him, gathering forces against him in its vague world. But he shook himself free of it with an effort of reason and continued to caress her hand. He did not question her again for he felt that she would tell him of herself. Her hand was warm and moist: it did not respond to his touch but he continued to caress it just as he had caressed her first letter to him that spring morning.
“It was in the winter,” she said, “about the beginning of the winter when I was going to leave my grandmother’s and come up here to the convent. And he was ill at the time in his lodgings in Galway and wouldn’t be let out and his people in Oughterard were written to. He was in decline, they said, or something like that. I never knew rightly.”
She paused for a moment and sighed.
“Poor fellow,” she said. “He was very fond of me and he was such a gentle boy. We used to go out together, walking, you know, Gabriel, like the way they do in the country. He was going to study singing only for his health. He had a very good voice, poor Michael Furey.”
“Well; and then?” asked Gabriel.
“And then when it came to the time for me to leave Galway and come up to the convent he was much worse and I wouldn’t be let see him so I wrote him a letter saying I was going up to Dublin and would be back in the summer and hoping he would be better then.”
She paused for a moment to get her voice under control and then went on:
“Then the night before I left I was in my grandmother’s house in Nuns’ Island, packing up, and I heard gravel thrown up against the window. The window was so wet I couldn’t see so I ran downstairs as I was and slipped out the back into the garden and there was the poor fellow at the end of the garden, shivering.”
“And did you not tell him to go back?” asked Gabriel.
“I implored of him to go home at once and told him he would get his death in the rain. But he said he did not want to live. I can see his eyes as well as well! He was standing at the end of the wall where there was a tree.”
“And did he go home?” asked Gabriel.
“Yes, he went home. And when I was only a week in the convent he died and he was buried in Oughterard where his people came from. O, the day I heard that, that he was dead!”
She stopped, choking with sobs and, overcome by emotion, flung herself face downward on the bed, sobbing in the quilt. Gabriel held her hand for a moment longer, irresolutely, and then, shy of intruding on her grief, let it fall gently and walked quietly to the window.
She was fast asleep.
Gabriel, leaning on his elbow, looked for a few moments unresentfully on her tangled hair and half-open mouth, listening to her deep-drawn breath. So she had had that romance in her life: a man had died for her sake. It hardly pained him now to think how poor a part he, her husband, had played in her life. He watched her while she slept as though he and she had never lived together as man and wife. His curious eyes rested long upon her face and on her hair: and, as he thought of what she must have been then, in that time of her first girlish beauty, a strange, friendly pity for her entered his soul. He did not like to say even to himself that her face was no longer beautiful but he knew that it was no longer the face for which Michael Furey had braved death.
Perhaps she had not told him all the story. His eyes moved to the chair over which she had thrown some of her clothes. A petticoat string dangled to the floor. One boot stood upright, its limp upper fallen down: the fellow of it lay upon its side. He wondered at his riot of emotions of an hour before. From what had it proceeded? From his aunt’s supper, from his own foolish speech, from the wine and dancing, the merry-making when saying good-night in the hall, the pleasure of the walk along the river in the snow. Poor Aunt Julia! She, too, would soon be a shade with the shade of Patrick Morkan and his horse. He had caught that haggard look upon her face for a moment when she was singing Arrayed for the Bridal. Soon, perhaps, he would be sitting in that same drawing-room, dressed in black, his silk hat on his knees. The blinds would be drawn down and Aunt Kate would be sitting beside him, crying and blowing her nose and telling him how Julia had died. He would cast about in his mind for some words that might console her, and would find only lame and useless ones. Yes, yes: that would happen very soon.
The air of the room chilled his shoulders. He stretched himself cautiously along under the sheets and lay down beside his wife. One by one they were all becoming shades. Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age. He thought of how she who lay beside him had locked in her heart for so many years that image of her lover’s eyes when he had told her that he did not wish to live.
Generous tears filled Gabriel’s eyes. He had never felt like that himself towards any woman but he knew that such a feeling must be love. The tears gathered more thickly in his eyes and in the partial darkness he imagined he saw the form of a young man standing under a dripping tree. Other forms were near. His soul had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead. He was conscious of, but could not apprehend, their wayward and flickering existence. His own identity was fading out into a grey impalpable world: the solid world itself which these dead had one time reared and lived in was dissolving and dwindling.
A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.” James Joyce, “The Dead;” from his book of stories, Dubliners: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2814/2814-h/2814-h.htm#link2H_4_0015.
In some U.S. jurisdictions, today is Korean American Day, and in many parts of Southern Asia, tonight is the Sidereal Winter Solstice celebration; in Constantinople fourteen hundred and eighty-five years back, factions allied with different gangs and sporting organizations erupted in violent conflict—the Nika Riots—that torched more than half the city and left uncounted tens-of-thousands of people dead, discord that arose over high taxes that imperial war necessitated; the fourth Pope Eugene nine hundred three years subsequent to that conjunction, in 1435, issued a dictate that forbade Spanish enslavement of indigenous inhabitants of the Canary Islands; a century and thirteen years later to the day, in 1547, the Earl of Surrey, who had helped to invent the English sonnet, faced a capital sentence from Henry VIII’s adherents in London, just a few short years after his cousin, Anne Boleyn, lost her head; a half century and two years thereafter, in 1599, the brilliant poet Edmund Spencer died; eight years after that, in 1607, the Bank of Genoa imploded in the wake of Spain’s national bankruptcy; a precursor to French colonization of part of Muslim India, Jean Baptiste Tavernier three and a half centuries and a year before the here and now, disembarked in Dhaka for his visit with Shaista Khan; two hundred twenty-four years ago, a representative of revolutionary France faced the wrath of a well-heeled lynch-mob in Rome; thirty-nine years hence, in 1832, a male infant uttered his first cry en route to iconic cultural status in America as Horatio Alger; three hundred sixty-six days after that, in 1833, President Andrew Jackson corresponded with
his Vice President, Martin Van Buren, to the effect that he detested the threat of secession and impunity that South Carolina ruling class sorts were displaying in the Nullification Crisis; not quite a decade afterwards to the hour, in 1842, the sole survivor of a massive English campaign against Afghan warlords returned to Jalalabad to tell of the annihilation of close to twenty-thousand fighters and camp followers; five years subsequently, in 1847, the War with Mexico in California came to a close as the Treaty of Cahuenga took effect; sixteen years past that juncture, in 1863, the popular lyricist and composer Stephen Foster, only in his thirties, breathed his last; in the District of Columbia half a dozen years precisely further along, in 1869, newly freed Black leaders met to form a national advocacy organization; half a decade into the future from that, in 1874, in the midst of a Depression Winter in which hundred starved to death in New York City, mounted police savagely assaulted crowds of unemployed protesters in Tompkins Square riots in the city; thirteen years still further down the pike, in 1887, a male child opened his eyes who would rise as the ‘spiritual’ master and thinker and writer, George Gurdjieff; another half dozen years beyond that instant in spacetime, in 1893, Marines on the other side of the planet invaded Hawaii to insure that the U.S. takeover of the islands was certain; five years henceforth precisely, in 1898, and almost half a world away, the writer Emile Zola published
J’accuse, which accused France of bigotry in the Dreyfus case; a dozen years subsequently, in 1910, the world’s first radio broadcast took place, in New York, with the Metropolitan Opera’s participation part of the performance; four years hence, in 1914, authorities falsely and knowingly charged Joe Hill with murder in order to attack his union organizing; five years more along the temporal road, in nearby California in 1919, a Chicano orange-pickers strike took shape; a baby boy came into the world yet another half a decade later on, in 1924, who matured to become philosopher Paul Feyerabend, in the midst of a propaganda infusion of class warfare across the ocean against a national law in the U.S. that would prohibit child labor; eleven years afterward, in 1935, the citizens of Saarland voted roughly nine-to-one to join Nazi Germany; six years further on, in 1941, the acclaimed modernist author James Joyce died; three hundred sixty-five days after that, in 1942, Henry Ford patented a plastic automobile that weighed only seven tenths what a steel vehicle weighed; eight years past that optimistic conjunction, in 1950, the Soviet Union’s United Nation Security Council Ambassador, expressing USSR hatred for the barring of the Chinese delgation, began a boycott of security council meetings that ultmately permitted the Korean War to be a ‘United Nations exercise;’one year nearer to now, in 1951, in the First Indochina War, a major French victory was unfolding in the imperial battle with communist and nationalist forces; two years thereafter, in 1953,Pravda published accusations against
intellectuals, often Jewish, that they had been conspiring to harm and kill Soviet leaders; two years farther along time’s path, in 1955, a baby boy was born who grew into accomplished author and thinker Jay McInerny; two years even closer to the current context, in 1957, a female infant shouted out en route to life as writer and storyteller, Lorrie Moore; in Morocco a single year after that, in 1958, nationalist rebels attacked Spanish forces in a telling strike, and back across the Atlantic film impresario Jesse Lasky’s life came to an end; two years later exactly, in 1960, the Soviet Union abolished its systems of Gulags against dissidents; in Washington six years after that on the dot, in 1966, the first Black cabinet member in history assumed command of a Federal Department, at Housing and Urban Development; two years down the road from that, in 1968, Johnny Cash sang live at Folsom Prison; a decade hence to the day, in 1978, the Food and Drug Administration adopted policies that required labeling blood as emanating from either paid or volunteer donors; eight years more on time’s roadway, in 1986, five thousand miles in the Arabian Gulf, a vicious sectarian clash broke out in Yemen that foretold much of today’s carnage and mayhem; four years afterward precisely, in 1990, an Azerbaijani pogrom against Armenian residents unfolded for a week of murder and maltreatment; a thousand ninety-six days more proximate to the present pass, in 1993, Space Shuttle Endeavor launched for a third space flight.
DEEPENING CRISES AS REFLECTED IN MEXICO & ELSEWHERE
For scrappy scribes and stalwart citizens who hope not only to survive but also to thrive despite all signs to the contrary, more developing stories that receive short shrift, or even no shrift, in corporate reportage, first of all an assessment from The AntiMedia about growing Mexican protests that absolutely constitute and uprising and arguably verge on open rebellion, all of which emanate from such sacrosanct aspects of present social and political affairs as the North American Free Trade Agreement, the sickening hypocrisy of the so-called ‘War on Drugs,’ and other such bellwethers of established ideation, an article that appears in longer form in today’s BlackListed News report, an embodied narrative that in turn fits perfectly with likely countlessother reportage of the present pass, all of which result from the bedrock crises of the current order, to wit, first, an item fromInformation Clearinghouse that channels material from The Saker about the orchestrated attacks on Donald Trump, second, a piece from Vice News that covers some of the same ground, third, another similar briefing from The Atlantic that provides a sympathetic account of Buzzfeed’s original profferal in this regard, and fourth, from our ‘paper of record’ a breaking-news analysis about revelations that the U.S. Inspector General is now investigating at least one aspect of James Comey’s pre-election behavior.
This Day in History
In the more reactionary and backward parts of the United States, today is the earliest day in celebration of Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, an ‘antidote’ to commemorating Martin Luther King a few days subsequently; a Burmese leader, Bayinnaung, four
hundred sixty-three years ago became emperor en route to guiding his administration to the creation of the largest empire in Southeast Asian history; another century and eleven years along time’s arc, in 1665, the French mathematician and thinker Pierre de Fermat executed his last algorithm and exited; exactly sixty-four years henceforth, in 1729, a baby boy was being born who would mature into conservative thinker and writer Edmund Burke; MORE HERE
A Thought for the Day
Perhaps a key component of an ethical persona would be a powerful, plausibly irresistible attraction to those who are seeking truth in all the paradoxical parameters of the term; be that as it may, however, an equivalent measure of the moral muster must also consist of fleeing in terror from those who pronounce, as much humorlessly as witlessly, that they have certainly discovered the sources of complete and accurate knowledge and understanding, especially given that such a discovery guarantees that the search has ended.
Quote of the Day
I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing. Agatha Christie
Doc of the Day
Numero Uno—“Unfortunately or otherwise, people are prone to believe in the reality of the things they think ought to be so. This comes of the cheery optimism which is innate with life itself; and, while it may sometimes be deplored, it must never be censured, for, as a rule, it is productive of more good than harm, and of about all the achievement there is in the world. There are cases where this optimism has been disastrous, as with the people who lived in Pompeii during its last quivering days; or with the aristocrats of the time of Louis XVI, who confidently expected the Deluge to overwhelm their children, or their children’s children, but never themselves. But there is small likelihood that the case of perverse optimism here to be considered will end in such disaster, while there is every reason to believe that the great change now manifesting itself in society will be as peaceful and orderly in its culmination as it is in its present development. MORE HERE
crisis OR depression systemic OR unavoidable OR inherent "class conflict" OR "class war" OR rebellion OR uprising OR resistance media OR reporting OR journalism false OR coverup OR propaganda OR slanted analysis OR scholarship OR explication OR research history OR origins marxist OR radical = 5,970,000 Results.
From the estimable reporters at Real News Network, clearly capable of actual journalism, a brilliant interview with a Chicago public intellectual and activist about the reality of Barack-the-Magnificent’s legacy, a critically important assessment for scrappy scribes and stalwart citizens inasmuch as the roughly irrefutable conclusion of the exchange is that President Obama came into office and remained throughout his term an inveterate neoliberal hack whose primary constituency was billionaires and bankers, analysis that exists in conjunction with and contrast to a briefing from World Economic Forumabout its most recent report, which conveys alarm at horrendous difficulties facing humanity, and its rulers, along five distinct fronts, an examination that in its expression then dovetails chillingly with William Binney’s explication in another TruthDig video that the so-called ‘Russian Hack’ is a fraud and the cybersecurity terror tantrums that accompany it are a boondoggle and a swindle, all of which form a substrate that is essential to comprehend a mediation of Donald Trump’s first press conference, a ‘spectacle’ thatInformation Clearinghouse makes available in its entirety.
The 2017 Iceland Writers Retreat for fiction writers and creative nonfiction writers will be held from April 5 to April 9 in the Icelandair Hotel Reykjavík Natura in Reykjavík
SCREENWRITING LAB http://www.filmindependent.org/programs/filmmaker-labs/screenwriting-lab/
The Screenwriting Lab also helps to further the careers of its Fellows by introducing them to film industry veterans who can offer guidance on both the craft and business of screenwriting. Each Screenwriting Fellow will be paired with a Creative Advisor, with whom they’ll work one-on-one and in Lab sessions to further develop their project over the course of the program. The Screenwriting Lab is open to any writer applying with a completed draft of a feature-length project they wish to workshop during the program, with an eye toward production. Beyond the application fee, there is no cost or tuition to participate in any of Film Independent’s Artist Development programs. Location Los Angeles. The fellowship includes a $10,000 cash grant as well as inclusion in the Screenwriting Lab.
Kensington Publishing is seeking experienced freelance copy-editors and proofreaders for Lyrical Press, their e-book original imprint. Duties will include copy-editing and/or proofreading novella-length and full-length fiction projects in multiple genres, including romances of all kinds, women’s fiction, mysteries and thrillers.
A Left East interview with a brilliant and fearless political economist: “Our comrades from the Serbian Left-wing portal MAŠINA spoke to Marxist political economist Leo Panitch (York University) during his stay in Belgrade. There he was a guest at the conference The Return of Utopia (BCS), organized by the Center for Political Emancipation. This is the first appearance of the interview in English. Its original publication in Serbian can be accessed here.”
A Lit Hub offering that shows, through the words of other establishe writers, the paths through the thickets of revision: ““Writing is rewriting,” says everyone all the time. But what they don’t say, necessarily, is how. Yesterday, Tor pointed me in the direction of this old blog post from Patrick Rothfuss—whose Kingkiller Chronicle is soon to be adapted for film and television by Lin-Manuel Miranda, in case you hadn’t heard—in which he describes, step-by-step, his revision process over a single night. Out of many, one assumes. It’s illuminating, and I wound up digging around on the Internet for more personal stories of editing strategies, investigating the revision processes of a number of celebrated contemporary writers of fantasy, realism, and young adult fiction. So in the interest of stealing from those who have succeeded, read on.
A New Republic review of the writings of one of recent history’s most tragic and heroic technology stars: “The Boy’s editor has made the perplexing choice to fragment and scatter Swartz’s intellectual path. Skipping from Swartz as a 14-year-old to 21 to 17 makes it hard to track what ideas he’s absorbing and what he’s leaving behind. The collection doesn’t present Swartz as a thinker whose evolution is important for the rest of us to understand; it’s an elegiac project about a young man who had a good heart, unlimited potential, and wanted to help people. Except for the occasional reference to David Foster Wallace’s suicide a few years before Aaron’s, a reader who picked up the book might wonder what happened to him. “
An Ian Welsh post that sheds an important light on some of the conflicts between the Federal Reserve and the new administration: “The idea that the Federal Reserve should be able to sandbag the policy (“fiscal”) of elected representatives has always been anti-democratic, and bogus. They work very closely to make sure the rich get richer, to bail out banks and ensure their profits, but despite “full employment” supposedly being part of their charter, they have defined full employment to mean “employment pressure which doesn’t lead to general increases in wages faster than inflation”.
A Monthly Review piece that looks at the causes and cosequences of today’s various crises: “Not since the Great Depression of the 1930s has it been so apparent that the core capitalist economies are experiencing secular stagnation, characterized by slow growth, rising unemployment and underemployment, and idle productive capacity. Consequently, mainstream economics is finally beginning to recognize the economic stagnation tendency that has long been a focus in these pages, although it has yet to develop a coherent analysis of the phenomenon.1 Accompanying the long-term decline in the growth trend has been an extraordinary increase in economic inequality, which one of us labeled “The Great Inequality,” and which has recently been dramatized by the publication of French economist Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century.2 Taken together, these two realities of deepening stagnation and growing inequality have created a severe crisis for orthodox (or neoclassical) economics. “