Love Conquers All
by Robert C. Benchley
1  2  3  4     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

[Transcriber's note: Footnotes moved to end of story]





Printed October, 1922


The author thanks the editors of the following publications for their permission to print the articles in this book: Life, The New York World, The New York Tribune, The Detroit Athletic Club News, and The Consolidated Press Association.

















XVI OPERA SYNOPSES I Die Meister-Genossenschaft. II Il Minnestrone III Lucy de Lima


















XXXIV ANIMAL STORIES I Georgie Dog II Lillian Mosquito





















LIV "You!"











They look him over as if he were a fresh air child being given a day's outing.

The watcher walks around the table, giving each hand a careful scrutiny.

"'Round and 'round the tree I go"

"Atta boy, forty-nine: Only one more to go!"

For three hours there is a great deal of screaming.

He was further aided by the breaks of the game.

Mrs. Deemster didn't enter into the spirit of the thing at all.

"That's right," says the chairman.

"If you weren't asleep what were you doing with your eyes closed?"

You would gladly change places with the most lawless of God's creatures.

I am mortified to discover that the unpleasant looking man is none other than myself.

"I can remember you when you were that high"

She would turn away and bite her lip.

"Listen Ed! This is how it goes!"

They intimate that I had better take my few pennies and run 'round the corner to some little haberdashery.

I thank them and walk in to the nearest dining-room table.

"Why didn't you tell us that you were reading a paper on birth control?"




Old scandals concerning the private life of Lord Byron have been revived with the recent publication of a collection of his letters. One of the big questions seems to be: Did Byron send Mary Shelley's letter to Mrs. R.B. Hoppner? Everyone seems greatly excited about it.

Lest future generations be thrown into turmoil over my correspondence after I am gone, I want right now to clear up the mystery which has puzzled literary circles for over thirty years. I need hardly add that I refer to what is known as the "Benchley-Whittier Correspondence."

The big question over which both my biographers and Whittier's might possibly come to blows is this, as I understand it: Did John Greenleaf Whittier ever receive the letters I wrote to him in the late Fall of 1890? If he did not, who did? And under what circumstances were they written?

I was a very young man at the time, and Mr. Whittier was, naturally, very old. There had been a meeting of the Save-Our-Song-Birds Club in old Dane Hall (now demolished) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Members had left their coats and hats in the check-room at the foot of the stairs (now demolished).

In passing out after a rather spirited meeting, during the course of which Mr. Whittier and Dr. Van Blarcom had opposed each other rather violently over the question of Baltimore orioles, the aged poet naturally was the first to be helped into his coat. In the general mix-up (there was considerable good-natured fooling among the members as they left, relieved as they were from the strain of the meeting) Whittier was given my hat by mistake. When I came to go, there was nothing left for me but a rather seedy gray derby with a black band, containing the initials "J.G.W." As the poet was visiting in Cambridge at the time I took opportunity next day to write the following letter to him:

Cambridge, Mass. November 7, 1890.

Dear Mr. Whittier:

I am afraid that in the confusion following the Save-Our-Song-Birds meeting last night, you were given my hat by mistake. I have yours and will gladly exchange it if you will let me know when I may call on you.

May I not add that I am a great admirer of your verse? Have you ever tried any musical comedy lyrics? I think that I could get you in on the ground floor in the show game, as I know a young man who has written several songs which E.E. Rice has said he would like to use in his next comic opera—provided he can get words to go with them.

But we can discuss all this at our meeting, which I hope will be soon, as your hat looks like hell on me.

Yours respectfully,


I am quite sure that this letter was mailed, as I find an entry in my diary of that date which reads:

"Mailed a letter to J.G. Whittier. Cloudy and cooler."

Furthermore, in a death-bed confession, some ten years later, one Mary F. Rourke, a servant employed in the house of Dr. Agassiz, with whom Whittier was bunking at the time, admitted that she herself had taken a letter, bearing my name in the corner of the envelope, to the poet at his breakfast on the following morning.

But whatever became of it after it fell into his hands, I received no reply. I waited five days, during which time I stayed in the house rather than go out wearing the Whittier gray derby. On the sixth day I wrote him again, as follows:

Cambridge, Mass. Nov. 14, 1890.

Dear Mr. Whittier:

How about that hat of mine?

Yours respectfully,


I received no answer to this letter either. Concluding that the good gray poet was either too busy or too gosh-darned mean to bother with the thing, I myself adopted an attitude of supercilious unconcern and closed the correspondence with the following terse message:

Cambridge, Mass. December 4, 1890.

Dear Mr. Whittier:

It is my earnest wish that the hat of mine which you are keeping will slip down over your eyes some day, interfering with your vision to such an extent that you will walk off the sidewalk into the gutter and receive painful, albeit superficial, injuries.

Your young friend,


Here the matter ended so far as I was concerned, and I trust that biographers in the future will not let any confusion of motives or misunderstanding of dates enter into a clear and unbiased statement of the whole affair. We must not have another Shelley-Byron scandal.




The naturalistic literature of this country has reached such a state that no family of characters is considered true to life which does not include at least two hypochondriacs, one sadist, and one old man who spills food down the front of his vest. If this school progresses, the following is what we may expect in our national literature in a year or so.

The living-room in the Twillys' house was so damp that thick, soppy moss grew all over the walls. It dripped on the picture of Grandfather Twilly that hung over the melodeon, making streaks down the dirty glass like sweat on the old man's face. It was a mean face. Grandfather Twilly had been a mean man and bad little spots of soup on the lapel of his coat. All his children were mean and had soup spots on their clothes.

Grandma Twilly sat in the rocker over by the window, and as she rocked the chair snapped. It sounded like Grandma Twilly's knees snapping as they did whenever she stooped over to pull the wings off a fly. She was a mean old thing. Her knuckles were grimy and she chewed crumbs that she found in the bottom of her reticule. You would have hated her. She hated herself. But most of all she hated Grandfather Twilly.

"I certainly hope you're frying good," she muttered as she looked up at his picture.

"Hasn't the undertaker come yet, Ma?" asked young Mrs. Wilbur Twilly petulantly. She was boiling water on the oil-heater and every now and again would spill a little of the steaming liquid on the baby who was playing on the floor. She hated the baby because it looked like her father. The hot water raised little white blisters on the baby's red neck and Mabel Twilly felt short, sharp twinges of pleasure at the sight. It was the only pleasure she had had for four months.

"Why don't you kill yourself, Ma?" she continued. "You're only in the way here and you know it. It's just because you're a mean old woman and want to make trouble for us that you hang on."

Grandma Twilly shot a dirty look at her daughter-in-law. She had always hated her. Stringy hair, Mabel had. Dank, stringy hair. Grandma Twilly thought how it would look hanging at an Indian's belt. But all that she did was to place her tongue against her two front teeth and make a noise like the bath-room faucet.

Wilbur Twilly was reading the paper by the oil lamp. Wilbur had watery blue eyes and cigar ashes all over his knees. The third and fourth buttons of his vest were undone. It was too hideous.

He was conscious of his family seated in chairs about him. His mother, chewing crumbs. His wife Mabel, with her stringy hair, reading. His sister Bernice, with projecting front teeth, who sat thinking of the man who came every day to take away the waste paper. Bernice was wondering how long it would be before her family would discover that she had been married to this man for three years.

How Wilbur hated them all. It didn't seem as if he could stand it any longer. He wanted to scream and stick pins into every one of them and then rush out and see the girl who worked in his office snapping rubber-bands all day. He hated her too, but she wore side-combs.


The street was covered with slimy mud. It oozed out from under Bernice's rubbers in unpleasant bubbles until it seemed to her as if she must kill herself. Hot air coming out from a steam laundry. Hot, stifling air. Bernice didn't work in the laundry but she wished that she did so that the hot air would kill her. She wanted to be stifled. She needed torture to be happy. She also needed a good swift clout on the side of the face.

A drunken man lurched out from a door-way and flung his arms about her. It was only her husband. She loved her husband. She loved him so much that, as she pushed him away and into the gutter, she stuck her little finger into his eye. She also untied his neck-tie. It was a bow neck-tie, with white, dirty spots on it and it was wet with gin. It didn't seem as if Bernice could stand it any longer. All the repressions of nineteen sordid years behind protruding teeth surged through her untidy soul. She wanted love. But it was not her husband that she loved so fiercely. It was old Grandfather Twilly. And he was too dead.


In the dining-room of the Twillys' house everything was very quiet. Even the vinegar-cruet which was covered with fly-specks. Grandma Twilly lay with her head in the baked potatoes, poisoned by Mabel, who, in her turn had been poisoned by her husband and sprawled in an odd posture over the china-closet. Wilbur and his sister Bernice had just finished choking each other to death and between them completely covered the carpet in that corner of the room where the worn spot showed the bare boards beneath, like ribs on a chicken carcass. Only the baby survived. She had a mean face and had great spillings of Imperial Granum down her bib. As she looked about her at her family, a great hate surged through her tiny body and her eyes snapped viciously. She wanted to get down from her high-chair and show them all how much she hated them.

Bernice's husband, the man who came after the waste paper, staggered into the room. The tips were off both his shoe-lacings. The baby experienced a voluptuous sense of futility at the sight of the tipless-lacings and leered suggestively at her uncle-in-law.

"We must get the roof fixed," said the man, very quietly. "It lets the sun in."



We are occasionally confronted in the advertisements by the picture of an offensively bright-looking little boy, fairly popping with information, who, it is claimed in the text, knows all the inside dope on why fog forms in beads on a woolen coat, how long it would take to crawl to the moon on your hands and knees, and what makes oysters so quiet.

The taunting catch-line of the advertisement is: "This Child Knows the Answer—Do You?" and the idea is to shame you into buying a set of books containing answers to all the questions in the world except the question "Where is the money coming from to buy the books?"

Any little boy knowing all these facts would unquestionably be an asset in a business which specialized in fog-beads or lunar transportation novelties, but he would be awful to have about the house.

"Spencer," you might say to him, "where are Daddy's slippers?" To which he would undoubtedly answer: "I don't know, Dad," (disagreeable little boys like that always call their fathers "Dad" and stand with their feet wide apart and their hands in their pockets like girls playing boys' roles on the stage) "but I do know this, that all the Nordic peoples are predisposed to astigmatism because of the glare of the sun on the snow, and that, furthermore, if you were to place a common ordinary marble in a glass of luke-warm cider there would be a precipitation which, on pouring off the cider, would be found to be what we know as parsley, just plain parsley which Cook uses every night in preparing our dinner."

With little ones like this around the house, a new version of "The Children's Hour" will have to be arranged, and it might as well be done now and got over with.

The Well-Informed Children's Hour

Between the dark and the day-light, When the night is beginning lo lower, Comes a pause in the day's occupation Which is known as the children's hour. 'Tis then appears tiny Irving With the patter of little feet, To tell us that worms become dizzy At a slight application of heat. And Norma, the baby savant, Comes toddling up with the news That a valvular catch in the larynx Is the reason why Kitty mews. "Oh Grandpa," cries lovable Lester, "Jack Frost has surprised us again, By condensing in crystal formation The vapor which clings to the pane!" Then Roger and Lispinard Junior Race pantingly down through the hall To be first with the hot information That bees shed their coats in the Fall. No longer they clamor for stories As they cluster in fun 'round my knee But each little darling is bursting With a story that he must tell me, Giving reasons why daisies are sexless And what makes the turtle so dour; So it goes through the horrible gloaming Of the Well-informed Children's Hour.



With all the expert advice that is being offered in print these days about how to play games, it seems odd that no one has formulated a set of rules for the spectators. The spectators are much more numerous than the players, and seem to need more regulation. As a spectator of twenty years standing, versed in watching all sports except six-day bicycle races, I offer the fruit of my experience in the form of suggestions and reminiscences which may tend to clarify the situation, or, in case there is no situation which needs clarifying, to make one.

In the event of a favorable reaction on the part of the public, I shall form an association, to be known as the National Amateur Audience Association (or the N.A.A.A., if you are given to slang) of which I shall be Treasurer. That's all I ask, the Treasurership.

This being an off-season of the year for outdoor sports (except walking, which is getting to have neither participants nor spectators) it seems best to start with a few remarks on the strenuous occupation of watching a bridge game. Bridge-watchers are not so numerous as football watchers, for instance, but they are much more in need of coordination and it will be the aim of this article to formulate a standardized set of rules for watching bridge which may be taken as a criterion for the whole country.


There should not be more than one watcher for each table. When there are two, or more, confusion is apt to result and no one of the watchers can devote his attention to the game as it should be devoted. Two watchers are also likely to bump into each other as they make their way around the table looking over the players' shoulders. If there are more watchers than there are tables, two can share one table between them, one being dummy while the other watches. In this event the first one should watch until the hand has been dealt and six tricks taken, being relieved by the second one for the remaining tricks and the marking down of the score.


In order to avoid any charge of signalling, it will be well for the following conversational formula to be used before the game begins:

The ring-leader of the game says to the fifth person: "Won't you join the game and make a fourth? I have some work which I really ought to be doing."

The fifth person replies: "Oh, no, thank you! I play a wretched game. I'd much rather sit here and read, if you don't mind."

To which the ring-leader replies: "Pray do."

After the first hand has been dealt, the fifth person, whom we shall now call the "watcher," puts down the book and leans forward in his (or her) chair, craning the neck to see what is in the hand nearest him. The strain becoming too great, he arises and approaches the table, saying: "Do you mind if I watch a bit?"

No answer need be given to this, unless someone at the table has nerve enough to tell the truth.


The game is now on. The watcher walks around the table, giving each hand a careful scrutiny, groaning slightly at the sight of a poor one and making noises of joyful anticipation at the good ones. Stopping behind an especially unpromising array of cards, it is well to say: "Well, unlucky at cards, lucky in love, you know." This gives the partner an opportunity to judge his chances on the bid he is about to make, and is perfectly fair to the other side, too, for they are not left entirely in the dark. Thus everyone benefits by the remark.

When the bidding begins, the watcher has considerable opportunity for effective work. Having seen how the cards lie, he is able to stand back and listen with a knowing expression, laughing at unjustified bids and urging on those who should, in his estimation, plunge. At the conclusion of the bidding he should say: "Well, we're off!"

As the hand progresses and the players become intent on the game, the watcher may be the cause of no little innocent diversion. He may ask one of the players for a match, or, standing behind the one who is playing the hand, he may say:

"I'll give you three guesses as to whom I ran into on the street yesterday. Someone you all know. Used to go to school with you, Harry ... Light hair and blue eyes ... Medium build ... Well, sir, it was Lew Milliken. Yessir, Lew Milliken. Hadn't seen him for fifteen years. Asked after you, Harry ... and George too. And what do you think he told me about Chick?"

Answers may or may not be returned to these remarks, according to the good nature of the players, but in any event, they serve their purpose of distraction.

Particular care should be taken that no one of the players is allowed to make a mistake. The watcher, having his mind free, is naturally in a better position to keep track of matters of sequence and revoking. Thus, he may say:

"The lead was over here, George," or

"I think that you refused spades a few hands ago, Lillian."

Of course, there are some watchers who have an inherited delicacy about offering advice or talking to the players. Some people are that way. They are interested in the game, and love to watch but they feel that they ought not to interfere. I had a cousin who just wouldn't talk while a hand was being played, and so, as she had to do something, she hummed. She didn't hum very well, and her program was limited to the first two lines of "How Firm a Foundation," but she carried it off very well and often got the players to humming it along with her. She could also drum rather well with her fingers on the back of the chair of one of the players while looking over his shoulder. "How Firm a Foundation" didn't lend itself very well to drumming; so she had a little patrol that she worked up all by herself, beginning soft, like a drum corps in the distance, and getting louder and louder, finally dying away again so that you could barely near it. It was wonderful how she could do it—and still go on living.

Those who feel this way about talking while others are playing bridge have a great advantage over my cousin and her class if they can play the piano. They play ever so softly, in order not to disturb, but somehow or other you just know that they are there, and that the next to last note in the coda is going to be very sour.

But, of course, the piano work does not technically come under the head of watching, although when there are two watchers to a table, one may go over to the piano while she is dummy.

But your real watcher will allow nothing to interfere with his conscientious following of the game, and it is for real watchers only that these suggestions have been formulated. The minute you get out of the class of those who have the best interests of the game at heart, you become involved in dilettantism and amateurishness, and the whole sport of bridge-watching falls into disrepute.

The only trouble with the game as it now stands is the risk of personal injury. This can be eliminated by the watcher insisting on each player being frisked for weapons before the game begins and cultivating a good serviceable defense against ordinary forms of fistic attack.



For Use in Christmas Eve Entertainments in the Vestry

At the opening of the entertainment the Superintendent will step into the footlights, recover his balance apologetically, and say:

"Boys and girls of the Intermediate Department, parents and friends: I suppose you all know why we are here tonight. (At this point the audience will titter apprehensively). Mrs. Drury and her class of little girls have been working very hard to make this entertainment a success, and I am sure that everyone here to-night is going to have what I overheard one of my boys the other day calling 'some good time.' (Indulgent laughter from the little boys). And may I add before the curtain goes up that immediately after the entertainment we want you all to file out into the Christian Endeavor room, where there will be a Christmas tree, 'with all the fixin's,' as the boys say." (Shrill whistling from the little boys and immoderate applause from everyone).

There will then be a wait of twenty-five minutes, while sounds of hammering and dropping may be heard from behind the curtains. The Boys' Club orchestra will render the "Poet and Peasant Overture" four times in succession, each time differently.

At last one side of the curtains will be drawn back; the other will catch on something and have to be released by hand; someone will whisper loudly, "Put out the lights," following which the entire house will be plunged into darkness. Amid catcalls from the little boys, the footlights will at last go on, disclosing:

The windows in the rear of the vestry rather ineffectively concealed by a group of small fir trees on standards, one of which has already fallen over, leaving exposed a corner of the map of Palestine and the list of gold-star classes for November. In the center of the stage is a larger tree, undecorated, while at the extreme left, invisible to everyone in the audience except those sitting at the extreme right, is an imitation fireplace, leaning against the wall.

Twenty-five seconds too early little Flora Rochester will prance out from the wings, uttering the first shrill notes of a song, and will have to be grabbed by eager hands and pulled back. Twenty-four seconds later the piano will begin "The Return of the Reindeer" with a powerful accent on the first note of each bar, and Flora Rochester, Lillian McNulty, Gertrude Hamingham and Martha Wrist will swirl on, dressed in white, and advance heavily into the footlights, which will go out.

There will then be an interlude while Mr. Neff, the sexton, adjusts the connection, during which the four little girls stand undecided whether to brave it out or cry. As a compromise they giggle and are herded back into the wings by Mrs. Drury, amid applause. When the lights go on again, the applause becomes deafening, and as Mr. Neff walks triumphantly away, the little boys in the audience will whistle: "There she goes, there she goes, all dressed up in her Sunday clothes!"

"The Return of the Reindeer" will be started again and the show-girls will reappear, this time more gingerly and somewhat dispirited. They will, however, sing the following, to the music of the "Ballet Pizzicato" from "Sylvia":

"We greet you, we greet you, On this Christmas Eve so fine. We greet you, we greet you, And wish you a good time."

They will then turn toward the tree and Flora Rochester will advance, hanging a silver star on one of the branches, meanwhile reciting a verse, the only distinguishable words of which are: "I am Faith so strong and pure—"

At the conclusion of her recitation, the star will fall off.

Lillian McNulty will then step forward and hang her star on a branch, reading her lines in clear tones:

"And I am Hope, a virtue great, My gift to Christmas now I make, That children and grown-ups may hope today That tomorrow will be a merry Christmas Day."

The hanging of the third star will be consummated by Gertrude Hamingham, who will get as far as "Sweet Charity I bring to place upon the tree—" at which point the strain will become too great and she will forget the remainder. After several frantic glances toward the wings, from which Mrs. Drury is sending out whispered messages to the effect that the next line begins, "My message bright—" Gertrude will disappear, crying softly.

After the morale of the cast has been in some measure restored by the pianist, who, with great presence of mind, plays a few bars of "Will There Be Any Stars In My Crown?" to cover up Gertrude's exit, Martha Wrist will unleash a rope of silver tinsel from the foot of the tree, and, stringing it over the boughs as she skips around in a circle, will say, with great assurance:

"'Round and 'round the tree I go, Through the holly and the snow Bringing love and Christmas cheer Through the happy year to come."

At this point there will be a great commotion and jangling of sleigh-bells off-stage, and Mr. Creamer, rather poorly disguised as Santa Claus, will emerge from the opening in the imitation fire-place. A great popular demonstration for Mr. Creamer will follow. He will then advance to the footlights, and, rubbing his pillow and ducking his knees to denote joviality, will say thickly through his false beard:

"Well, well, well, what have we here? A lot of bad little boys and girls who aren't going to get any Christmas presents this year? (Nervous laughter from the little boys and girls). Let me see, let me see! I have a note here from Dr. Whidden. Let's see what it says. (Reads from a paper on which there is obviously nothing written). 'If you and the young people of the Intermediate Department will come into the Christian Endeavor room, I think we may have a little surprise for you ...' Well, well, well! What do you suppose it can be? (Cries of "I know, I know!" from sophisticated ones in the audience). Maybe it is a bottle of castor-oil! (Raucous jeers from the little boys and elaborately simulated disgust on the part of the little girls.) Well, anyway, suppose we go out and see? Now if Miss Liftnagle will oblige us with a little march on the piano, we will all form in single file—"

At this point there will ensue a stampede toward the Christian Endeavor room, in which chairs will be broken, decorations demolished, and the protesting Mr. Creamer badly hurt.

This will bring to a close the first part of the entertainment.



Second in the list of games which it is necessary for every sportsman to know how to watch comes chess. If you don't know how to watch chess, the chances are that you will never have any connection with the game whatsoever. You would not, by any chance, be playing it yourself.

I know some very nice people that play chess, mind you, and I wouldn't have thought that I was in any way spoofing at the game. I would sooner spoof at the people who engineered the Panama Canal or who are drawing up plans for the vehicular tunnel under the Hudson River. I am no man to make light of chess and its adherents, although they might very well make light of me. In fact, they have.

But what I say is, that taking society by and large, man and boy, the chances are that chess would be the Farmer-Labor Party among the contestants for sporting honors.

Now, since it is settled that you probably will not want to play chess, unless you should be laid up with a bad knee-pan or something, it follows that, if you want to know anything about the sport at all, you will have to watch it from the side-lines. That is what this series of lessons aims to teach you to do, (of course, if you are going to be nasty and say that you don't want even to watch it, why all this time has been, wasted on my part as well as on yours).


The first problem confronting the chess spectator is to find some people who are playing. The bigger the city, the harder it is to find anyone indulging in chess. In a small town you can usually go straight to Wilbur Tatnuck's General Store, and be fairly sure of finding a quiet game in progress over behind the stove and the crate of pilot-biscuit, but as you draw away from the mitten district you find the sporting instinct of the population cropping out in other lines and chess becoming more and more restricted to the sheltered corners of Y.M.C.A. club-rooms and exclusive social organizations.

However, we shall have to suppose, in order to get any article written at all, that you have found two people playing chess somewhere. They probably will neither see nor hear you as you come up on them so you can stand directly behind the one who is defending the south goal without fear of detection.


At first you may think that they are both dead, but a mirror held to the lips of the nearest contestant will probably show moisture (unless, of course, they really should be dead, which would be a horrible ending for a little lark like this. I once heard of a murderer who propped his two victims up against a chess board in sporting attitudes and was able to get as far as Seattle before his crime was discovered).

Soon you will observe a slight twitching of an eye-lid or a moistening of the lips and then, like a greatly retarded moving-picture of a person passing the salt, one of the players will lift a chess-man from one spot on the board and place it on another spot.

It would be best not to stand too close to the board at this time as you are are likely to be trampled on in the excitement. For this action that you have just witnessed corresponds to a run around right end in a football game or a two-bagger in baseball, and is likely to cause considerable enthusiasm on the one hand and deep depression on the other. They may even forget themselves to the point of shifting their feet or changing the hands on which they are resting their foreheads. Almost anything is liable to happen.

When the commotion has died down a little, it will be safe for you to walk around and stand behind the other player and wait there for the next move. While waiting it would be best to stand with the weight of your body evenly distributed between your two feet, for you will probably be standing there a long time and if you bear down on one foot all of the time, that foot is bound to get tired. A comfortable stance for watching chess is with the feet slightly apart (perhaps a foot or a foot and a half), with a slight bend at the knees to rest the legs and the weight of the body thrown forward on the balls of the feet. A rhythmic rising on the toes, holding the hands behind the back, the head well up and the chest out, introduces a note of variety into the position which will be welcome along about dusk.

Not knowing anything about the game, you will perhaps find it difficult at first to keep your attention on the board. This can be accomplished by means of several little optical tricks. For instance, if you look at the black and white squares on the board very hard and for a very long time, they will appear to jump about and change places. The black squares will rise from the board about a quarter of an inch and slightly overlap the white ones. Then, if you change focus suddenly, the white squares will do the same thing to the black ones. And finally, after doing this until someone asks you what you are looking cross-eyed for, if you will shut your eyes tight you will see an exact reproduction of the chess-board, done in pink and green, in your mind's eye. By this time, the players will be almost ready for another move.

This will make two moves that you have watched. It is now time to get a little fancy work into your game. About an hour will have already gone by and you should be so thoroughly grounded in the fundamentals of chess watching that you can proceed to the next step.

Have some one of your friends bring you a chair, a table and an old pyrography outfit, together with some book-ends on which to burn a design.

Seat yourself at the table in the chair and (if I remember the process correctly) squeeze the bulb attached to the needle until the latter becomes red hot. Then, grasping the book-ends in the left hand, carefully trace around the pencilled design with the point of the needle. It probably will be a picture of the Lion of Lucerne, and you will let the needle slip on the way round the face, giving it the appearance of having shaved in a Pullman that morning. But that really won't make any difference, for the whole thing is not so much to do a nice pair of book-ends as to help you along in watching the chess-match.

If you have any scruples against burning wood, you may knit something, or paste stamps in an album.

And before you know it, the game will be over and you can put on your things and go home.




Eighteen men play a game of baseball and eighteen thousand watch them, and yet those who play are the only ones who have any official direction in the matter of rules and regulations. The eighteen thousand are allowed to run wild. They don't have even a Spalding's Guide containing group photographs of model organizations of fans in Fall River, Mass., or the Junior Rooters of Lyons, Nebraska. Whatever course of behavior a fan follows at a game he makes up for himself. This is, of course, ridiculous.

The first set of official rulings for spectators at baseball games has been formulated and is herewith reproduced. It is to be hoped that in the general cleanup which the game is undergoing, the grandstand and bleachers will not resent a little dictation from the authorities.

In the first place, there is the question of shouting encouragement, or otherwise, at the players. There must be no more random screaming. It is of course understood that the players are entirely dependent on the advice offered them from the stands for their actions in the game, and how is a batter to know what to do if, for instance, he hears a little man in the bleachers shouting, "Wait for 'em, Wally! Wait for 'em," and another little man in the south stand shouting "Take a crack at the first one, Wally!"? What would you do? What would Lincoln have done?

The official advisers in the stands must work together. They must remember that as the batter advances toward the plate he is listening for them to give him his instructions, and if he hears conflicting advice there is no telling what he may do. He may even have to decide for himself.

Therefore, before each player goes to bat, there should be a conference among the fans who have ideas on what his course of action should be, and as soon as a majority have come to a decision, the advice should be shouted to the player in unison under the direction of a cheer-leader. If there are any dissenting opinions, they may be expressed in a minority report.

In the matter of hostile remarks addressed at an unpopular player on the visiting team, it would probably be better to leave the wording entirely to the individual fans. Each man has his own talents in this sort of thing and should be allowed to develop them along natural lines. In such crises as these in which it becomes necessary to rattle the opposing pitcher or prevent the visiting catcher from getting a difficult foul, all considerations of good sportsmanship should be discarded. As a matter of fact, it is doubtful if good sportsmanship should ever be allowed to interfere with the fan's participation in a contest. The game must be kept free from all softening influences.

One of the chief duties of the fan is to engage in arguments with the man behind him. This department of the game has been allowed to run down fearfully. A great many men go to a ball game today and never speak a word to anyone other than the members of their own party or an occasional word of cheer to a player. This is nothing short of craven.

An ardent supporter of the home-team should go to a game prepared to take offense, no matter what happens. He should be equipped with a stock of ready sallies which can be used regardless of what the argument is about or what has gone before in the exchange of words. Among the more popular nuggets of repartee, effective on all occasions, are the following:

"Oh, is that so?"


"How do you get that way?"

"Oh, is that so?"

"So are you."

"Aw, go have your hair bobbed."

"Oh, is that so?"

"Well, what are you going to do about it?"

"Who says so?"

"Eah? Well, I'll Cincinnati you."

"Oh, is that so?"

Any one of these, if hurled with sufficient venom, is good for ten points. And it should always be borne in mind that there is no danger of physical harm resulting from even the most ferocious-sounding argument. Statistics gathered by the War Department show that the percentage of actual blows struck in grandstand arguments is one in every 43,000,000.

For those fans who are occasionally obliged to take inexperienced lady-friends to a game, a special set of rules has been drawn up. These include the compulsory purchase of tickets in what is called the "Explaining Section," a block of seats set aside by the management for the purpose. The view of the diamond from this section is not very good, but it doesn't matter, as the men wouldn't see anything of the game anyway and the women can see just enough to give them material for questions and to whet their curiosity. As everyone around you is answering questions and trying to explain score-keeping, there is not the embarrassment which is usually attendant on being overheard by unattached fans in the vicinity. There is also not the distracting sound of breaking pencils and modified cursing to interfere with unattached fans' enjoyment of the game.

Absolutely no gentlemen with uninformed ladies will be admitted to the main stand. In order to enforce this regulation, a short examination on the rudiments of the game will take place at the gate, in which ladies will be expected to answer briefly the following questions: (Women examiners will be in attendance.)

1. What game is it that is being played on this field?

2. How many games have you seen before?

3. What is (a) a pitcher; (b) a base; (c) a bat?

4. What color uniform does the home-team wear?

5. What is the name of the home-team?

6. In the following sentence, cross out the incorrect statements, leaving the correct one: The catcher stands (1) directly behind the pitcher in the pitcher's box; (2) at the gate taking tickets; (3) behind the batter; (4) at the bottom of the main aisle, selling ginger-ale.

7. What again is the name of the game you expect to see played?

8. Do you cry easily?

9. Is there anything else you would rather be doing this afternoon?

10. If so, please go and do it.

It has been decided that the American baseball fan should have a distinctive dress. A choice has been made from among the more popular styles and the following has been designated as regulation, embodying, as it does, the spirit and tone of the great national pastime.

Straw hat, worn well back on the head; one cigar, unlighted, held between teeth; coat held across knees; vest worn but unbuttoned and open, displaying both a belt and suspenders, with gold watch-chain connecting the bottom pockets.

The vest may be an added expense to certain fans who do not wear vests during the summer months, but it has been decided that it is absolutely essential to the complete costume, and no true baseball enthusiast will hesitate in complying.



The danger in watching gardening, as in watching many other sports, is that you may be drawn into it yourself. This you must fight against. Your sinecure standing depends on a rigid abstinence from any of the work itself. Once you stoop over to hold one end of a string for a groaning planter, once you lift one shovelful of earth or toss out one stone, you become a worker and a worker is an abomination in the eyes of the true garden watcher.

A fence is, therefore, a great help. You may take up your position on the other side of the fence from the garden and lean heavily against it smoking a pipe, or you may even sit on it. Anything so long as you are out of helping distance and yet near enough so that the worker will be within easy range of your voice. You ought to be able to point a great deal, also.

There is much to be watched during the early stages of garden-preparation. Nothing is so satisfying as to lean ruminatingly against a fence and observe the slow, rhythmic swing of the digger's back or hear the repeated scraping of the shovel-edge against some buried rock. It sometimes is a help to the digger to sing a chanty, just to give him the beat. And then sometimes it is not. He will tell you in case he doesn't need it.

There is always a great deal for the watcher to do in the nature of comment on the soil. This is especially true if it is a new garden or has never been cultivated before by the present owner. The idea is to keep the owner from becoming too sanguine over the prospects.

"That soil looks pretty clayey," is a good thing to say. (It is hard to say, clearly, too. You had better practise it before trying it out on the gardener).

"I don't think that you'll have much luck with potatoes in that kind of earth," is another helpful approach. It is even better to go at it the other way, finding out first what the owner expects to plant. It may be that he isn't going to plant any potatoes, and then there you are, stuck with a perfectly dandy prediction which has no bearing on the case. It is time enough to pull it after he has told you that he expects to plant peas, beans, beets, corn. Then you can interrupt him and say: "Corn?" incredulously. "You don't expect to get any corn in that soil do you? Don't you know that corn requires a large percentage of bi-carbonate of soda in the soil, and I don't think, from the looks, that there is an ounce of soda bi-carb. in your whole plot. Even if the corn does come up, it will be so tough you can't eat it."

Then you can laugh, and call out to a neighbor, or even to the man's wife: "Hey, what do you know? Steve here thinks he's going to get some corn up in this soil!"

The watcher will find plenty to do when the time comes to pick the stones out of the freshly turned-over earth. It is his work to get upon a high place where he can survey the whole garden and detect the more obvious rocks.

"Here is a big fella over here, Steve," he may say. Or: "Just run your rake a little over in that corner. I'll bet you'll find a nest of them there."

"Plymouth Rock" is a funny thing to call any particularly offensive boulder, and is sure to get a laugh, especially if you kid the digger good-naturedly about being a Pilgrim and landing on it. He may even give it to you to keep.

Just as a matter of convenience for the worker, watchers have sometimes gone to the trouble of keeping count of the number of stones thrown out. This is done by shouting out the count after each stone has been tossed. It makes a sort of game of the thing, and in this spirit the digger may be urged on to make a record.

"That's forty-eight, old man! Come on now, make her fifty. Attaboy, forty-nine! Only one more to go. We-want-fifty-we-want-fifty-we-want fifty."

And not only stones will be found, but queer objects which have got themselves buried in the ground during the winter-months and have become metamorphosed, so they are half way between one thing and another. As the digger holds one of these objets dirt gingerly between his thumb and forefinger the watcher has plenty of opportunity to shout out:

"You'd better save that. It may come in handy some day. What is it, Eddie? Your old beard?"

And funny cracks like that.

Here is where it is going to be difficult to keep to your resolution about not helping. After the digging, and stoning, and turning-over has been done, and the ground is all nice and soft and loamy, the idea of running a rake softly over the susceptible surface and leaving a beautiful even design in its wake, is almost too tempting to be withstood.

The worker himself will do all that he can to make it hard for you. He will rake with evident delight, much longer than is necessary, back and forth, across and back, cocking his head and surveying the pattern and fixing it up along the edges with a care which is nothing short of insulting considering the fact that the whole thing has got to be mussed up again when the planting begins.

If you feel that you can no longer stand it without offering to assist, get down from the fence and go into your own house and up to your own room. There pray for strength. By the time you come down, the owner of the garden ought to have stopped raking and got started on the planting.

Here the watcher's task is almost entirely advisory. And, for the first part of the planting, he should lie low and say nothing. Wait until the planter has got his rows marked out and has wobbled along on his knees pressing the seeds into perhaps half the length of his first row. Then say:

"Hey there, Charlie! You've got those rows going the wrong way."

Charlie will say no he hasn't. Then he will ask what you mean the wrong way.

"Why, you poor cod, you've got them running north and south. They ought to go east and west. The sun rises over there, doesn't it?" (Charlie will attempt to deny this, but you must go right on.) "And it comes on up behind that tree and over my roof and sets over there, doesn't it?" (By this time, Charlie will be crying with rage.) "Well, just as soon as your beans get up an inch or two they are going to cast a shadow right down the whole row and only those in front will ever get any sun. You can't grow things without sun, you know."

If Charlie takes you seriously and starts in to rearrange his rows in the other direction, you might perhaps get down off the fence and go in the house. You have done enough. If he doesn't take you seriously, you surely had better go in.



Announcements have been made of a bull-fight to be held in Madison Square Garden, New York, in which only the more humane features of the Spanish institution are to be retained. The bull will not be killed, or even hurt, and horses will not be used as bait.

If a bull-fight must be held, this is of course the way to hold it, but what features are to be substituted for the playful gorings and stabbings of the Madrid system? Something must be done to enrage the bull, otherwise he will just sulk in a corner or walk out on the whole affair. Following is a suggestion for the program of events:

1. Grand parade around the ring, headed by a brass-band and the mayor in matador's costume. Invitations to march in this parade will be issued to every one in the bull-fighting set with the exception of the bull, who will be ignored. This will make him pretty sore to start with.

2. After the marchers have been seated, the bull will be led into the ring. An organized cheering section among the spectators will immediately start jeering him, whistling, and calling "Take off those horns, we know you!"

3. The picadors will now enter, bearing pikes with ticklers on the ends. These will be brushed across the bull's nose as the picadors rush past him on noisy motor-cycles. The noise of the motor-cycles is counted on to irritate the bull quite as much as the ticklers, as he will probably be trying to sleep at the time.

4. Enter the bandilleros, carrying various ornate articles of girls' clothing (daisy-hat with blue ribbons, pink sash, lace jabot, etc.) which will, one by one, be hung on the bull when he isn't looking. In order to accomplish this, one of the bandilleros will engage the animal in conversation while another sneaks up behind him with the frippery. When he is quite trimmed, the bandilleros will withdraw to behind a shelter and call him: "Lizzie!"

5. By this time, the bull will be almost crying he will be so sore. This is the moment for the entrance of the intrepid matador. The matador will wear an outing cap with a cutaway and Jaeger vest, and the animal will become so infuriated by this inexcusable mesalliance of garments that he will charge madly at his antagonist. The matador, who will be equipped with boxing-gloves, will feint with his left and pull the daisy-hat down over the bull's eyes with his right, immediately afterward stepping quickly to one side. The bull, blinded by the daisies, will not know where to go next and soon will laughingly admit that the joke has been on him. He will then allow the matador to jump on his back and ride around the ring, making good-natured attempts to unseat his rider.



Somewhere or other the legend has sprung up that, as soon as the family goes away for the summer, Daddy brushes the hair over his bald spot, ties up his shoes, and goes out on a whirlwind trip through the hellish districts of town. The funny papers are responsible for this, just as they are responsible for the idea that all millionaires are fat and that Negroes are inordinately fond of watermelons.

I will not deny that for just about four minutes after the train has left, bearing Mother, Sister, Junior, Ingabog and the mechanical walrus on their way to Anybunkport, Daddy is suffused with a certain queer feeling of being eleven years old and down-town alone for the first time with fifteen cents to spend on anything he wants. The city seems to spread itself out before him just ablaze with lights and his feet rise lightly from the ground as if attached to toy balloons. I do not deny that his first move is to straighten his tie.

But five minutes would be a generous allowance for the duration of this foot-loose elation. As he leaves the station he suddenly becomes aware of the fact that no one else has heard about his being fancy-free. Everyone seems to be going somewhere in a very important manner. A great many people, oddly enough seem to be going home. Ordinarily he would be going home, too. But there would not be much sense in going home now, without—. But come, come, this is no way to feel! Buck up, man! How about a wild oat or two?

Around at the club the doorman says that Mr. McNartly hasn't been in all afternoon and that Mr. Freem was in at about four-thirty but went out again with a bag. There is no one in the lounge whom he ever saw before. A lot of new members must have been taken in at the last meeting. The club is running down fast. He calls up Eddie Mastayer's office but he has gone for the day. Oh, well, someone will probably come in for dinner. He hasn't eaten dinner at the club for a long time and there will be just time for a swim before settling down to a nice piece of salmon steak.

All the new members seem to be congregated now in the pool and they look him over as if he were a fresh-air child being given a day's outing. He becomes self-conscious and slips on the marble floor, falling and hurting his shin quite badly. Who the hell are these people anyway? And where is the old bunch? He emerges from the locker room much hotter than he was before and in addition, boiling with rage.

Dinner is one of the most depressing rituals he has ever gone through with. Even the waiters seem unfamiliar. Once he even gets up and goes out to the front of the building to see if he hasn't got into the wrong club-house by mistake. Pretty soon a terrible person whose name is either Riegle or Ropple comes and sits down with him, offering as his share of the conversation the dogmatic announcement that it has been hotter today than it was yesterday. This is denied with some feeling, although it is known to be true. Dessert is dispensed with for the sake of getting away from Riegle or Ropple or whatever his name is.

Then the first gay evening looms up ahead. What to do? There is nothing to prevent his drawing all the money out of the bank and tearing the town wide open from the City Hall to the Soldier's Monument. There is nothing to prevent his formally introducing himself to some nice blonde and watching her get the meat out of a lobster-claw. There is nothing to prevent his hiring some bootlegger to anoint him with synthetic gin until he glows like a fire-fly and imagines that he has just been elected Mayor on a Free Ice-Cream ticket. Absolutely nothing stands in his way, except a dispairing vision of crepe letters before his eyes reading:"—And For What?"

He ends up by going to the movies where he falls asleep. Rather than go home to the empty house he stays at the club. In the morning he is at the office at a quarter to seven.

Now there ought to be several things that a man could do at home to relieve the tedium of his existence while the family is away. Once you get accustomed to the sound of your footsteps on the floors and reach a state of self-control where you don't break down and sob every time you run into a toy which has been left standing around, there are lots of ways of keeping yourself amused in an empty house.

You can set the victrola going and dance. You may never have had an opportunity to get off by yourself and practice those new steps without someone's coming suddenly into the room and making you look foolish. (That's one big advantage about being absolutely alone in a house. You can't look foolish, no matter what you do. You may be foolish, but no one except you and your God knows about it and God probably has a great deal too much to do to go around telling people how foolish you were). So roll back the rugs and put on "Kalua" and, holding out one arm in as fancy a manner as you wish, slip the other daintily about the waist of an imaginary partner and step out. You'd be surprised to see how graceful you are. Pretty soon you will get confidence to try a few tricks. A very nice one is to stop in the middle of a step, point the left toe delicately twice in time to the music, dip, and whirl. It makes no difference if you fall on the whirl. Who cares? And when you are through dancing you can go out to the faucet and get yourself a drink—provided the water hasn't been turned off.

Lots of fun may also be had by going out into the kitchen and making things with whatever is left in the pantry. There will probably be plenty of salt and nutmegs, with boxes of cooking soda, tapioca, corn-starch and maybe, if you are lucky, an old bottle of olives. Get out a cook-book and choose something that looks nice in the picture. In place of the ingredients which you do not have, substitute those which you do, thus: nutmegs for eggs, tapioca for truffles, corn-starch and water for milk, and so forth and so forth. Then go in and set the table according to the instructions in the cook-book for a Washington's Birthday party, light the candles, and with one of them set fire to the house.

There is probably a night-train for Anybunkport which you can catch while the place is still burning.

* * * * *

To those male readers whose families are away for the summer:

Tear the above story out along dotted line and mail it to the folks, writing in pencil across the top "This guy has struck it about right." Then drop around tonight at seven-thirty to Eddie's apartment. Joe Reddish, John Liftwich, Harry Thibault and three others will be there and the limit will be fifty cents. Game will absolutely break up at one-thirty. No fooling. One-thirty and not a minute longer.



Inside Points on Building and Maintaining a Private Tennis Court

Now that the Great War is practically over, until the next one begins there isn't very much that you can do with that large plot of ground which used to be your war-garden. It is too small for a running-track and too large for nasturtiums. Obviously, the only thing left is a tennis-court.

One really ought to have a tennis-court of one's own. Those at the Club are always so full that on Saturdays and Sundays the people waiting to play look like the gallery at a Davis Cup match, and even when you do get located you have two sets of balls to chase, yours and those of the people in the next court.

The first thing is to decide among yourselves just what kind of court it is to be. There are three kinds: grass, clay, and corn-meal. In Maine, gravel courts are also very popular. Father will usually hold out for a grass court because it gives a slower bounce to the ball and Father isn't so quick on the bounce as he used to be. All Mother insists on is plenty of headroom. Junior and Myrtis will want a clay one because you can dance on a clay one in the evening. The court as finished will be a combination grass and dirt, with a little golden-rod late in August.

A little study will be necessary before laying out the court. I mean you can't just go out and mark a court by guess-work. You must first learn what the dimensions are supposed to be and get as near to them as is humanly possible. Whereas there might be a slight margin for error in some measurements, it is absolutely essential that both sides are the same length, otherwise you might end up by lobbing back to yourself if you got very excited.

The worst place to get the dope on how to arrange a tennis-court is in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The article on TENNIS was evidently written by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It begins by explaining that in America tennis is called "court tennis." The only answer to that is, "You're a cock-eyed liar!" The whole article is like this.

The name "tennis," it says, probably comes from the French "Tenez!" meaning "Take it! Play!" More likely, in my opinion, it is derived from the Polish "Tinith!" meaning "Go on, that was not outside!"

During the Fourteenth Century the game was played by the highest people in France. Louis X died from a chill contracted after playing. Charles V was devoted to it, although he tried in vain to stop it as a pastime for the lower classes (the origin of the country-club); Charles VI watched it being played from the room where he was confined during his attack of insanity and Du Guesclin amused himself with it during the siege of Dinan. And, although it doesn't say so in the Encyclopaedia, Robert C. Benchley, after playing for the first time in the season of 1922, was so lame under the right shoulder-blade that he couldn't lift a glass to his mouth.

This fascinating historical survey of tennis goes on to say that in the reign of Henri IV the game was so popular that it was said that "there were more tennis-players in Paris than drunkards in England." The drunkards of England were so upset by this boast that they immediately started a drive for membership with the slogan, "Five thousand more drunkards by April 15, and to Hell with France!" One thing led to another until war was declared.

The net does not appear until the 17th century. Up until that time a rope, either fringed or tasseled, was stretched across the court. This probably had to be abandoned because it was so easy to crawl under it and chase your opponent. There might also have been ample opportunity for the person playing at the net or at the "rope," to catch the eye of the player directly opposite by waving his racquet high in the air and then to kick him under the rope, knocking him for a loop while the ball was being put into play in his territory. You have to watch these Frenchmen every minute.

The Encyclopedia Britannica gives fifteen lines to "Tennis in America." It says that "few tennis courts existed in America before 1880, but that now there are courts in Boston, New York, Chicago, Tuxedo and Lakewood and several other places." Everyone try hard to think now just where those other places are!

Which reminds us that one of them is going to be in your side yard where the garden used to be. After you have got the dimensions from the Encyclopaedia, call up a professional tennis-court maker and get him to do the job for you. Just tell him that you want "a tennis-court."

Once it is built the fun begins. According to the arrangement, each member of the family is to have certain hours during which it belongs to them and no one else. Thus the children can play before breakfast and after breakfast until the sun gets around so that the west court is shady. Then Daddy and Mother and sprightly friends may take it over. Later in the afternoon the children have it again, and if there is any light left after dinner Daddy can take a whirl at the ball.

What actually will happen is this: Right after breakfast Roger Beeman, who lives across the street and who is home for the summer with a couple of college friends who are just dandy looking, will come over and ask if they may use the court until someone wants it. They will let Myrtis play with them and perhaps Myrtis' girl-chum from Westover. They will play five sets, running into scores like 19-17, and at lunch time will make plans for a ride into the country for the afternoon. Daddy will stick around in the offing all dressed up in his tennis-clothes waiting to play with Uncle Ted, but somehow or other every time he approaches the court the young people will be in the middle of a set.

After lunch, Lillian Nieman, who lives three houses down the street, will come up and ask if she may bring her cousin (just on from the West) to play a set until someone wants the court. Lillian's cousin has never played tennis before but she has done a lot of croquet and thinks she ought to pick tennis up rather easily. For three hours there is a great deal of screaming, with Lillian and her cousin hitting the ball an aggregate of eleven times, while Daddy patters up and down the side-lines, all dressed up in white, practising shots against the netting.

Finally, the girls will ask him to play with them, and he will thank them and say that he has to go in the house now as he is all perspiration and is afraid of catching cold.

After dinner there is dancing on the court by the young people. Anyway, Daddy is getting pretty old for tennis.



In a recent book entitled, "The Psychic Life of Insects," Professor Bouvier says that we must be careful not to credit the little winged fellows with intelligence when they behave in what seems like an intelligent manner. They may be only reacting. I would like to confront the Professor with an instance of reasoning power on the part of an insect which can not be explained away in any such manner.

During the summer of 1899, while I was at work on my treatise "Do Larvae Laugh," we kept a female wasp at our cottage in the Adirondacks. It really was more like a child of our own than a wasp, except that it looked more like a wasp than a child of our own. That was one of the ways we told the difference.

It was still a young wasp when we got it (thirteen or fourteen years old) and for some time we could not get it to eat or drink, it was so shy. Since it was a, female, we decided to call it Miriam, but soon the children's nickname for it—"Pudge"—became a fixture, and "Pudge" it was from that time on.

One evening I had been working late in my laboratory fooling round with some gin and other chemicals, and in leaving the room I tripped over a nine of diamonds which someone had left lying on the floor and knocked over my card catalogue containing the names and addresses of all the larvae worth knowing in North America. The cards went everywhere.

I was too tired to stop to pick them up that night, and went sobbing to bed, just as mad as I could be. As I went, however, I noticed the wasp flying about in circles over the scattered cards. "Maybe Pudge will pick them up," I said half-laughingly to myself, never thinking for one moment that such would be the case.

When I came down the next morning Pudge was still asleep over in her box, evidently tired out. And well she might have been. For there on the floor lay the cards scattered all about just as I had left them the night before. The faithful little insect had buzzed about all night trying to come to some decision about picking them up and arranging them in the catalogue-box, and then, figuring out for herself that, as she knew practically nothing about larvae of any sort except wasp-larvae, she would probably make more of a mess of rearranging them than as if she left them on the floor for me to fix. It was just too much for her to tackle, and, discouraged, she went over and lay down in her box, where she cried herself to sleep.

If this is not an answer to Professor Bouvier's statement that insects have no reasoning power, I do not know what is.



The opening week of the baseball season brought out few surprises. The line-up in the grandstands was practically the same as when the season closed last Fall, most of the fans busying themselves before the first game started by picking old 1921 seat checks and October peanut crumbs out of the pockets of their light-weight overcoats.

Old-timers on the two teams recognized the familiar faces in the bleachers and were quick to give them a welcoming cheer. The game by innings as it was conducted by the spectators is as follows:

FIRST INNING: Scanlon, sitting in the first-base bleachers, yelled to Ruth to lead off with a homer. Thibbets sharpened his pencil. Liebman and O'Rourke, in the south stand, engaged in a bitter controversy over Peckingpaugh's last-season batting average. NO RUNS.

SECOND INNING: Scanlon yelled to Bodie to to whang out a double. Turtelot said that Bodie couldn't do it. Scanlon said "Oh, is that so?" Turtelot said "Yes, that's so and whad' yer know about that?" Bodie whanged out a double and Scanlon's collar came undone and he lost his derby. Stevens announced that this made Bodie's batting average 1000 for the season so far. Joslin laughed.

THIRD INNING: Thibbets sharpened his pencil. Zinnzer yelled to Mays to watch out for a fast one. Steinway yelled to Mays to watch out for a slow one. Mays fanned. O'Rourke called out and asked Brazill how all the little brazil-nuts were. Levy turned to O'Rourke and said he'd brazil-nut him. O'Rourke said "Eah? When do you start doing it?" Levy said: "Right now." O'Rourke said: "All right, come on. I'm waiting." Levy said: "Eah?" O'Rourke said: "Well, why don't you come, you big haddock?" Levy said he'd wait for O'Rourke outside where there weren't any ladies. NO RUNS.

FOURTH INNING: Scanlon called out to Ruth to knock a homer, Thibbets sharpened his pencil. Scanlon yelled: "Atta-boy, Babe, whad' I tell yer!" when Ruth got a single.

FIFTH INNING: Mrs. Whitebait asked Mr. Whitebait how you marked a home-run on the score-card. Mr. Whitebait said: "Why do you have to know? No one has knocked a home-run." Mrs. Whitebait said that Babe Ruth ran home in the last inning. "Yes, I know," said Mr. Whitebait, "but it wasn't a home-run." Mrs. W. asked him with some asperity just why it wasn't a home-run, if a man ran home, especially if it was Babe Ruth. Mr. W. said: "I'll tell you later. I want to watch the game." Mrs. Whitebait began to cry a little. Mr. Whitebait groaned and snatched the card away from her and marked a home-run for Ruth in the fourth inning.

SIXTH INNING: Thurston called out to Hasty not to let them fool him. Wicker said that where Hasty got fooled in the first place was when he let them tell him he could play baseball. Unknown man said that he was "too Hasty," and laughed very hard. Thurston said that Hasty was a better pitcher than Mays, when he was in form. Unknown man said "Eah?" and laughed very hard again. Wicker asked how many times in seven years Hasty was in form and Thurston replied: "Often enough for you." Unknown man said that what Hasty needed was some hasty-pudding, and laughed so hard that his friend had to take him out.

Thibbets sharpened his pencil.

SEVENTH INNING: Libby called "Everybody up!" as if he had just originated the idea, and seemed proudly pleased when everyone stood up. Taussig threw money to the boy for a bag of peanuts who tossed the bag to Levy who kept it. Taussig to boy to Levy.

Scanlon yelled to Ruth to come through with a homer. Ruth knocked a single and Scanlon yelled "Atta-boy, Babe! All-er way 'round! All-er way round, Babe!" Mrs. Whitebait asked Mr. Whitebait which were the Clevelands. Mr. Whitebait said very quietly that the Clevelands weren't playing to-day, just New York and Philadelphia and that only two teams could play the game at the same time, that perhaps next year they would have it so that Cleveland and Philadelphia could both play New York at once but the rules would have to be changed first. Mrs. Whitebait said that he didn't have to be so nasty about is. Mr. W. said My God, who's being nasty? Mrs. W. said that the only reason she came up with him anyway to see the Giants play was because then she knew that he wasn't off with a lot of bootleggers. Mr. W. said that it wasn't the Giants but the Yankees that she was watching and where did she get that bootlegger stuff. Mrs. W. said never mind where she got it. NO RUNS.

EIGHTH INNING: Thibbets sharpened his pencil. Litner got up and went home. Scanlon yelled to Ruth to end up the game with a homer. Ruth singled. Scanlon yelled "Atta-Babe!" and went home.

NINTH INNING: Stevens began figuring up the players' batting averages for the season thus far. Wicker called over to Thurston and asked him how Mr. Hasty was now. Thurston said "That's all right how he is." Mrs. Whitebait said that she intended to go to her sister's for dinner and that Mr. Whitebait could do as he liked. Mr. Whitebait told her to bet that he would do just that. Thibbets broke his pencil.

Score: New York 11. Philadelphia 1.



These are melancholy days for the newspaper sporting-writers. The complaints are all in from old grads of Miami who feel that there weren't enough Miami men on the All-American football team, and it is too early to begin writing about the baseball training camps. Once in a while some lady swimmer goes around a tank three hundred times, or the holder of the Class B squash championship "meets all-comers in court tilt," but aside from that, the sporting world is buried with the nuts for the winter.

Since sporting-writers must live, why not introduce a few items of general interest into their columns, accounts of the numerous contests of speed and endurance which take place during the winter months in the homes of our citizenry? For instance:

The nightly races between Mr. and Mrs. Theodore M. Twamly, to see who can get into bed first, leaving the opening of the windows and putting out of the light for the loser, was won last night for the first time this winter by Mr. Twamly. Strategy entered largely into the victory, Mr. Twamly getting into bed with most of his clothes on.

An interesting exhibition of endurance was given by Martin W. Lasbert at his home last evening when he covered the distance between the cold-water tap in his bath-room to the bedside of his young daughter, Mertice, eighteen times in three hours, this being the number of her demands for water to drink. When interviewed after the eighteenth lap, Mr. Lasbert said: "I wouldn't do it another time, not if the child were parching." Shortly after that he made his nineteenth trip.

As was exclusively predicted in these columns yesterday and in accordance with all the dope, Chester H. Flerlie suffered his sixtieth consecutive defeat last evening at the hands of the American Radiator Company, the builders of his furnace. With all respect for Mr. Flerlie's pluck in attempting, night after night, to dislodge clinkers caught in the grate, it must be admitted, even by his host of friends, that he might much better be engaged in some gainful occupation. The grate tackled by the doughty challenger last night was one of the fine-tooth comb variety (the "Non-Sifto" No. 114863), in which the clinker is caught by a patent clutch and held securely until the wrecking-crew arrives. At the end of the bout Mr. Flerlie was led away to his dressing room, suffering from lacerated hands and internal injuries. "I'm through," was his only comment.

This morning's winners in the Lymedale commuters' contest for seats on the shady side of the car on the 8:28 were L.Y. Irman, Sydney M. Gissith, John F. Nothman and Louis Leque. All the other seats were won by commuters from Loose Valley, the next station above Lymedale. In trying to scramble up the car-steps in advance of lady passengers, Merton Steef had his right shin badly skinned and hit his jaw on the bottom step. Time was not called while his injuries were being looked after.

Before an enthusiastic and notable gathering, young Lester J. Dimmik, age three, put to rout his younger brother, Carl Withney Dimmik, Jr., age two, in their matutinal contest to see which can dispose of his Wheatena first. In the early stages of the match, it began to look as if the bantamweight would win in a walk, owing to his trick of throwing spoonfuls of the breakfast food over his shoulder and under the tray of his high-chair. The referees soon put a stop to this, however, and specified that the Wheatena must be placed in the mouth. This cramped Dimmick Junior's form and it soon became impossible for him to locate his mouth at all. At this point, young Lester took the lead, which he maintained until he crossed the line an easy winner. As a reward he was relieved of the necessity of eating another dish of Wheatena.

* * * * *

Stephen L. Agnew was the lucky guest in the home of Orrin F. McNeal this week-end, beating out Lee Stable for first chance at the bath-tub on Sunday morning. Both contestants came out of their bed rooms at the same time, but Agnew's room being nearer the bath-room, he made the distance down the hall in two seconds quicker time than his somewhat heavier opponent, and was further aided by the breaks of the game when Stable dropped his sponge half-way down the straightaway. Agnew's time in the bath-room was 1 hr. and 25 minutes.



One of the minor enjoyable features of having children is the necessity of reading aloud to them the colored comic sections in the Sunday papers.

And no matter how good your intentions may have been at first to keep the things out of the house (the comic sections, not the children) sooner or later there comes a Sunday when you find that your little boy has, in some underground fashion, learned of the raucous existence of Simon Simp or the Breakback Babies, and is demanding the current installment with a fervor which will not be denied.

Sunday morning in our house has now become a time for low subterfuge on the part of Doris and me in our attempts to be somewhere else when Junior appears dragging the "funnies" (a loathsome term in itself) to be read to him. I make believe that the furnace looks as if it might fall apart at any minute if it is not watched closely, and Doris calls from upstairs that she may be some time over the weekly accounts.

But sooner or later Junior ferrets one of us out and presents himself beaming. "Now will you read me the 'funnies'?" is the dread sentence which opens the siege. It then becomes a rather ill-natured contest between Doris and me to see which can pick the more bearable pages to read, leaving the interminable ones, containing great balloons pregnant with words, for the other.

I usually find that Doris has read the Briggs page to Junior before I get downstairs, the Briggs page (and possibly the drawings of Voight's Lester De Pester) being the only department that an adult mind can dwell on and keep its self-respect. "Now I will read you Briggs," says Doris with the air of an indulgent parent, but settling down with great relish to the task, "and Daddy will read you the others."

Having been stuck for over a year with "the others" I have now reached a stage where I utilize a sort of second sight in the reading whereby the words are seen and pronounced without ever registering on my brain at all. And, as I sit with Junior impassive on my lap (just why children should so frantically seek to have the "funnies" read to them is a mystery, for they never by any chance seem to derive the slightest emotional pleasure from the recital but sit in stony silence as if they rather disapproved of the whole thing after all) I have evolved a system which enables me to carry on a little constructive thinking while reading aloud, thereby keeping the time from being entirely wasted. Heaven knows we get little enough opportunity to sit down and think things out in this busy work-a-day world, so that this little period of mental freedom is in the nature of a godsend. Thus:

What Is Being Read Aloud

"Here he says 'Gee but this is tough luck a new automobile an' no place to go' and the dog is saying 'It ain't so tough at that'. Then here in the next picture the old man says: Percy ain't in my class as a chauffeur, he ain't as fearless as me' and this one is saying 'Hello there, that looks like the old tin Lizzie that I gave to the General last year I guess I'll take a peek and see what's up' 'Well what are you doing hanging around here, what do you think this is a hotel?' 'Say where do you get that stuff you ain't no justice of the peace you know' 'Wow! Let me out let me out, I say' 'I'll show you biff biff wham zowie!' etc. etc."

Concurrent Thinking

"Here I am in the thirties and it is high time that I made something of myself. Is my job as good as I deserve? By studying nights I might fit myself for a better position in the foreign exchange department, but that would mean an outlay of money. Furthermore, is it, on the whole, wise to attempt to hurry the workings of Fate? Is not perhaps the determinist right who says that what we are and what we ever can be is already written in the books, that we can not alter the workings of Destiny one iota? This theory is, of course, tenable, but, on the whole, it seems to me that if I were to take the matter into my own hands, etc. etc."

And then, when the last pot of boiling water has been upset over the last grandfather's back, and Junior has slid down from your lap as near satisfied as he ever will be, you have ten or fifteen minutes of constructive thinking behind you, which, if practiced every Sunday, will make you President of the company within a few years.



Some Sample Outlines of Grand Opera Plots For Home Study.



SCENE: The Forests of Germany.

TIME: Antiquity.


STRUDEL, God of Rain Basso

SCHMALZ, God of Slight Drizzle Tenor

IMMERGLUeCK, Goddess of the Six Primary Colors Soprano

LUDWIG DAS EIWEISS, the Knight of the Iron Duck Baritone



The basis of "Die Meister-Genossenschaft" is an old legend of Germany which tells how the Whale got his Stomach.


The Rhine at Low Tide Just Below Weldschnoffen.—Immerglueck has grown weary of always sitting on the same rock with the same fishes swimming by every day, and sends for Schwuel to suggest something to do. Schwuel asks her how she would like to have pass before her all the wonders of the world fashioned by the hand of man. She says, rotten. He then suggests that Ringblattz, son of Pflucht, be made to appear before her and fight a mortal combat with the Iron Duck. This pleases Immerglueck and she summons to her the four dwarfs: Hot Water, Cold Water, Cool, and Cloudy. She bids them bring Ringblattz to her. They refuse, because Pflucht has at one time rescued them from being buried alive by acorns, and, in a rage, Immerglueck strikes them all dead with a thunderbolt.


A Mountain Pass.—Repenting of her deed, Immerglueck has sought advice of the giants, Offen and Besitz, and they tell her that she must procure the magic zither which confers upon its owner the power to go to sleep while apparently carrying on a conversation. This magic zither has been hidden for three hundred centuries in an old bureau drawer, guarded by the Iron Duck, and, although many have attempted to rescue it, all have died of a strange ailment just as success was within their grasp.

But Immerglueck calls to her side Dampfboot, the tinsmith of the gods, and bids him make for her a tarnhelm or invisible cap which will enable her to talk to people without their understanding a word she says. For a dollar and a half extra Dampfboot throws in a magic ring which renders its wearer insensible. Thus armed, Immerglueck starts out for Walhalla, humming to herself.


The Forest Before the Iron Duck's Bureau Drawer.—Merglitz, who has up till this time held his peace, now descends from a balloon and demands the release of Betty. It has been the will of Wotan that Merglitz and Betty should meet on earth and hate each other like poison, but Zweiback, the druggist of the gods, has disobeyed and concocted a love-potion which has rendered the young couple very unpleasant company. Wotan, enraged, destroys them with a protracted heat spell.

Encouraged by this sudden turn of affairs, Immerglueck comes to earth in a boat drawn by four white Holsteins, and, seated alone on a rock, remembers aloud to herself the days when she was a girl. Pilgrims from Augenblick, on their way to worship at the shrine of Schmuerr, hear the sound of reminiscence coming from the rock and stop in their march to sing a hymn of praise for the drying up of the crops. They do not recognize Immerglueck, as she has her hair done differently, and think that she is a beggar girl selling pencils.

In the meantime, Ragel, the papercutter of the gods, has fashioned himself a sword on the forge of Schmalz, and has called the weapon "Assistance-in-Emergency." Armed with "Assistance-in-Emergency" he comes to earth, determined to slay the Iron Duck and carry off the beautiful Irma.

But Frimsel overhears the plan and has a drink brewed which is given to Ragel in a golden goblet and which, when drunk, makes him forget his past and causes him to believe that he is Schnorr, the God of Fun. While laboring under this spell, Ragel has a funeral pyre built on the summit of a high mountain and, after lighting it, climbs on top of it with a mandolin which he plays until he is consumed.

Immerglueck never marries.




SCENE: Venice and Old Point Comfort.

TIME: Early 16th Century.


ALFONSO, Duke of Minnestrone Baritone

PARTOLA, a Peasant Girl Soprano

CLEANSO } { Tenor TURINO } Young Noblemen of Venice. { Tenor BOMBO } { Basso

LUDOVICO} Assassins in the service of { Basso ASTOLFO } Cafeteria Rusticana { Methodist

Townspeople, Cabbies and Sparrows


"Il Minnestrone" is an allegory of the two sides of a man's nature (good and bad), ending at last in an awfully comical mess with everyone dead.


A Public Square, Ferrara.—During a peasant festival held to celebrate the sixth consecutive day of rain, Rudolpho, a young nobleman, sees Lilliano, daughter of the village bell-ringer, dancing along throwing artificial roses at herself. He asks of his secretary who the young woman is, and his secretary, in order to confuse Rudolpho and thereby win the hand of his ward, tells him that it is his (Rudolpho's) own mother, disguised for the festival. Rudolpho is astounded. He orders her arrest.


Banquet Hall in Gorgio's Palace.—Lilliano has not forgotten Breda, her old nurse, in spite of her troubles, and determines to avenge herself for the many insults she received in her youth by poisoning her (Breda). She therefore invites the old nurse to a banquet and poisons her. Presently a knock is heard. It is Ugolfo. He has come to carry away the body of Michelo and to leave an extra quart of pasteurized. Lilliano tells him that she no longer loves him, at which he goes away, dragging his feet sulkily.


In Front of Emilo's House.—Still thinking of the old man's curse, Borsa has an interview with Cleanso, believing him to be the Duke's wife. He tells him things can't go on as they are, and Cleanso stabs him. Just at this moment Betty comes rushing in from school and falls in a faint. Her worst fears have been realized. She has been insulted by Sigmundo, and presently dies of old age. In a fury, Ugolfo rushes out to kill Sigmundo and, as he does so, the dying Rosenblatt rises on one elbow and curses his mother.



SCENE: Wales.

TIME: 1700 (Greenwich).


WILLIAM WONT, Lord of Glennnn Basso

LUCY WAGSTAFF, his daughter Soprano

BERTRAM, her lover Tenor

LORD ROGER, friend of Bertram. Soprano

Irma, attendant to Lucy Basso

Friends, Retainers and Members of the local Lodge of Elks.


"Lucy de Lima," is founded on the well-known story by Boccaccio of the same name and address.


Gypsy Camp Near Waterbury.—The gypsies, led by Edith, go singing through the camp on the way to the fair. Following them comes Despard, the gypsy leader, carrying Ethel, whom he has just kidnapped from her father, who had previously just kidnapped her from her mother. Despard places Ethel on the ground and tells Mona, the old hag, to watch over her. Mona nurses a secret grudge against Despard for having once cut off her leg and decides to change Ethel for Nettie, another kidnapped child. Ethel pleads with Mona to let her stay with Despard, for she has fallen in love with him on the ride over. But Mona is obdurate.


The Fair.—A crowd of sightseers and villagers is present. Roger appears, looking for Laura. He can not find her. Laura appears, looking for Roger. She can not find him. The gypsy queen approaches Roger and thrusts into his hand the locket stolen from Lord Brym. Roger looks at it and is frozen with astonishment, for it contains the portrait of his mother when she was in high school. He then realizes that Laura must be his sister, and starts out to find her.


Hall in the Castle.—Lucy is seen surrounded by every luxury, but her heart is sad. She has just been shown a forged letter from Stewart saying that he no longer loves her, and she remembers her old free life in the mountains and longs for another romp with Ravensbane and Wolfshead, her old pair of rompers. The guests begin to assemble for the wedding, each bringing a roast ox. They chide Lucy for not having her dress changed. Just at this moment the gypsy band bursts in and Cleon tells the wedding party that Elsie and not Edith is the child who was stolen from the summer-house, showing the blood-stained derby as proof. At this, Lord Brym repents and gives his blessing on the pair, while the fishermen and their wives celebrate in the courtyard.



Since we were determined to have Junior educated according to modern methods of child training, a year and a half did not seem too early an age at which to begin. As Doris said: "There is no reason why a child of a year and a half shouldn't have rudimentary cravings for self-expression." And really, there isn't any reason, when you come right down to it.

Doris had been reading books on the subject, and had been talking with Mrs. Deemster. Most of the trouble in our town can be traced back to someone's having been talking with Mrs. Deemster. Mrs. Deemster brings an evangelical note into the simplest social conversations, so that by the time your wife is through the second piece of cinnamon toast she is convinced that all children should have their knee-pants removed before they are four, or that you should hire four servants a day on three-hour shifts, or that, as in the present case, no child should be sent to a regular school until he has determined for himself what his profession is going to be and then should be sent straight from the home to Johns Hopkins or the Sorbonne.

Junior was to be left entirely to himself, the theory being that he would find self-expression in some form or other, and that by watching him carefully it could be determined just what should be developed in him, or, rather, just what he should be allowed to develop in himself. He was not to be corrected in any way, or guided, and he was to call us "Doris" and "Monty" instead of "Mother" and "Father." We were to be just pals, nothing more. Otherwise, his individuality would become submerged. I was, however, to be allowed to pay what few bills he might incur until he should find himself.

The first month that Junior was "on his own," striving for self-expression, he spent practically every waking hour of each day in picking the mortar out from between the bricks in the fire-place and eating it.

"Don't you think you ought to suggest to him that nobody who really is anybody eats mortar?" I said.

"I don't like to interfere," replied Doris. "I'm trying to figure out what it may mean. He may have the makings of a sculptor in him." But one could see that she was a little worried, so I didn't say the cheap and obvious thing, that at any rate he had the makings of a sculpture in him or would have in a few more days of self-expression.

Soft putty was put at his disposal, in case he might feel like doing a little modeling. We didn't expect much of him at first, of course; maybe just a panther or a little General Sherman; but if that was to be his metier we weren't going to have it said that his career was nipped in the bud for the lack of a little putty.

* * * * *

The first thing that he did was to stop up the keyhole in the bath-room door while I was in the tub, so that I had to crawl out on the piazza roof and into the guest-room window. It did seem as if there might be some way of preventing a recurrence of that sort of thing without submerging his individuality too much. But Doris said no. If he were disciplined now, he would grow up nursing a complex against putty and against me and might even try to marry Aunt Marian. She had read of a little boy who had been punished by his father for putting soap on the cellar stairs, and from that time on, all the rest of his life, every time he saw soap he went to bed and dreamed that he was riding in the cab of a runaway engine dressed as Perriot, which meant, of course, that he had a suppressed desire to kill his father.

It almost seemed, however, as if the risk were worth taking if Junior could be shown the fundamentally anti-social nature of an act like stuffing keyholes with putty, but nothing was done about it except to take the putty supply away for that day.

The chief trouble came, however, in Junior's contacts with other neighborhood children whose parents had not seen the light. When Junior would lead a movement among the young bloods to pull up the Hemmings' nasturtiums or would show flashes of personality by hitting little Leda Hemming over the forehead with a trowel, Mrs. Hemming could never be made to see that to reprimand Junior would be to crush out his God-given individuality. All she would say was, "Just look at those nasturtiums!" over and over again. And the Hemming children were given to understand that it would be all right if they didn't play with Junior quite so much.

1  2  3  4     Next Part
Home - Random Browse