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conversation, Alfred E. Smith is neither crusader nor prophet, but a very ordinary man.

Except for one habit. He gets things done.

He saw the state government topheavy with departments and bureaus, choked with officials and wrapped in red tape. Driving his political enemies in front of him, taking their chiefs into his camp, he stripped the government of its useless, wasteful parts and left it free to function efficiently. Reorganization, long an issue in political councils, to Smith was a matter of course. The situation was desperate; he found an almost instant remedy.

The appalling death toll of the grade crossings distressed and angered him. He decided the state should pay its share in eliminating the crossings, campaigned for a bond issue to supply the funds, and started the work on its way. Last winter he found it was progressing too slowly. A word to George B. Graves, his secretary-assistant, and the railroad executives were summoned to Albany. Why wasn't the programme moving faster? Smith wanted action.

He found the hospitals and institutions of the state in poor condition. The buildings were antiquated and their equipment was inadequate. Smith determined at once that new buildings must be put up and new equipment installed. The Republicans demurred at the cost. Smith countered with the proposal of a bond issue, and when there were signs of opposition he went direct to the people: 'We need this money. Will you give it to us?' Of course they would.

It is not a very inspiring cult, perhaps, this cult of direct action, but it gets results. The business of the state has speeded up. Men work harder and faster at the Capitol than they did in the old days. There is very little theory about it, but there is a deal of

accomplishment. A simple, direct mind is at the helm; the ship's course is not devious.

Smith meets every attack with a counterattack so open, so vigorous, that the subtler methods of his opponents are made laughable. His letter to Marshall, his answer to the appeal of the Jamaica klansmen, were masterpieces of strategy, because they were so devoid of strategic manoeuvring. Smith had something to say. He made no attempt to ornament it or to disguise it. He said it.

Many men dislike what Smith says and does; most men respect the directness and vigor of his thought. Albany is a hotbed of lobbyists. During the session of the legislature, every third person in the city has some axe to grind on Capitol Hill. If it is a question of taxation, there are the realty men who complain bitterly of the unjust burden put on real estate; there are the representatives of the auto clubs who have decided opinions about the gasoline tax; there are the grange and farmbureau lobbyists who are in daily terror lest the rural districts suffer at the hands of the urban legislators. There are lobbyists for and against every known form of taxation, each with a sheaf of arguments in support of his or her particular cause. The state's welfare is of no consequence. Who cares whether a sound system of taxation is adopted, so long as the lobbyists are satisfied?

Smith cares. That is his job, and he likes it. He has adopted the state, the orphan child at Albany, and he sees to it that the foundling has proper attention.

A man could n't gain a great reputation at Albany in a year or two years by such unspectacular tactics. Governor Miller had many of the ideas of value to the public, but he didn't stay long enough to get credit for them.

Smith has been governor for nearly eight years now, and his methods have been almost uniformly successful. In the end, they have made an impression.

The young men have not come to Smith with a holy fire in their eyes. They are still uncomfortable over the tongue in which the prophet speaks,

and they wish his vision pierced further into the future. But he holds out a promise. He has something to offer. It is not the glittering promise which Wilson gave to youth, but it is enough to hoist the flag of action. The young men want to march, and Smith can set the pace. It will be time enough later to find out where they are going.




Is Fascism a tyranny holding an unwilling people in thrall by brutal force, as its opponents allege, a tyranny whose only moral watchword and justification is the cry of 'Might is right'? Are the foundations of its régime already cracking under the pressure of economic and moral laws, which it has presumptuously challenged? Or is it a national embodiment of all the virtues, material and spiritual, as its propagandists tell us and its press tells it? Has Fascism produced a system that has solved, as some claim, the age-old problems of human relationship and government? Further, if this régime be indeed good for Italy, is the atmosphere of this changed land one in which the foreign visitor can breathe freely and rest tranquilly? These were the questions which revolved in my mind before and during the course of a visit to Italy, just concluded.

As a preparation I took a strong dose of reading in the voluminous literature critical of or hostile to the Fascist

experiment. On the other side there is no need to search for a corrective, for the Italian Government supplies a series of pamphlets on the many facets of its régime, translated into this and other languages. Of many of these pamphlets it can only be said that their English might be improved, and their seasoning to English taste still more. Fortunately the observer finds that Fascism shines more in its deeds than in its words. Its phrases are often unfair to itself. For its habit seems to be to announce new measures with intimidating language which jars on the Anglo-Saxon, sensitive to the rights of citizenship, and with an exuberant self-confidence which breeds distrust in his 'matter-of-fact' mind. And only when he is in the country does he discover that behind this verbal smoke cloud the measures are often carried out with a quiet effectiveness and a surprising courtesy which lead him to make favorable comparisons with the methods of his own bureaucracy.

The harm of such language is that it not only engenders a sense of insecurity among other nations, but tends

to hinder their people from seeing the new Italy with their own eyes. I have met many English and Americans who hesitate to visit Italy because of a sense of personal insecurity, a belief that the country lies in the grip of an eavesdropping officialdom, and that unless they walk and talk with extreme and painful circumspection trouble may befall them. I confess that before I crossed the frontier some qualms of this nature disturbed me. But with every succeeding day in the country this bogey evaporated more and more, until, in retrospect, it was difficult to conjure up my original apprehension. Within a short time I came to feel a sense of being at home, with all the ease of spirit that phrase implies, such as I have rarely felt in any foreign country.

Aware of the newborn efficiency of public services, I expected, and was prepared to make reasonable allowance for, an accompanying increase in officiousness. My surprise, after I entered the country, was how small was the allowance that I had to make, and how well the Italians had assimilated efficiency without disturbance of their traditional courtesy. I had special reason to appreciate this, for I had chosen to travel through the country by car as a means to a closer acquaintance with the people and the life of the ordinary countryside than is possible with the ordinary traveler who passes in an express train from one cosmopolitan city hotel to another.

In a land of narrow streets and complex traffic regulations, many times must I have tried the patience of authority, and that where its representatives have power to levy fines on the spot; yet everywhere I met an astonishing degree of forbearance. Indeed, as there are few countries where authority of every grade is entrusted with such power as in Italy, so there

are none in my experience where that power is exercised, save politically, with such consideration and restraint. This seemed to me true also of the authority behind authority, the members of the Fascist Militia, who are both the buttress and the guaranty of the State, who are to be seen everywhere, and who might understandably display an aggressive consciousness of their position and power; whereas in fact I saw none, but, instead, several instances of courteous helpfulness to humble compatriots. What is the explanation? For it would be natural for the heady wine of power to be all the more intoxicating in a land where six years ago powerlessness was the badge of all persons in authority. Partly, no doubt, the inbred courtesy of a race to whom from generation to generation a matchless legacy of civilization has been handed down. But also, I think, because nowhere is authority itself more strictly controlled by a higher authority. In Italy to-day the greater the power assigned, the more easily it may be forfeited. Whereas in 'democratic countries bureaucracy is conscious of its security, conscious that it can only be brought to book by means and processes tardy and difficult in application, bureaucracy under Signor Mussolini holds power at the will of an individual chief, and is subject to a discipline more severe than that which it exercises.

This brings me to a further point, that of the general attitude of the Italian people toward the régime. I do not pretend to have had opportunity for an infallible judgment, but I at least traveled far and off the beaten track, talked widely, and with people of varied opinions and social grades. And as a result, if I should still hesitate to say whether Fascismo is popular with the mass, although I believe that it is at least, on balance, acceptable

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to them, I have no hesitation in saying that the hold of Signor Mussolini upon the imagination and faith of the people is not only unshaken, but deepening. In some ways the most civilized of peoples, the Italians are also less sophisticated as well as more patient than the Anglo-Saxons or the French. This has helped in bringing it about that to them as a whole the Duce has become almost more than man, demigod even. And their faith, as well as their patience to endure until the Promised Land is gained, is fortified not only by their belief in his inspiration, but by the comforting knowledge that above the bureaucrats is the autocrat. If local authorities are not always immaculate, how could they be in any scheme of society?

and those under them have been sorely tried, it is much to feel that there is one above with the will and power to give instant redress. To such inevitable trials has, of course, been added the far more generally severe trial caused by dear living, trade depression in a poor country, and the hard-won'Battle of the Lira.' These trials have caused much grumbling, but without a special target; and the traditional patience of the Italian, strengthened by the unquestioned evidence of miracles already achieved, seems to have carried him through the strain - now lessening, if only in degree without serious damage to his new faith.


What shall I say of the atmosphere as it affects the minority who, politically or instinctively, are in opposition to Fascism? As regards the active opponent there is only one answer: that it is stifling! But for those who, because of intellectual disagreement or temperamental individualism, are critical of Fascism, while

content with passive distaste for the régime and doctrine, the conditions, if trying, seem certainly far less oppressive than one is led to believe by critics outside the country.

While, in view of my mission, I met and was received by many of the leaders of the régime and the services, it was natural that I should also meet in literary and historical circles numerous people who were far from being adherents of Fascism. But to my surprise I found that they indulged both their wit and their critical faculties with a freedom, even in public places, which caused me a strong sense of embarrassment, particularly at first. It was certainly incompatible with the idea not uncommon abroad that Italy to-day is a land of suspicion and espionage. And it was a further significant feature that these criticisms were directed against the abstract ideals of Fascism, its suppression of the freedom of the press, and its severe treatment of opposition, but rarely against the probity of its administration or the personality of its chief. The man himself usually held the honest respect even of those who disagreed with his ideal and his action.

And what of this man? For to any returning traveler from Italy the first question seems inevitably to be, not as to the conditions, the people, or the system, but 'Did you see Mussolini?'

No one can traverse Italy to-day without seeing the hand of 'Il Duce' throughout. His face also, incidentally

for on town house and small farmsteads, far off the beaten track, in the endless plains of Lombardy or the towering battlements of the Apennines, his features are to be seen stenciled on the walls. But outside Italy, if all to the youngest know him by name, few know him as more than a symbol - of wonder-working changes or of iron tyranny, according to taste and prejudice.

And with those who would know more the craving for fuller knowledge is rarely satisfied. For neither man nor his personality is made up merely of deeds and words. Yet these are traditionally the stuff that chroniclers and biographers, past or contemporary, serve up in indigestible lumps for our malnutrition. I shall not present Signor Mussolini in this form, and to do so would not aid the appetite. For his passing deeds are duly recorded in the foreign telegrams, and his past deeds enshrined already in several bulky biographies which anyone can obtain. And as for his words, the formal speeches of any statesman rarely throw a revealing light on the man himself or his inner thoughts; still less his utterances in an interview 'for publication.' Instead, as straws show the way of the wind, so do trifles the way of the mind.

So here I propose to give merely a few homely trifles, sprinkled with an impression or two, in the hope that they may help to form a portrait of 'Mussolini Intime,' so that for the transatlantic public which follows the devious currents of European politics he may no longer be merely a deed- and wordproducing mechanism. Let me first fill in the background of his daily life before I treat the man. The greater part of his working hours are spent at the Chigi Palace, the Italian Foreign Office, in a room which overlooks the Corso, the principal, if narrow, artery of Rome's daily life. The length of Mussolini's working hours considerably exceeds trade-union standards as do those of most of the Ministers and officials under Fascism, for the government offices are still humming with activity long after Whitehall has returned to its solitude and its caretakers. There is small reason to wonder at Mussolini's hours, however, for besides being head of the Government he

combines the charge of no less than six Ministries Foreign, Home, War, Marine, Air, Corporations. The strain on his endurance is not lightened by the fact that since the successive attempts on his life he has been persuaded to forgo, save exceptionally, his former regular riding exercise in the public parks, he is rarely seen at all now except on formal occasions, and thus has to take his exercise within the narrower limits of private grounds. Not that he seemingly shows any ill effects; his appearance gives no support to the rumors that periodically float, or are floated, abroad of his imminent breakdown. Perhaps the strain is less intense also, for I gathered that with the machinery running well, and his assistants sifted, he is now able to delegate, and has learned the wisdom of delegating, the more routine functions of his many offices.

His sparse hours of leisure and repose are spent during the winter in a small, simple apartment in an old palace on one of Rome's side streets. Here his equally simple wants are attended to by a single servant, a middle-aged housekeeper, and here also he snatches stray hours for his one recreation, other than riding - that of violin playing. On this instrument he is no mean performer. His wife and children still live in Milan, although they come to Rome for periodical visits. For all his cares as father of a greater family, Signor Mussolini makes opportunity to follow closely and keenly the development of his own offspring.

At the Chigi Palace itself the outward trappings of power are not in greater evidence. Entering from the Corso, the visitor meets a solitary doorkeeper in the gateway, sees a cluster of cars in the inner courtyard, and perhaps catches a glimpse of an unobtrusive but watchful plain-clothes man. Thence, unattended, he proceeds

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