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The Life and Times of Somebody or Other. By Nicholson Pennys. THERE is no particular reason why I should review this book. I know absolutely nothing about the fellow or his life and times, if he had any. I never even heard of him. Mr. Pennys and I have a bowing acquaintance. That is, I bow to Mr. Pennys and he pretends he does n't see me. But some of Mr. Pennys's friends told some of my friends that they thought it would be a good thing for me if I could review Mr. Pennys's new book in one of the papers, and I was taken to lunch with that in mind. I had something in mind also; that was that I should not review this book of Mr. Pennys. But it was a very good lunch, with strawberry ice cream, and here I am writing the review.

I should say in the beginning that I consider Pennys an ass, and that he writes very badly. I should never read anything of his for pleasure, much less for profit, so that it is doubtful if I shall find myself praising The Life and Times of this man, I forget his name. Perhaps Mr. Pennys's friends failed to think of that. Perhaps they thought I had an admiration for Mr. Pennys. If they did, they were wrong. They would have done better to have taken me to lunch with this Life and Times man, what's his name? But of course that was impossible, for he was dead.

I had intended to read some of the book before I reviewed it, but it looked so dull that I could n't begin. The friends of Mr. Pennys, particularly the one who is his publisher, seemed rather anxious that I should realize that this was the definitive biography of Mr. er of the subject. He left the impression that the man had led only one life and that it was all in this book. If that is so, I am surprised that he endured so long. He might have died reasonably

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at chapter two. Mr. Pennys's publisher said also that he hoped that I should notice Mr. Pennys's style. Unfortunately he did n't tell me in which chapter this appeared, and in my hasty survey I was unable to find it.

Mr. Pennys, I know, is considered erudite. He has drawn attention to this fact in several hundred footnotes, but I have never gone in for footnotes, especially those in small type. I think people who write such things should be abolished. When Mr. Pennys dies, he can have a footnote on his gravestone.



1 This is a conventional phrase stating that on these premises Mr. Nicholson Pennys is buried. As a matter of fact, he was buried at sea, so that the words 'here lies' must be construed to mean 'here is commemorated.' Mr. Pennys was an author, and a bad one.

But we were talking about this new book. In addition to being dull, it is very thin. A better title would have been "The Life and Spare Time of Somebody or Other.' Mr. Pennys wrote it to oblige his publisher. I am writing this to oblige his publisher. I hope the publisher is satisfied. I am only sorry that this man who is the subject of the book had to be dragged into it. He was probably very upright and kind to his children. I am sure he did n't want his life written any more than I want to review it. I wish he were alive, so that I could tell him so.

Perhaps the book will sell. This review contains a quotable passage: 'the definitive biography,' which, I dare say, will be worked up into bold type. Several critics will find it a great book by a charming writer. And if they don't, the publisher can quote those words from here. I understand Mr. Pennys is abroad. Nothing can stop him. He is writing the 'Life and Times' of somebody else.

Order your copy now.


WHEN Robert Keable died on the island of Tahiti less than a year ago, he had just finished a book about Jesus which all his life long he had wished to write. We are printing this month the opening chapters of this volume, which will appear as an Atlantic Monthly Press Publication early in 1929. Ralph Linton, of the Field Museum in Chicago, describes a recent expedition through wildest Madagascar. A The world of Joseph Wood Krutch has become a sadder place now that the sprightly tradition of tragedy has followed its cheerful counterpart, romantic love, into the limbo of dead values. A Certain Alabaman defenders of the States' Rights principle have been calling Eleanor Risley a modern 'Arkansas Traveler' on the strength of her ‘Alabama, Here We Rest' story that we printed last July. If our indignant Southern friends had only followed Vermont precedent and kept cool until 'Mountaineers and Mill Folks' appeared, they would have discovered that the lady was playing no State favorites. Dorothy Margaret Stuart is an Englishwoman and an associate of A. P. Herbert on the staff of Punch. Her flair for poetry is easily accounted for, since a sense of humor and a sense of proportion are generally acknowledged to be one and the same thing. A Although Herbert Parrish prefers not to have the title 'Reverend' tacked on in front of his name, he confesses that he is now entitled to write D.D. after it. Major A. W. Smith, who is connected with a trading company in Rangoon, has this to say about his hunting experiences on two continents:

I have been interested in the subject of game and game preservation for a good many years, and my own observation has always received confirmation from the writings of those who know very much more about it than I. There is no mystery about the preservation of wild life of any kind, and given reasonable treatment it will thrive in most extraordinary conditions. The Downs of the Somme behind the British lines

during the height of the battle in 1916 probably carried a bigger head of the common partridge than they have done for many years. In peace time they are harried unmercifully, but during the war they were only disturbed by the passage of men and transports, by an occasional longdistance shelling, or by the bombing of aircraft. They appeared to have realized that these inconveniences were not directed at them, and to have ordered their lives accordingly.

In France, too, anyone in a quiet part of the line must have been struck with the richness of all kinds of wild life, in marked contrast to the deserted fields and woods farther from the war.

My six years' service as an officer in the British Army sent me traveling widely. I served in France and Belgium, and later as a Major on the British General Staff with Denikin's army in South Russia. Then India and Burma for the past nine years, during which time I have had the chance to hunt and study game birds and animals from Kashmir to the Nilgiris, and from Bombay to Burma and the Chinese border. During that time all I have seen has shown me that in these days of cheap high-powered rifles areas can far more easily be denuded of wild life than they can be repopulated, but give it a chance and it will thrive.

Although he has also distinguished himself as a poet, novelist, and translator, Edwin Muir is too good a Scotsman not to share with Hume and Kant the national propensity for philosophizing. His piece on the novel states a thesis and proves it. Frederick Cheever Shattuck, physician to two generations of Bostonians, is a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society. A As Dean of the Theological School at Harvard, Willard L. Sperry may appear to be identified with an institution renowned for religious tolerance - not to say indifference. But, to lapse into Scripture, 'by their fruits ye shall know them.' The fact that compulsory chapel has gone the way of freshman hazing in Cambridge does not mean that the subject is closed there. ▲ Both Indian and English blood flow in the veins of Nancy Byrd Turner

a descendant of Pocahontas and of the Virginia Randolphs. Her homesickness for England, however, indicates the dominance of the Anglo-Saxon strain. A Among the many replies that Moore Bennett's article on 'Christianity in China' called forth none seemed to us more sweetly reasonable than that of Louise Strong Hammond. She confesses that we missionaries are a determined and verbose lot,' and describes herself as a Vassar graduate who has written extensively for the newspapers and translated Chinese poems into the vulgate. Walter D. Edmonds's powerful melodrama of the race track belongs to that grand tradition in American humor that Mark Twain followed in "The Jumping Frog.' ▲ Originating in Ohio, Dr. Gustav Eckstein has found a spiritual home for himself in Japan.

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Apropos of Friend John W. Gummere's fears of Quaker pacificism of Herbert Hoover.

It is quite true that many Friends have suffered rather than give any countenance to the views of the world's people about war. It is also true that others have obeyed a higher voice than that of Friends' discipline. Notably in the Civil War, young Quakers shouldered their guns and marched to battle at Lincoln's call. They merely left word, 'We are sorry that the call of the Spirit goes against the discipline of our Meeting.'

The essential element of the Friendly faith is the belief that the individual conscience is the supreme guide of man. The Friends hold it

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That my letter should have been viewed as an attack on Quakerism is a cause of chagrin, for nothing was further from my intent.

Roman Catholicism and Quakerism have both produced lives of the sweetest sanctity. Both have given the world a definite ethical teaching. and from its origin the latter has protested against bearing arms, judicial oaths, and formalism. If it has not done this, it has done nothing.

If quoting from an authoritative Quaker source a positive teaching on bearing arms constitutes an attack on Quakerism, then I am guilty.

Aside from its plea for fair play, my letter should rather be interpreted as an attack on Mr. Hoover's mode of thought, which makes Quakerism to appear as that zenith of formalism which teaches definitely and acts differently, and which is thus portrayed not as the abode of the mystics but of the misty.

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As to 'Snake Night up Posey Holler,' there are very few persons who will believe the story true, but a few who are well acquainted with the habits of rattlesnakes will believe it.

I was raised in the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia where rattlers and copperheads were very numerous. The copperhead, though not so deadly, was far more apt to strike. But how could the preacher handle the rattler with impunity?

It was not because the preacher had been endowed with supernatural power, but because the snake had been deprived of his natural power. If you pull the fangs of a rattlesnake there is no more tractable snake; he seems to like to be handled by man until another set of fangs become hard, when he immediately becomes as dangerous as ever.

All rattlesnakes and copperheads have three pairs of fangs. Some have more. But only one pair are hard; the other two are soft. But when one pair is pulled the next two begin to harden and in a short time are as dangerous as the first two. But in the meantime the serpent may be handled as was the one in Posey Holler.

My brother once caught a very large rattler early in the summer and kept him until fall. His appearance showed he had just had a heavy meal, maybe two or three squirrels or rabbits. He never ate anything more. A month or so later a toad was put in the cage with him. The toad was greatly excited and tried to get away, but in a few days he learned that there was no danger, and in the fall, when the nights were cool, the snake would be coiled up and the toad sitting on top of him.

My brother in the fall gave the snake to his cousin and told him to pull the snake fangs and tell people in the town where he lived that he was a snake charmer.

This he did. But my brother had not thought to tell him to look out for the other two pairs of fangs.

His cousin played with the snake for a while and astonished his neighbors by his power to charm the great rattler and handle him. But one day he put his hand into the cage. The second pair of fangs had hardened. The snake struck the boy on the hand and almost killed him.

Rattlesnakes and copperheads hibernate together in the same den. I hope this may save someone from great suffering and maybe death. Respectfully, M. A. DUNLAP

And now for the love letters, many of which were written in a much more serious vein than these below. Here, for instance, is disturbing evidence that the value whose death Joseph Wood Krutch has been celebrating still thrives dangerously in our great cities, not even sparing Atlantic readers.

"The public,' writes one of our fair New York correspondents, 'is being deluged of late with articles on love, marriage, divorce, and sex. Most of these are simply the voicing of fears that all is not as it should be in the love life of the present generation.' After praising Dr. Krutch for his courage and skill, she goes on, however, to point out that the words 'affection' and 'friendship' are conspicuously absent from his essay, and that deep affections between men and women have existed and can exist — 'irrespective of whether or not a sexual relationship exists.' But it was her closing paragraph that really held us spellbound:

I drove last night with an intelligent young playwright. It was the third time I had met him. After a short ride he matter-of-factly stopped the car and proceeded to become amorous. I protested that I did not relish being petted by someone for whom I had no affection. Whereupon he remarked, 'Oh, petting has no significance; it's simply pleasant.' This is doubtless typical of our new attitude toward sex of the gradual freeing of ourselves from romantic values. Perhaps romanticism is dying, but surely it is a little early to announce the obsequies of Love! FLORA M. RHIND



Professor Warren S. Gordis, Head of the English Department, Stetson University, De Land, Florida, sends this reply to Dr. Krutch:

Last Monday evening an audience that packed the opera house was profoundly moved. Kreisler, as few can, interpreted on a rare old violin some of Chopin's most exquisite music, and when at the close of the performance two prominent and beautiful young women presented the artist with baskets of lilies and roses respectively, such an ovation followed as has seldom been seen in our city.

The following evening, however, at a session of the Modern Truth Association, now meeting in this city, the celebrated Dr. Bunk presented considerations which among thinking people have created a decided stir.

The learned man called attention to the fact that the sounds which had so moved the audience arose simply from the vibrations of catgut, that the cat is a relatively inconsequential animal, that a dead cat is even less significant than a living one, and finally that the gut of the cat is the most unromantic portion of the feline anatomy; even the nocturnal vibrations of the vocal cords of the living cat have not usually awakened rapturous emotions on the part of the listeners. In view of these undoubted truths, the emotional reaction of the audience Monday evening was shown to be highly irrational.

Nor was this all. Investigations showed that the lilies and roses, the offering of which occasioned the climax of enthusiasm, had come from a florist who had produced them from the unmentionable by-product of his neighbor's cow stable; they were, therefore, merely sublimated — supply whatever disgusting word you find appropriate. Here we have the pitiable and humiliating spectacle of a presumably intelligent and cultivated audience going into raptures over sublimated catgut and sublimated - fertilizer. What the lecturer said about the charm of the young ladies who presented the flowers we have not space to report.

True, there were some who modestly took issue with Dr. Bunk. They did not deny that the catgut was an element, and perhaps a necessary element, in Kreisler's performance, but they urged the presence of other and more significant elements - elements of an entirely different nature. They spoke of the artistic inspiration of Chopin, of the succession of skillful artisans that had made the violin possible, and finally of the musical genius of Kreisler, which they thought was something more than sublimated beefsteak. They considered the lilies and roses in a somewhat similar light, saying something about their essen

tial beauty as a mysterious gift of nature, not yet exhaustively explained, and about the human patience and skill devoted to the improvement of varieties and the production of the given specimens. Some even ventured to suggest that Dr. Bunk's analysis was sublimated nonsense.

Discerning ones, however, had a definite suspicion that these protestants were Victorians, perhaps even Mid-Victorians in spirit—a suspicion that became almost a certainty when on several occasions the words 'spiritual' and 'divine' inadvertently were allowed to escape. They evidently were suffering from those strange 'taboos' and 'inhibitions' which are known to infest Mid-Victorians, and to which they sometimes give the absurd and high-sounding names of æsthetic, moral, and religious principles. Of course there were anticipations of Victorianism before the reign of the 'smug' and 'stuffy' queen from whose name and age the movement is labeled; Socrates, Plato, Kant, and even Jesus belonged essentially to the tribe- a tribe that, as everyone now realizes, is rapidly on the way to extinction, thanks to the victorious principle of Modern Disillusionment.

As Dr. Bunk's analysis of the situation has been telegraphed throughout the country, and even throughout the civilized world, musicians and florists, and the lovers of music and flowers, have been filled with consternation and distress. Disillusionment has shown them that they were really devotees to catgut and stable manure. Many suicides have already been announced; but it is to be hoped that the survivors will, in general, try to reconcile themselves to the gloomy days stretching out before them, realizing that nothing is quite so precious as truth and stark reality.

Some there are, to be sure, who may admit the intellectual effectiveness of Dr. Krutch's attack on the emotion that made the movies what they are to-day, but who feel that love still fills a by no means negligible function in the Great Scheme of Things. Witness, for example, the effect of love's fulfillment on one of our readers.


Partly, perhaps, because my wife has just presented me with a son, I must refuse to be upset by Mr. Krutch's recent article. May I, nevertheless, present this.

With Compliments to Joseph Wood Krutch
Hence, my dear! "T was all delusion;
Lift yourself from off my knee:
What we thought was love was only
'Sublimated sex,' you see.

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