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best ways of confounding them before the world. If not this, then to show that they 'lost their faith,' or had some sex complex (either sex). So we are not overly interested in any statement of apparent facts that your anonymous priest sets forth. But we are religiously curious to know about him personally: who his ancestors were; whether he did n't have 'some trouble with the bishop'; or whether he did n't have 'a weakness for women.' If we can get him along one of these lines, his facts and arguments go for naught, and 'his name is Dennis.'

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A strange coincidence that I should just have picked up the February Atlantic to read the story of 'Pop's Ploughing' of forty years ago.

A mile and a half from my home is a little white farmhouse with a green roof. It stands a hundred feet or so back from the road, in front of it two large far-spreading pepper trees and behind it a tall and wide acacia. The acacia is in full flower. One scents the fragrance of its blossoms from far off.

Until lately I have passed the little farmhouse every day while taking my morning walk. Who the man is I don't know. I've never seen him. Nor have I ever seen the woman. But often, when I have passed by, two small girls have run out to watch me. With them there was always a large black-and-white mongrel dog. Less shy than the children, he often came out to the road, and sometimes nosed my hand. When the elder child called to him he always left me at once and bounded back to the end of the driveway where they stood.

Owing to rainy weather, my daily walks were discontinued a week ago. Three days ago I passed the house again. The children were not there to see me. The dog came out alone and followed me for a little distance, till I bade him go home.

Two days ago I passed the farmhouse again. The children were not there. The dog came to the edge of the road and sat down to watch me by. I wondered why he took no notice when I spoke to him. A mile up the road I met an old thin woman hurrying.

'Did y' hear about them children?' she asked. "What children?'

'Down there to the white house wi' the green roof,' she answered. "The one of 'em died last evenin','

'Died?' I exclaimed. 'How? What from?'

"T looks like the dipthery to me,' she replied. 'T'other one's sick, too. I'm a-goin' down there now.' And she hurried on.

Yesterday I passed the farmhouse again. The dog was sitting on the front step. He took no notice of me as I went by. A mile and a half up the road I stopped at the house where lives the thin old woman.

'How's that sick child?' I inquired.
"They're a-buryin' of her this afternoon.'
'What doctoring did they have?'

"They did n't have none,' she answered me. "Their folks' religion's agin' doctorin'.'

This morning I passed the green-roofed house again. The dog was lying on the front step, his nose between his paws. A mocking bird was singing, as a mocking bird is often singing, in the top of the acacia tree.

A little way up the road from the green-roofed house I stopped. A dog was howling. A little way farther on again I met the thin old woman. 'How are the folks at the green house?' "They're a-movin' out to-day,' she answered. To-morrow morning I am going to walk a different road. B. G. A.


To meddle or be comfortable.



With very much that the Reverend Lloyd C. Douglas writes in the March Atlantic Monthly on 'Nonconformity, the Protestant Kaleidoscope,' some of us who are in steady contact with churches of all grades in many denominations find ourselves in thorough agreement. What is said in this article about drifts in the direction of what is purely outward and mechanical among leaders in Protestant churches is none too severe. The noisiness about which just complaint is made also may be a more or less natural corollary of the mechanics.

Only, when Mr. Douglas comes to talk about meddlesomeness, we pause. Curiously enough, within a few months the Right Reverend Charles Fiske, Episcopal Bishop of Central New York, in an outpouring called "The Confessions of a Troubled Parson,' sounds the same alarm in strikingly similar terms.

Unfortunately there are meddlesome societies, meddlesome secretaries, meddlesome ministers, and meddlesome churches. Very often it seems as if the degree of meddlesomeness were in inverse ratio to the importance of the matters pressed. The latest arrival upon my desk is a ten-page appeal to redeem St. Valentine's day by making it an occasion for sound instruction in social hygiene!

But it looks as if wholesome reaction against all this may have led the Bishop and our Nonconformist of the article into rather too sweeping banishment of social thinking and social endeavor from the sphere of the church and of the minister.

Forever the Christian Church is on the side of the great human values and must defend these under all conditions to the end, or the Church's position of spiritual leadership is forfeit. It is perfectly true that Jesus upheld the claims of God over against those of Cæsar, as he refused to accept a retainer in a case where covetousness was involved. But it is equally true that without hesitation and with some show of vehemence he condemned those who devoured widows' houses.

Following this example, there is not a line in the recent joint report of Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant commissions on labor conditions as they prevailed a few years ago on the Western Maryland Railroad that should stir the Bishop's fears or that justifies Mr. Douglas's misgiving and strictures. Seasoned opinion is likely to accept the pioneer report of the Federal Council of Churches on the Twelve Hour Day in Industry as both epoch-making and liberating. The very wide-flung education of our generation through the churches concerning the real forces and motives back of armaments would appear to be a refreshing return to the spirit of the Nazarene. If efforts such as these and many more that might be mentioned are open to the charge of meddling, perhaps the Church would do well to accept the epithet. That would be better than to lay herself open to the counter charge of undue timidity or even cowardice.

As much as we admire the straightforwardness and vigor of the Nonconformist, there remains the lingering fear that in his thinking he has not quite escaped that unfortunate separation between the earth and religion, between the State and the Church, between God and the world, that we call dualism, which inflicted so many grievous wounds and left so many rough scars on the life of the nineteenth and preceding centuries.

And it must never be forgotten that social issues are troublesome issues, not to be adjusted without those unpleasant reactions always aroused by creative thinking and constructive endeavor. So far as his own peace of mind is concerned, happy is the man who can keep away from such issues! So there is always a very subtle temptation, often almost completely concealed, to seek refuge in cloisters of our own making and to magnify the importance of what is congenial in other words, as it has been rather strikingly put, to escape trouble 'by joining the Cult of the Comfortable.'


Willis E. Collins, of Asheville, N. C., sends us this tale of the poor mountain blacks, told in their own vernacular.

'No suh, ah's a city nigga, ah is. Ah doan want no kentry in mine. Dey's too many ghoses an' hanted houses in de kentry. Hit's a maghty lonesome place- de kentry.'

'How come? What yo' know 'bout de kentry? You ain't fotch up no pints yit agin it. Ah nebber seed no ghoses dere. Whatcha talkin' 'bout?'

'Well, ah knows what ah's talkin' 'bout all right. Ah seed a daid man come to life one night in de kentry an' ah ain't been back since. Hit were dis-a-way. Dey were a man pilin' logs back in de woods and a big log rolled ober him an' mashed him right smart. Dey put him in baid an' fotched de doctor, but hit wa'n't no use. He got wusser an' wusser, an' atter a while he died. Den dey ax me eff'n ah would set up wid him an' ah says no, but a yaller gal says she would, so ah says we bof would. I gib her a little poke full o' goobers and we wuz settin' afore de far eatin' um when all of a sudden de daid man jump out o' baid an' yell like he wuz seein' de debbil affer him. Ah high-balled right outen dat place an' ah ain't been back an' ah ain't goin' back.'

'You fool nigga, dat wa'n't de daid man wot jump outen de baid. Dat wuz anoder man. He tole all about hit hissef. He come to dat house lookin' fur a place to sleep. Dey tole him dey wuz full up, but he say he's obleeged to stay caze dey ain't nary house fur miles aroun' and he's skeered to be out atter dark anyhow. So de boss man say eff'n he wants to bunk wid anoder man hit's all right wid him. Den he tuk him to a room an' dere wuz a baid wid de oder man in hit, but dere wa'n't no light in de room cep' in de farplace. So he crawls in de baid an wuz jes' res'n easy when in walks you an' de yaller gal. He seed you-uns a-settin' 'fore de far eatin' goobers outen de poke, but you want bodderin' him, so why should he worry? Purty soon he seed you wuz co'tin de gal an' den he tinks he better stay awake an' git some pinters. He says you wuz a fas' worker an' wuz enjoyin' hissef a heap, so he jes' gib de oder nigga a dig wid his elbow so's he could holp him enjoy de fun, but he could n't wake him up data-way. Den he kotch him by de han', an' bress Peter, hit were as col' as ice. Den he seed he were snugglin' up to a daid man an' hit kinda skeered him. He jump outen dat baid an' yell like de debbil, but hit wa'n't de daid man what jumped up an' you is entirely mistook 'bout dat. An' doan you go runnin' down de kentry. Hit's all right. Eff'n you fool city niggas would 'have yousefs you wouldn' git skeered so quick.'




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THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY. Publication Office, 10 FERRY STREET, CONCORD, N. H. Editorial and General Offices, 8 Arlington Street, Boston, Mass. 40c a copy, $4.00 a year; foreign postage $1.00. Entered at Post Offices at Concord, N. H., and Ottawa, Canada, as second-class matter. Copyright 1928, by The Atlantic Monthly Company, Boston, Mass.

JUNE, 1928



TSIOMBÉ is a typical Madagascar frontier post, with the inevitable clay fort and prison, two or three houses built in European style for the use of the French officers, and a number of dilapidated shacks housing Hova and Betsileo traders. Aside from the fort, the most pretentious structure is the house of an Arab merchant, a big square building that looks more like a blockhouse than a dwelling. Its owner established himself here several years before the coming of the French and is now a very rich man and a power among the local natives.

The day following my arrival was the official market day, but when I reached the square I saw few signs of life. About a dozen dispirited-looking native women crouched behind little piles of sweet potatoes or melons, but the only crowd was around the butcher's booth, where an ox had been killed. The Antandroy did no take kindly to the market idea, which was new to them, and although the Commandant had ordered each clan to send in a certain amount of produce, or an animal to be killed, they seemed to shun the place themselves.

As I was returning to my quarters, I met the Lieutenant's little daughter

VOL. 141 — NO. 6 A


out for her morning walk. She was not more than three years old, had frightened brown eyes and skin of the opaque whiteness one often sees in persons who have a touch of dark blood, and was dressed in the French style, with a vestigial skirt that stood out from her waist like a frill. With one hand she clasped a large pink-and-white doll to her bosom, while the other firmly gripped the middle finger of her nurse, a gigantic, very black young man, nude except for an embroidered loin cloth and heavy silver bracelets. A white. canvas cap with a large 'P' stenciled on it was set jauntily on the side of his head, sole indication that he was a prisoner. When the child saw me she hung back, and he swung her into the curve of his arm and carried her past, explaining with a laugh that she was afraid of strange white people.

The man's face stayed with me, for his features were as regular as those of a classic bronze, but marred by a certain hard recklessness and by wild eyes that made me think of a thoroughbred stallion. That evening, when I had tea with the Lieutenant and his wife, I saw the pair again. They were sitting opposite each other across an elaborate drawing in the sand, and were so deeply

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