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hand which is here so omnipresent is that of the writer himself, who in his eagerness to fill his pages with scenes which shall thrill the depths of the imagination and tremble with real life, forgets that life to be real must be consistent, and that the transition must be as true as the picture.
There can be no doubt of his success as a painter. As the birds tasted the pigment fruit of Apelles, so we have felt the wind blowing through the trees of the Consuls and have felt the cold night air as the Spanish peasants climb the cliff with the arms smuggled to Don Carlos. We have sat unseen in the long room as the shadows gather around Rita and Monsieur George and the dancing watchers in the wall-paper fade, like us, into darkness. We have heard the mutterings and poundings of the rejected Basque as with his curving kris he attacks the armorroom door. Slowly and carefully Mr. Conrad brings the full vigor of his style to bear to vizualize every incident for us.
And the characters, like Galatea, seem ever ready to spring into life-strange people these, all doing strange things in a grand manner, each of them clear before our eyes, but each surrounded by an exotic mist which lends much to the atmosphere of the story. Who in real life has seen such characters as these—the woman of all the ages, the Pyrennean peasant with her grasping religion, the suave American who lives by his sword, even the tired maid-yet here indeed they stand before our eyes. They seem ready to act—and, behold, it is but a tableau. The curtain falls; there is a clatter of action which we cannot follow, and then again we have a picture.
In so far as characters to be real must give the impression of action, of moving through life steadily from port to port, so far the actors in "The Arrow of Gold" fall short. We expect with a large degree of justification that with given personalities and given circumstances we shall have a really sharp idea what course of action each character will follow. This expectation Mr. Conrad refuses to heed. There is never any particular reason why events should not fall out as they do, but we seldom see any clear reason why they should.
But perhaps this uncertain reaction is but the inevitable defect accompanying the romantic haze which fills the whole stage, wherein the charm of the story so largely lies.
We are opening the Discussion Column this month with a letter from Mr. Stokes. We appreciate his kindness and interest.
I am delighted to hear that the LIT. is planning to secure contributions on the general subject of University reorganization. It is extremely helpful to the officers of the University to know the student point of view when it is the result of careful consideration of any matter concerned with student life. The main framework of reorganization has already been decided upon by the Yale Corporation, but the structure remains to be built. For instance, the University has decided to have a Common Freshman Year, with a Dean and Faculty devoting their special attention to the problem of Freshman instruction and Freshman morale, but there are many points connected with the proposal, such as: Which subjects of study should be required of all students, whether there should be required attendance at the Dining Hall and required physical exercise, which are still open to debate. On these and similar matters the point of view of the student body would be most helpful.
The Yale students are proverbially conservative and it is perhaps well that they should be, but this should not prevent their wishing to adjust the Yale curriculum and the Yale social organization to post war needs. The problem before Yale College is to conserve all that is best in the life and teaching of a New England college with the breadth and public service motive which should dominate the twentieth century university. The students can help us make these adjustments and I am sure that the University authorities will always be glad to consider their suggestions when these are the result of careful deliberation.
Very truly yours,
ANSON PHELPS STOKES.
It was the beginning of the academic year. In the sacred office the Bishop, the Mikado, and the Chancellor were unsuccessfully trying to conceal the discomforts of a damp evening by sprightly conversation. But there was obviously something that worried them, something_more serious than their mutual inability to be clever. The Gentle Alice Brown had returned to her work so complacently that they wondered if she were no longer a charming anachronism and had become a Modern Girl.
At least she fluttered in, confident and unabashed, provoking the Mikado to a very definite comment on the status of the Japanese woman.
"I hope you have done nothing indiscreet," ventured the Highly Susceptible Chancellor, who affected a sort of unassailable, victorian virtue to offset his deplorable susceptibility.
"Nothing," replied Alice, smugly folding her last manuscript.
"I doubt it," said the Bishop. "The only old trait in a new girl is deception, but that is stronger than ever. What have you been thinking about?"
"Oh, there are so many new things one can hardly begin to think of them, and as for thinking about them. But, of course, there is education. There are a lot of new ideas-"
"There are none," interrupted the Bishop. "The theory of education began with Adam. Should Cain and Abel be taught ideals or materials? Should Cain become the original parvenu or the first philosopher? And now, are you a classicist or a modern? Do you read Keats or do you study the biography of Cecil Rhodes ?"
"You quite confuse me," said Alice. "But one must study both sides. Why can't we compromise?”
"You mean classicism without the classics? A liberal education by a course in every department?-Never-!”
"Words, words, words," shouted the Aesthete. "Why do you argue at all? You forget some one."
"Whom?" asked the skeptical prelate.
"The average undergraduate of to-day, possibly the college of tomorrow. What does he care about the theory of education, but what does it matter without him?"
"But can't he be made to take an interest?"
"He can, but will he? The year is short and sport is long. But if he does begin to care, the whole question will be a very simple matter."