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No. Our quandaries will be expressed by a contrary gesture, be assured. For the fiercest pagan amongst us has pinned his faith to resurrection. Our skepticism, embracing Yale generations past, future, and present particularly, forces us to the paradox. If the LIT. is dead, then let her be alive again, say we! How? The devil's own question.
"Look into your hearts and write,' murmured the thin scribe." How foolish that sounds! How searchingly true it is! No one can say it to himself without being convinced that, even though the hundred eyes of Cadmus' dragon started suddenly awake at once and peered into his heart together, they could not find there one single thing worth crystallizing into art.
So be it. The 1921 board simply asks its helpers-and we are in their hands-to let their own hundred-eyed dragon of selfscrutiny do its peering. Then, untrammeled, they may build the beauty that they feel upon those hills where the weak false daughters of Fashion never tread.
We ask this because our search is for Beauty; because we believe your search to be the same; because, oddly enough in this hour of factories, business men, democrats, and drugs, we believe the world has Beauty in it, we believe that this is a discoverable Beauty and desirable above all other earthly things. But we know that it is not to be searched and found save by honesty with yourselves and with the art you strive to master.
Briefly—or at length-we commit ourselves to the elastic policy of more poetry and less prose, more beauty and less "truth,” and whole-hearted service to those of our helpers who are essaying the difficult task of turning a young man into an artist. To all those delightful weak-willed, knock-kneed dabblers who try to fool us about their work-and succeed!-to them we pledge our laughter, our loathing.
What the matter of your work may be is of small account, negligible; perfect its form and its spirit and we are yourspoetry, prose, drama, dialectic, essays, logic, or conundrums. We do not care-propaganda and pickles alone excluded!
To the 1920 Board, God speed them from their humble servants of '21! Our blessings for their fineness to us! A good journey to whatsoever lands their desires may lead them!
JAN 5 '40
The Queen's Earrings.
THE QUEEN'S EARRINGS.
HE king of a Far-country had taken unto himself a young queen called Fayr. He had promised her bobs for her ears; long pendants of emeralds and beryl, and rubies from the first queen's crown. The king, who had been named Grimmald at birth, summoned Ugfraud, whose fame rose above all other goldmongers' in that far-country, commissioning him to fashion ornaments for Queen Fayr-to put, if must be, his full genius in their making.
Ugfraud worked into the night for fear lest the king might change his whim or his queen before the ear-bobs were wrought; and after eight days they were finished. They were long and shaped slenderly. Ugfraud smiled at the huge rubies sparkling in the sunlight from the high window over his bench. He sighed at the thought of his task being done; there would be no more anxious waiting to see the fruits of his work. The fat wife, Galda, was dressing the children; little Ugfraud, who was already ten and had new thongs in his boots, and Dintera, whom Galda had found wrapped in a coarse shawl on a chair by the kitchen oven, one winter morning. Dintera was not yet eight, but the occasion demanded a silk neckcloth and a new apron fantastically embroidered.
Ugfraud put the jewels into a casket, illumined with carvings, painted in bright colors. The little Ugfraud, who, with Dintera, was to carry it to the king, awkwardly clasped the casket under one arm. After the final touches conferred by Galda, and kisses too, they went through the shop door, into the street.
"Remember your curtsey, Dintera, and let Ugfraud do the talking," Galda called after them from the window. "You must kneel, both of you, and kiss the queen's hand."
"Yes, Mother Galda," they said.
"And be home quickly to tell us how the king received them,” said Ugfraud, turning to other work on the bench, a jade snuffbox which must be polished before the evening. When they had
turned the corner Galda called after them again: "And tell us what the great ladies say."
"Yes, Mother Galda," they answered, and little Ugfraud took Dintera's hand, that they might run down the path that leads through the wood to the palace, together.
Once they stopped in the wood to plait chains of flowers that grew among the mosses. "I'll make a crown to give to the queen," said Dintera. "You have the jewels to give her." She wound a wreath of anemones and blood-root, and hung it on her When they came to the gate of the palace, the sun rested low above the wood behind them. A trumpet sounded. Whereupon a page came to lead them before the king, whom Mother Galda said they would know, because he was never alone, but attended by a great court. They were brought to an empty audience hall, and were told to wait. Rich brocades hung upon the walls; the floor was of black onyx; tapers burned by a throne at the far end of the room, for the windows were too narrow to admit the light of the setting sun. Music-a 'cello and an oboe, and sometimes the trill of a harp-played in an adjoining apartment.
"I am tired," said Ugfraud, who seemed smaller than ever in so large a room.
"Let us go nearer the light, Ugfraud," for Dintera was afraid of the shadows at the window.
They crossed the long room, and without hesitation (for they had not yet learned to fear things royal) sat on the steps to the throne. Ugfraud wondered if he might have lost the earrings in the wood, but they were safe in the painted box. "Aren't they pretty, Dintera? You shall have ear-bobs like these when you are a lady." She was lost in dreaming and had not heard.
"Let's play king and queen, Ugfraud," she said after a silence. "I am tired of waiting."
"Some one might find us," said the boy, who better knew the ways of the world. "Still." He waited. "Still it would be fun. I've never played king."
“Here, you wear the crown, and then you can give the ear-bobs to me," Dintera urged. Ugfraud hesitated, but when he looked up and saw her smiling at him, he forsook his fear. With
difficult climbing, they sat upon the throne-chairs, their feet dangling high above the floor.
“And now you must give the ear-bobs to me, as if I were your new queen." Dintera suddenly feared her own voice, for it reëchoed loudly from the far corner of the room.
The king, summoned by his page, came alone to inspect the ornaments, lest they be not to the queen's liking. Grimmald was a kindly king and rather bored with his court; for, as he told his mirror in the morning, "My subjects are not really sincere with me." Seeing the children through the doorway he stopped in the shadow of the hangings.
"I shall be a great king, like King Grimmald," said Ugfraud. "I shall be a beauteous queen like Queen Fayr," added Dintera in a small voice, leaning on one arm, tossing her curls. "Now you must kiss my hand as the king would, Ugfraud."
King Grimmald, who was much moved, as kings are by flattery, particularly when their taste in queens is praised, whispered to the page who stood in the corridor, "Tell the queen to come here, silently and alone.”
Queen Fayr, being in the next apartment, waiting with anxiety to see her gift, came quickly to her king. He pointed past the arras to the children. Upon seeing them a queenly flush rose to her cheeks. "How dare those horrid children of a goldsmith to soil my throne-chair!" she said, pouting.
"Remember, my dear Fayr, you were only a waiting-maid to my lovely first queen; and not in highest favor with her either." This, the king's best foil, always ended differences that might arise between the royal pair.
Dintera did not hear the voices in the corridor, for the hangings were thick. Finding her request not readily obeyed she was forced to command. "Now give the ear-bobs to your queen. Mother Galda would have you kneel." Not a little fearful, Ugfraud obeyed. As he fell to his knee, Dintera, thinking better of her harsh command, bent forward and kissed her king. He fastened the ornaments in her hair, for her ears were not yet pierced to receive them. She shook her curls slightly that Ugfraud might see the brightness of the rubies.
A new whim came to the king, which he confided to his young queen. She pouted again, and said, "No." King Grimmald,
who was somewhat of a philosopher, having read the dialogues of Evol, the mystic of that far-country, spoke thus: "They are both peasant born, a goldsmith's son and a foundling! In their lives, dulled by circumstance, there can be but this one great moment. They sit upon the throne of a mighty line of kings. The girl-child wears rubies, brought from the other side of the world, which have been the toys of the most beautiful women of the ages. This is their moment. Let us do honor to their play. Let us make obeisance, that their moment may be complete."
"I do not understand. You, who are a king, bend before the children of your servant. You, who are divine!"
“I divine? Fayr, my queen, you wrong your husband. Pinch me and see if I am divine." So saying, he walked quietly to the throne, whispering to the queen, as the hangings flung back, "It is my will, that you follow, that you do as I do." And to the children, wonder-struck, before whom King Grimmald and his queen bowed, "Oh, fair queen! Oh, mighty king! I know not over what dominion you rule. I know not even your ancestry, and if you be descended from Thal and Coma, yet a king and his queen, come from a far country to do you honor." Hereupon, he knelt at the foot of the throne, and the queen did likewise in imitation.
"It is a dream, Ugfraud,” said Dintera, not a little afraid.
"It is a dream," said Ugfraud. He lifted the crown of flowers from his head, and with these words, spoken trembling in a thin voice, he placed it on the king's uncovered head: "We honor the king of a far country. We welcome him to our lands."
Dintera, in turn, tore the earrings from her hair, and having learned, from helping fasten her mother's jewels on Sundays, fitted them into the ears of the queen. "And," she said slowly, "you, queen of a far country, take these ear-bobs of my father's making. Wear them as a welcome."
The king rising, kissed the hands of the children; the queen bowed low; and they returned, with slow steps, behind the hanging. Dintera sat without moving. Trumpets sounded in the corridor. The children clambered down in confusion, as though suddenly awakened. Thus they waited by the window. Ugfraud had remembered to snatch up the casket under his arm.