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sincerity fathers were invited to take their daughters to that exhibition. The popular play, Within the Law, turns another perfectly serious theme into melodrama. The play was written. palpably for the market; it has been discussed seriously.
bouffé treads in lockstep with tragedy.
The marital relation forms, of course, matter for profound utterance. "In common with many other Feminists," a recent writer affirms, "I incline to place a good deal of reliance on the ennobling of the nature of the male." Male-so personal! It is thought by this same seriously inclined authority that "the association of human beings in couples appears to respond to some deep need." Mystic discovery! "The modern wife," says an editor of a thirty-five-cent magazine, "wants a husband who has read Brieux and Arthur Schnitzler." This will be painful news to bachelors who are fond of Alice in Wonderland or The Beloved Vagabond, Joseph Vance or Cyrano de Bergerac. The husband of this modern wife should be a man, evidently, who takes to ideas, and ideas are on their native heath in your modern problem play. Such simple, open, things as Lear or Othello, wherein there is never any confusion as to who the villain is and what it is that makes people good and bad, are rather barren of ideas. A man whose favorite book happens to be Don Quixote, that great purveyor of dreams, would make a rather feeble modern husband.
The leaders of this merry show assume with Stockmann that a normally constituted truth has a very short life. And so they are straining away, some of them earnestly, some flippantly, to put a pin through each new truth before it flutters down the wind. And my criticism has been that this view is distracted and uncertain. A philosophy which rejects human nature as we know it, and spurns its limiting conditions of self-sacrifice and renunciation has not brooded to much purpose; and a state of mind that carps and exposes all conventions to unreflective censure is thoroughly vicious. A question might be asked here possibly: Are such leaders affecting our social life profoundly, or are they merely scratching its surface; is the majority still compact, willing to abide by its experiences? To that question I have no answer.
But I have often wondered how that sermon of mine really came out-how, after heaping contumely upon the virtue of sincerity, I eventually fetched a compass and glided into serene, determinate waters. It is none too clear to me. "How almost helpless," says some one, "is sympathy without knowledge. Love is indeed 'the greatest thing in the world,' but without knowledge, acquired knowledge-real culture-love is like a skilled workman without his tools, a mariner without his chart and compass." Might not, perhaps, simplicity and sincerity be conceived of as standing in somewhat the same relation as, in this quotation, stand love and knowledge. Simplicity is indeed the higher virtue, but the simplicity of one age passes; knowledge and sincerity are constantly pressing from below. The Solveig type becomes too intangible, too pastoral, too remote. For life is constantly more packed, more complex, exacting, devious, and rich. The Nausicaäs change inevitably into the Vittoria Colonnas. And of a complex and devious society, the best social dramas and the best social novels are necessary escape valves. Who does not find them stimulating and provocative? They have made with us a permanent home.
But this 'social' literature always moves on the lower levels. It can never attain the highest art. From it the scaffolding has not yet been knocked away. One notes the processes, the inquiry, with always the accompanying self-consciousness and hesitancy. The picture of Emerson willing to go to the stake but questioning the nature of his own emotions, or that of Tolstoy persuading himself that a parable is the highest form of art, reveals the scaffolding of sincerity. Simple art, on the other hand, is always naïve, 'unconscious,' free. It has plenty to do with ideas, yet its truths have already been worked out in real life; they are not in process of discovery. Its message and its breathings are personal. Its characters burst living upon one; they are not samples to investigate. And yet simple art carries with it from age to age a greater complexity and richness. It has been pushed up upon the shoulders of unrest and questioning. The simple art of the future will doubtless show the influence of the sincerity of 'social' literature. This might indeed take place without doing violence to the words of Fénelon.
EDWARD A. THURBER.
A REGAL HOME FOR PRINCELY BOOKS
The library which stands senior to all other American book collections, owned by the oldest of the country's universities, has at last the outward and visible housing adequate to the value long placed upon it by all with expert knowledge of books and their uses. Harvard's possessions of lettered sort, ranging up the scale from present-day pamphlets to the rarest of yesterday's volumes rarely bound, are exceeded in point of numbers by the Congressional Library at Washington, the magnificent Astor-Tilden-Lenox collection in the heart of busy New York, and the Boston Public Library; but as a storehouse of materials for the scholar and special student the Cambridge institution yields place to not one of even such a trio. For the best of a generation these riches have, indeed, been crowded into little room, practically stored away in the inadequate chambers and corridors and even cellars of old Gore Hall, and while everyone in touch with the situation recognized the imperative need for ampler and more modern accommodations, no one came forward with the wherewithal to provide them. But at last Gore Hall is no more; a building has been completed fit in every way to hold and display the ancient seat of learning's volumes and manuscripts, and this splendid edifice, which ranks architecturally with the best of American collegiate structures, stands as the memorial to one of the "Titanic" victims, one of the university's younger sons but one of the world's true bibliophiles, who bequeathed to his Alma Mater many times over the most valuable collection of books she has ever received in intrinsic worth far surpassing that first gift of all received when John Harvard's self started her library with his modest benefaction of less than four hundred little volumes.
The far-flung world of book-lovers, which knows no "border nor breed nor birth," is aware that this munificent gift of Mrs. George D. Widener, of Philadelphia, was prompted by a desire to furnish proper home for the literary gatherings of her son, Harry Elkins Widener, who, though his name was added to Harvard's graduate roster only seven years ago, is none the less an out
standing figure in the history of American book collecting. Even before graduation had called him from daily association with that "Yard" where lovers of books and makers of books for generations have been accustomed to come and go, he had begun to get together what was to prove one of the most valuable collections of rare volumes in the New World, and he had pursued his hobby with a passion as persistent as it was intelligent until the black April of 1912 swept him down in the swirling waters of the North Atlantic. Young Mr. Widener (he was but twenty-seven) had brought together first editions of Shakespeare, Milton and Spenser, Johnson, Goldsmith and Gray, Keats and Shelley, Dickens and Thackeray, Meredith and "R. L. S.," till his library boasted an assembly probably unique of its sort. Many of his findings were copies personally associated with their authors; perhaps inscribed for presentation to someone scarcely less famous than the writer, or annotated with author's corrections to be made in later edition.
He who had searched out these volumes was of course innately possessed of a deep love for books, but it was also noteworthy that his knowledge of them, a knowledge intimate and technical, was exceptionally accurate and extensive. Few were better judges of such than the late Bernard Quaritch, and he had voiced unqualified praise of this youthful bibliophile's unusual qualifications to stand with the foremost collectors of modern days.
Knowing that it was for him that Dr. Rosenbach, of Philadelphia, bought in the Van Antwerp folio Shakespeare of 1623 for eighteen thousand dollars, and that, at the sale of the first part of the Hoe library, he was the underbidder, at nineteen thousand dollars, for the Gutenberg Bible on vellum (which went out to the shelves of Mr. Huntington of Los Angeles), it is easy enough to say: "Of course; anyone with so long a purse can gather fine books." Nothing could be wider of the truth. Mere money will purchase miles of handsome bindings and yet never enable one not endowed with the litterateur's heart and mind to fill high cases with such unique jewels of letters as were those of Mr. Widener's. If ample means be a sine qua non for such collecting, so, too, and not one whit less, are entire enthusiasm, immensely detailed knowledge, and the nicest discrimination,
and these are not the findings of the open market-place. It is to be recorded, too, that his was the exceptionally fortunate opportunity of sitting at the feet of Beverly Chew, who, since Robert Hoe is no longer here, must be accounted the dean of American book-lovers, at once in wide learning and in that singleeyed desire which, after all, has the most to do with making the veritable collector.
When the will of the young enthusiast disclosed that his really princely library was to go to Harvard, the university was confronted with the humiliating fact that it had no suitable place for the deposit of such a collection; antique Gore had become so crammed with books that mere navigation among the stacks had become difficult. Then came forward the widowed mother of the donor, with an offer now given shapely form in stone and mortar. Her two-million dollar gift, be it added, offers large interest to book-lovers and library users quite apart from her son's collection which is to be its hub and centre. For in this building will be applied the "laboratory principle." Harvard intends to do what Oxford's Bodleian has been doing for centuries, and do it better. An accredited visitor from any country on the globe will find himself as much at home in one of the private rooms of the Widener Memorial as in his own library, and just outside the door he will have immediate access to all the treasures that the Harvard collections contain. In similar fashion the undergraduates are to be provided with such facilities for work among the shelves as have been quite impossible in outgrown, inadequate Gore. If the visiting scholars and the Harvard professors are to have eighty private studies scattered about the building, the students are to have no fewer than 350 little separate "cubicles," each furnished with desk and chair, where they may read in seclusion, with needed volumes on their tables and any other book required close at hand in the stacks.
On the main floor, reached by the steps from the Yard, the memorial feature has its most imposing illustration. The visitor passes through the doors into a vestibule, which opens into a great entrance-hall, this in turn leading to the Widener Memorial Hall. This is an apartment measuring 40 by 32 feet,