E. A. Welty.

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From the collection of the

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San Francisco, California


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3\(orth ^American 'Review


'Tros 'fyriusque mibi nullo discrimine age fur




Copyright, 1930, by

All Rights Reserved


Spirits of the Dead, 477.

SPORE, MARIAN. My Work on the Bowery,


Sport of Kings, The, 330.
Sport Psychology, 60.
Spying on the Reds, 419.
STONE, HERBERT L. The America's Cup,


Story of Gideon Nathan, The, 687.
Stuff and Nonsense, 121, 250.
Swing of Styles, The, 361.
Stephen Is Fourteen, 735.

These Literary Lobbies, 162.

They're Off at Boulder Dam! 447.

This Laugh Business, 324.

ine's Castor Oil, 148.

Tinkham, 297.

Today's Confessionals, 405.

Towers Scrape the Sky, 591.

TUCKER, RAY T. Prophet of Prohibition, 129;
Uncle Sam's Bellboys, 340.

Uncle's Gone Modern, 481.
Uncle Sam's Bellboys, 340.
Unique Experiment, A, 567.

Vagabondia's Christmas Dinner, 704.

W. A. D. Aperitif, 385, 513, 641.

WELLESBY, NORAH. The Story of Gideon
Nathan, 687.

WEST, A. G. Rival Wings Over Europe, 726.

Wet Movement Today, The, 674.

What Price Baby-Tending? 93.

What the Tariff Can Do, 317.

What's In a Name? 169.

White Collars and Marriage Yokes, 441.


Wild Iris (Poem), 178.

WILKINSON, LUPTON A. The Divine Right of
Newspapers, 610; The Sport of Kings, 330.

WILSON, P. W. Curse or Coincidence? 85.

WINN, MARY DAY. Today's Confessionals,

WINSLOW, ELIZABETH. New Models in Schol
ars, 597.

Witches and Wills, 622.

WOOD, CHARLES. Hell's Shootin', 62.

WOODS, MRS. CYRUS E. Spirits of the Dead,

YBARRA, T. R. Nomad, 575.

Tros Tyriusque mibi nullo discrimine agetur

The ZNjwth American 'Review


Juyr? 1^930

/' r,



Mr. Hoover's Hair-Shirt


WHEN Admiral Dewey re- office on a tidal wave of enthusiasm,

turned from Manila, New He was elected President by the

York City and its harbors greatest majority on record. A San

were bedecked for his triumph. Francisco paper of November, 1928,

Staten Island and the Jersey Coast expressed the opinion of a great part

were illuminated with flares. A of that multitude of voters:

triumphal arch was erected at
Fifth Avenue and Twenty-third
Street. Thirty-four thousand troops
marched in the parade. A sword was
presented to the Admiral and a spe
cial uniform designed for him. Con
gress passed a vote of thanks. But
that was not enough. The news
papers of the country collected fifty

We predict that Herbert Hoover will en
roll his name with those of the greatest
Presidents the nation has had. We foresee
under his guidance a constructive period
likely to eclipse anything of its kind that has
gone before. He is a constructive man. He
will, we believe, drive so forcefully at the
tasks now before the nation that the end of
his eight years as President will find us look
ing back on an era of prodigious achievement.

thousand dollars, bought a house in

Washington, and presented it to him. TT AT .

People were beginning to talk of his A F T EW , Week * a & House Minority
Presidential possibilities. /\ Leader Garner of Texas ex-

At about that time Dewey mar- P u ressed the P ln ' on of a gf eat P art of
ried. Like many other husbands he the countl T these words:
put the house in his wife's name. The
newspapers found it out. They turned
on the hero of a few months before
and showered him with abuse and
sarcasm. He was forgotten by the
people and never again considered
for any political office.

Herbert Hoover was swept into

Copyright, 1930, by North American Review Corporation. All rights reserved.

The titular party leader in the White
House is either lacking in courage or capacity
to lead, and the consequent bewilderment of
Congressional leadership is a reflection of the
deepening disappointment of the American
people in the promised and expected major
part the President was to play in shaping
national affairs to the better ends of national

H 1


year and a half ago and now blame Cross; Belgium; Russia; Mississippi;
for all our troubles? He is an en- finally the Presidency, the over-
gineer. What sort of an engineer? whelming victory.
Well, he might be described as a Votes are cast by people. From the
Horatio Alger engineer. Do you re- people the politician derives his
member when you as a child used to power, and to them he is responsible,
read and dream about engineers who In a sense, this was particularly true
lived in the open, built bridges and in Hoover's case. The people chose
dams, dug mines and fought with him in spite of the professional poli-
Indians? That is the sort of engineer ticians, who were against him from
Hoover was. His life was pure Hora- the start. But the people were fed up
tio Alger from the beginning until he with oil scandals, property custo-
reached (in his own words) "the dian disclosures, Senatorial cam-
highest office in the world." P a ig n slush fund investigations.

They were disgusted with politicians,

is father was an lowan black- they wanted a business man, an en*-
smith, his mother a Quaker gineer. The engineer in the White
farm girl. The boy Herbert fished House,
with crooked pins, swam in the swim
ming hole, played hookey from the TVT OW > tne engineering method of
little red schoolhouse, hunted foxes 1^1 doing business is to learn the
and rabbits. Like all successful facts, decide what needs to be done,
American business men, he was once pick the best man available for the
an office boy. He worked his way job, give him responsibility, and back
through college and qualified as a his decisions. The political method,
mining engineer. From the start he on the other hand, is to guess what is
possessed heroic qualities. He devel- likely to please the greatest number
oped a talent, a mania for facts. In of voters, pick a man to whom you
mine exploiting, even more than in are already indebted or who may be
other enterprises, a knowledge of the useful in the future and then, if any-
facts is the key to success. Rumors thing goes wrong, lay as much blame
spread as far as London that at last a as possible on him. The engineering
man had been found who produced method is the method of big busi-
nothing but facts. Big companies ness, of the chain store, of oligarchies,
competed for his services. They sent The political is the method of pioneer
him to Africa, to Australia, to China, communities, of corner groceries and
At twenty-seven he directed twenty country stores, of democracy,
thousand employees, built a huge Have you ever punched a time
cement works, constructed railway clock? So has Hoover. But he has
lines, operated a fleet of ocean going done more. He has guided the des-
steamers, built a Chinese harbor. tinies of big corporations, has seen
At thirty-four he retired, unaware their inner workings. He knows what
that really his life had only just lies behind the time clock, how much
begun. He became one of the highest the success of the organization de-
paid consulting engineers. The war pends on the efficiency of the em-
brought his great opportunities: Red ployees. Law is law. If the clerks



don't get to work on time, fire them.
If the laws are not obeyed, hire more
policemen, build more jails.

The trouble is you can't run a
democracy that way. The people
aren't clerks afraid of losing their
jobs, they are independent, tax-
paying, vote-giving citizens. They
won't obey laws they don't believe
in. They never have and they never
will. They don't want efficiency,
they want flattery. The back-slap
ping, baby-kissing, gin-drinking, dry-
voting, loud-mouthed politician is
the natural product of democracy.

IN A business, the executive is told
to save money. The more money
he saves, the higher his salary is
going to be. The present administra
tion has reduced taxes a hundred and
sixty million dollars. If Hoover were
the president of a corporation, he'd
get a raise for that. Instead he's
being blamed from one end of the
country to the other. But he doesn't
care, he is too busy looking for other
opportunities to reduce expenses.
There are the battleships, for in
stance. Every year we spend millions
of dollars building battleships to re
place other battleships which have
become obsolete because other coun
tries have built newer and better
battleships. If we could only reach
an agreement with the other coun
tries to stop building so many bat
tleships, our relative strength would
remain the same and a great deal of
money would be saved all around.

Again the trouble is you can not
(so far, at any rate) run diplomacy
that way. The London Conference
was not a success, mainly because
England and Japan, unlike us, were
not represented by big business

executives but by diplomats. The
result is going to be that without
saving money our relative strength
will be weakened.

About all the executive of a big
corporation does is to make decisions.
His value to the corporation rests on
the proportion of his decisions that
turn out to be right. Some of these
executives are paid a million dollars
a year. That is cheap when you con
sider that any one of dozens of deci
sions may have made more difference
to the corporation than that.

In order that his decision may be
right, the executive must know the
facts. Corporations never try to
cut down fact-finding expenses. So
Hoover, with his business training,
established his famous fact-finding
commissions. He wanted to know
the facts before he made his deci
sions. But what have facts to do with
politics? If he had pounded his desk
and roared "The higher, the fewer,"
or "Prosperity is good for business,"
the press would have been delighted,
the people satisfied.

E President is continually pes-
JL tered by sight-seers with letters
from their Congressmen, poetesses
who want him to write prefaces,
office-seekers and applicants for pen
sions. It is easier to see the President
of the United States than the presi
dent of any of our larger chewing
gum concerns. The professional poli
tician is used to this sort of thing,
expects and likes it. It is easier to
shake hands than to think. But the
business executive hates to have his
time wasted, his efficiency reduced.
People who are turned away are hurt
in the tenderest spot in the human
temperament the self-esteem.


As stated above, when the busi
ness executive has a job to be done,
he picks the best man available,
gives him responsibility, and backs
his decisions. When Chief Justice
Taft was forced by illness to give up
his duties in the Supreme Court, the
President chose as his successor
Charles Evans Hughes. This would
seem to be an acceptable choice.
Hughes was one of the best-known
lawyers in the country, conservative,
not too old, distinguished. But the
politicians and the press were loud in
their denunciation of this choice.

Another vacancy occurred in the
Supreme Court. The President's ad
visers, the party leaders, insisted
that politics be taken into considera
tion. Business methods might be all
right in business, but they had not
ably failed in politics. The South had
rallied to Hoover; it was time he did
something for it. Why not appoint
a Southerner to the Supreme Court ?

He did. At last the politicians had
him. The engineer was going to play
politics, was he? They would teach
him a lesson. Parker, the political

choice for the Supreme Court, was
rejected by the politicians. The Pres
ident was officially snubbed by the

Did he mind? No. His opinion of
politics and politicians was con
firmed. It is doubtful if he will take
much more of their advice. He knows
that he is making what he can of his
job. If he loses it, plenty of others
will be offered to him. But he has the
good fortune of having had his bad
breaks early. Two years ago the
people clamored for him. Now they
are reviling him. Two years from
now they may be clamoring for him
again. Their fickleness is not a new
discovery to him. Ten years ago he

The crowd only feels; it has no mind of its
own. The crowd is credulous. It destroys, it
consumes, it hates and it dreams, but it never
builds. Man in the mass does not think but
only feels. The mob functions only in the
world of emotion. The demagogue feeds on
mob emotions . . .

What would he write about mobs
and demagogues to-day?

Eavesdropping in Russia


Random reports of conversations held or overheard which reflect
varied phases of the common people's thought

MILITIAMAN, you are frighten her obstreperous charge

an idiot," comes the suave by saying: "Hush, here comes

assurance from the heart of the militiaman!" Cherubs, regular

a small gathering on the corner. cherubs these iron hands of the

"Citizens, you hear? He has in- implacable proletariat. Incompre-

sulted me." The delicate little mili- hensible, incredible, absurd yet

tiaman sounds awfully hurt. true.

"Yes, you are a perfect idiot; and

if you take me to the station house A CHEERFULLY "lit" citizen, shak-

I will repeat the same thing there." 2\ ing his finger at a discomfited

(Gruffly) "What's your number?" militiaman: "Comrade Militiaman,

"I need not tell you my number; for such lack of civility I shall write

it is here for anyone to see." you up in the paper tomorrow."

An important looking citizen takes Hilarious laughter. "He can't

sides with the comrade militiaman; write," tease the audience.

the latter, encouraged, escorts the "Yes, I can, and I will, too,"

offender to the station house. retorts the offended citizen, as he

* * * loses himself in the crowd, still

It is a strange dictatorship, a most mumbling some high sounding words

peculiar dictatorship. And the mili- about "cultural revolution" and

tia, that is, the police force, is the self-criticism.

most incomprehensible in the world. Plural pronouns speckle the aver-

Compared to our New York police- age Russian's speech us, we, ours.

men these comrade militiamen look "We are trying to outlive it; we

like frightened college freshmen! are poor; we must learn."

Compared to the austere, be-whisk- The usual questions:

ered, red-nosed, palm-itching goro- "How do you find our achieve-

dovois of the Tsar's day, these ments? What does America think of

apologetic, blushing youths are sweet us? Will you recognize us? Do you

cherubs. I can not imagine a Rus- think America will again send soldiers

sian nursemaid, unless she be dev- to fight us? Have you seen our Red

astatingly ironical, attempting to Army men; our schools, our chil-


dren's colonies, our nurseries, our guzzlers who come here in endless
rest houses, our prisons, our workers' excursion, what do they know about
clubs, our peasant house?" And so style and etiquette? But silver-
on, always our y us, we. haired American professors, that's

different, that's more like it. He
leans delicately forward to catch my

"America, that's a land for you! precious words.

There everybody has an automobile." "We have come," I say, "to see

"No, not everybody. I'm a college how the workers run their own

instructor, and I can't afford an Government."

automobile." He smiles deprecatingly, though

He looks incredulous. In his know- sweetly; then in a counter-revolu-

ing little Nepman smile there lurks a tionary whisper: "You'll see nothing,

suspicion that I am a Communist. sir. They'll show you nothing. We

# ^ ^ are suffering, sir. I can not tell you

how we are suffering. A Savior

ND who might those gentlemen Russia is waiting and praying for a

be?" reverently inquires the Savior."

pot-bellied, serious little man at the ^ ^ #
Tsarskoe Selo railroad buffet. He

passes a plump white hand over his rrpHE doorman at the hotel inter-
beautifully trimmed whiskers. JL ests me not a little, but he looks

"A delegation of American pro- so forbidding in his gilded though

fessors." worn livery, so inaccessible, so

Profoundly impressed. "And you, generalissimo-like, that I hesitate to

sir, are their Russian guide?" start a conversation with him. He

"No, I am a member of the opens the door and salutes you with

delegation." the majestic air of a man who knows

Significant silence, as he elegantly his own worth, and who realizes his

pours vodka into my glass. Then: grave responsibilities. A splendid

"And why, little father, have you relic, in this city of museums. A

come to our poor country? What delightful incongruity, in this city of

will you see here?" Lenin. Yet even he, not unlike the

I feel that this prim little waiter hotel where he officiates, or the

relishes conversation with polite and buildings that surround him, shows

well-dressed gentlemen. Indeed, he signs of wear and tear, traces of war

himself has a dignified, aristocratic and revolution. Two of his front

bearing. His very beard is a survival teeth are missing. He opens his

of those glorious days when he had mouth and harmony is restored

the pleasure of serving at the tables - and one feels that, after all,

of dukes and princes at Tsarskoe his is not quite so incongruous a

Selo. His very manner of pouring presence.

the vodka is a champagne manner. "Hey, thititheneth!" I hear him

He disdains wasting his elegant hail a little flower girl from across

breath on the desert air of proleta- the street. His missing teeth and the

rian unappreciativeness. These beer word "citizeness" though I am


not quite sure that he used it in good
faith, without any touch of irony -
make him a little more human and

I LOVE to hear this word "citizen,"
in Russia. They all seem to enjoy
it so much. "Comrade" strikes me
as a little too intimate, too esoteric,
at times even a little forced. But
"citizen" "citizen" has a true
ring here. I express this thought to
the doorman.

"It was fine to hear you call the
little girl 'citizeness.' More than
anything else, this form of address
makes me realize the profound
changes that have taken place here
since 1914."

"Great changes, indeed, sir; great
changes, indeed!"

"Yes, life does improve. Slowly,
painfully, we do march forward!"
I try to draw him out.

"As to that, sir, it's hard to tell;
it's very hard to tell, sir. "

"We certainly do march forward,
and it is not hard to tell," butts in a
youthful looking citizen, whom I had
noticed before gaping at the hotel
and the passers-by. His first vehe
mence is followed by an harangue
that sounds like an editorial in the
Pravda. Long words, "isms" and
"ations," a whole string of them.

I stand aghast. What speech,
what vocabulary! An American col
lege boy would not dare to employ
such a vocabulary for fear of being
branded a "high-brow," or of being
accused of having "swallowed a
dictionary." The burden of his argu
ment is "the darkness of the past,
and the light of the present."

"Light, indeed!" sneers the door
man. "The children have become

hoodlums. You can't tell them any
thing. They know more, they under
stand more. Religion is nothing to
them. God never existed. We are old

"And they are right. Religion is
opium. I had enough of it in my day.
They crammed my poor brain with
' miracles' and 'saints' and your old
Bible. No, thanks, our children will
be spared this nonsense!"

"The Bible, nonsense; and your
politgramta (political education
given in all schools) is sense!" The
doorman looks angry, but he re
strains himself.

"Yes, nonsense, silly nonsense,
fairy tales and legends. Jesus Christ
is a huge myth."

"Just so, just so. You see, sir,
they throw out the Bible and replace
it by politgramta; they banish
Christ and enthrone Lenin. Some
improvement, eh?"

"But Lenin we know; Lenin lived
among us; he was our guide and our

"And two thousand years from
now Lenin, too, will be a legend, you
stupid!" flares up the old man. And
waving his hand, as if to say "But
what's the use?" he hastens to open
the door and salute a snappy looking
Red Army officer.

rrpHE young fellow 3 a peasant, who
JL works in a factory in a provincial
town, and who has come to the city
on an excursion, turns to me in

"What can we do with such
fellows. They simply won't change.
We just have to wait till they die off;
we simply have to live them out."

Aloof and majestic, the old door
man turns the door and salutes the



passing guests, and it seems to me
that he likes to believe that the
Europa is the old Europa, and that
the guests are the old guests.

THE entrance to the Hermitage
museum. A group of workers,

"A delegation of American edu
cators," whispers a worker.

"Hm, they have come to see how
we are copying their methods,"
remarks a sturdy looking working-
woman, two little pig-tailed girls at
her side.

"Yes, we have come to study your
achievements," I break in.

She flashes at me a mouthful of
strong, white teeth, her blue eyes

"We can't startle you Americans,
I guess. It is we who are trying
to learn from you. American tech
nique, efficiency we must acquire

And although I am not what you'd
call a Simon-pure Yankee, I feel a
little inflated. It is pleasant to have
an illustrious name, even by adop

"Still, there is much that you can
learn from us, too," continues the
cheerful lady. "Our social organiza
tion, you see, our social order, is
something you might well copy."

"Bolshevik propaganda, eh?" I
remark, jestingly.

She laughs.

"Ha-ha-ha. Really, fair exchange
is no robbery. We are helping our
selves to your technical sciences; you
may as well get hold of our social
sciences. The two'd go very well

Her point of view is echoed by

another worker. I meet the peasant,
whose acquaintance I had made in
front of the hotel. A flash of recog
nition, a genial "Hello."

"When you get back to America,
just tell them that we will fight to
the last drop of blood, every one
of us, man, woman and child, to
save our revolution. Just tell them

I promise.

* * *

DIFFUSION of culture.
A young student, preparing
to enter the engineering school.

"I love America American tech
nique, American jazz bands, Ameri
can dances, the fox-trot, the Charles
ton, the black-bottom, heebe-jeebe."

"Heebe-jeebe? That's a new one
on me."

I turn to my colleagues: not one of
the American professors knows any
thing about heebe-jeebe.

The boy is appalled at our ig

* * *

A Soviet steamer. The young
sailors invite a group of Americans
to their "red corner." A piano, a ra
dio, numerous plectral instruments;
dominoes, checkers, chess; a library,
colorful posters, a wall newspaper;
above all, a huge bust of Lenin.

Our hosts sing, recite, play. A
Mongolian-looking cook, in apron
and white cap, manipulates various
kitchen utensils, producing a weird
cacophony which, the sailors assure
us, is an authentic Comsomol (Com
munist) march. This is followed by
classical music, a duet violin and
piano. At the request of one of the
Americans, the Internationale is sung.

It is hot, stuffy.



A well-known Pittsburgh music
critic and composer, a bit under the
weather, gradually lapses into a
reclining position on a bench right
below Lenin's bust.

An offended sailor boy in a whisper :

"Tell your friend to sit up. It is
not proper to sprawl out here. This
is a place for rest and culture [great
emphasis on the words "rest" and
"culture"]. Besides, there is the
statue of Lenin."

My discomfited American friend,

"It never occurred to me that this
was a chapel, and that the cook's
music was sacred music."

YOUNG peasant fruit vendor,
near his basket of apples.
Gravely, concentratedly, he performs
a series of bodily contortions, some
thing like our daily dozen. "Fizkul-
tura!" (physical culture), he shouts,
as he notices my amused interest. He
winks to me, smiles, and dutifully
resumes his contortions.

The Russians seem to have gone
mad over physical culture.

Class will tell.

"I never carry a portfolio," says a
Russian journalist, a former aristo
crat, as he fumbles in his pockets in
search of his note book.

From his tone I conclude that it is
not a matter of whim, that a great

Online LibraryE. A. WeltyThe North American review (Volume 230) → online text (page 1 of 91)