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STULTITIA



STULTITIA




Photograph by Ed. Allerman



STULTITIA

(Folly)

From the fresco by Giotto in Cappella degli

Scrovegni all 'Arena in Padua.



STULTITIA

A Nightmare
and an Awakening

IN FOUR DISCUSSIONS



A FORMER AMERICAN
GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL




/hc-^^M^j F>M



NEW YORK

FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY

PUBLISHERS






Copyright, 1914, by
Arthur W. Mueller



All rights reserved



February, IQ15



TO MY

HELPMEET



o/^oorv-*



CONTENTS

PAGE

First Discussion 3

Second Discussion 53

Third Discussion 89

Fourth Discussion x 35



CHARACTERS

General Middleton, the Chief of Staff.

Miss Middleton, his daughter '(afterwards Mrs.

Drake).
Captain Harry Hawk.
Mr. John Drake, of the State Department.
Senator Dormant.
Senator Rock.
Mrs. Rock, his wife.
Miss Rock, their daughter.
Senator Hyhead.

Mr. Shuffler, a Representative in Congress.
Mrs. Evangeline Tinker.
Doctor Harmony.
Mrs. Riley, a charwoman.
Daniel Riley, her son.
Mr. Turner, a clerk and friend of Dan's.
Miss Turner, his sister (afterwards Mrs. Hawk).
Mr. Hope, a socialist.
Mr. Stone, a labor leader.
Mr. Caro, an agitator.



viii CHARACTERS

The President.

The President's Wife.

Aide-de-Camp to the President.

An Ambassador.

A Diplomat.

Mr. Goldstein, a banker.

Mr. Barney.

Mrs. Barney, his wife.

Mr. Charles Barney, their son.

Admiral Stevens.

Mr. Harrison, of the State Department.

Young Officer.

Captain Jeffries.

Clerk in the War Department.

Messenger, colored.

Messenger Boy.

Servant, colored.



FIRST DISCUSSION



FIRST DISCUSSION

It is a large room. Its massive utility and unsym-
pathetic lines give it a character expressing the
meeting of middle XlXth Century ugliness with
modern fireproof strength. On the walls are
portraits, some of men in military uniform.
The furniture is simple and spare. On our left
of the center stands a great flat desk. It is
piled with disordered papers and dispatch boxes.
Behind it is an empty chair. On other tables
are piles of documents, manuscripts and books.
At a smaller desk sits a man of thirty-five, —
Captain Hawk. He has the clean-cut fea-
tures and rather high cheek bones and the spare
figure of a type of simon-pure American. He
wears a dark grey sack suit and is in his shirt
sleeves. Opposite him sits a somewhat older
man of similar type, but now stooped and with
a look of sadness, care and some bitterness.
In an adjoining room may be heard the rattle
of many typewriters. Clerks pass in and out
with typewritten copy.
3



4 STULTITIA

CAPTAIN HAWK

Hand me the report of our military attache
at the Paris Embassy — the one describing the
French conscription system and their territorial
army. Yes. (Dictating) Take this. " Quite
apart from the vast saving of life by preparedness
for war, the placing of the militia under a uni-
form discipline and training inculcates a national
spirit.^ Another note. " Time not wasted. Men
taught trades during the period of their military
service. Boy scout movement. Patriotism.
Discipline during the most dangerous period of
youth. Restoration of canteen. Control of dis-
eases. Exercise and health training." Have you
put in those figures showing the thousands of lives
we sacrificed, quite uselessly, in that little scrap
with Spain, because we were unprepared?

THE CLERK

Oh, yes, Sir. That was the third or fourth
note. The last point is numbered 67. You
ought to take a nap, Captain. You're all in.
This day and night rush takes me back to the Span-
ish War time. The old man used to stand here
like a rock. Pulled and hauled in every direc-
tion. Never turned a hair. Calm as a May



FIRST DISCUSSION 5

morning. Even swore courteously. Never
smiled. {He laughs) One day a fat Senator
blew in from his seashore place to ask whether
Cervera's fleet was likely to hit him. That Sen-
ator had voted for no navy, because they didn't
need one out West where his constituents lived.
I guess he wanted the General to send up a cor-
poral's guard to catch the shells and put Cervera
out at home plate.

CAPTAIN HAWK

It seems to me you're pretty chipper this April
morning. This is no Spanish war. It's worse.
If our Department and the Navy Department and
the State Department can't beat some sense into
Congress, their children are going to be made into
sausage meat by some nation that's not too cocky
to face facts. That's all there is about that. I'd
rather run a Spanish war a year than be responsible
a week for this blind drifting. We've simply got
to get these estimates through. Oh, please get me
that memorandum on our foreign relations as bear-
ing on military and naval policy; the one they dis-
cussed at the last Cabinet meeting.

The Clerk leaves the room.



6 STULTITIA

CAPTAIN HAWK

Good Lord! Another week of 25 hour days
like this, and I see my finish. {He grows
drowsy) No union hours working for the Amer-
ican Union. God bless the old show anyhow.
What damned fools we're getting to be. Lord
have mercy upon us.

He goes to sleep with his head on his arm.
The Clerk enters. He motions to the
typewriters to cease and tiptoes around the
room putting out the electric lights. He
passes into the outer office carefully closing
the door. The rattle of the typewriters
grows faint. The room grows quite dark.

Gradually the dawn lightens the big windows
through which the silhouette of the Wash-
ington monument and the green vista of the
White Lot are seen. The chirping of birds
is heard. The first shaft of sunlight plays
on the portraits of Washington and Lincoln
which hang side by side above two crossed
swords at one end' of the room. Captain
Hawk sleeps on. A rummaging noise is
heard in the corridor as the charwomen be-
gin their scrubbing. The door is opened.



FIRST DISCUSSION 7

A broad woman with an apron and a jolly
face stands with a mop in one hand. She is
humming an Irish tune quite softly in sweet
low voice. Captain Hawk moves nerv-
ously in his sleep and mutters:

CAPTAIN HAWK

Poor navy fellows. Worse than us. Sunk like
rats. Three to one. No chance. Damn that fel-
low Shuffler. Everything for re-election. Coun-
try can go to hell.

He awakes with a start.

CHARWOMAN

Lord bless my soul, if it ain't Captain Hawk.
It's scan'alous you ruinin' yer health like this.
Three times this week I've met ye goin' out when
I come in the marnin'.

CAPTAIN HAWK

It's all right, Mrs. Riley. We've got to work
for a living the same as you.

CHARWOMAN

Aw, go wan. It's not for a livin' yer wurrukin'
— you with all thim automobiles 'n foine horses.
Why don't ye enjoy yerself ?



8 STULTITIA

Captain Hawk opens a cupboard and gets a
tea-cup, a thermos bottle and some biscuits
and drinks a cup of tea.

CAPTAIN HAWK

Mrs. Riley, do you love your country?

CHARWOMAN

Sure, I do. I love America and I love old Ire-
land. Wan of the two of them's always smilin'
at me, so I don't have to worry much about either.
I hold me Government job, wurrukin' three hours
a morning, an' I run me boardin' house on the
side.

Captain Hawk lights a cigarette and paces
up and down and then stands back to the man-
telpiece.

CHARWOMAN

Besides, I have me bye —

CAPTAIN HAWK

{Solemnly) Well, you see I love my coun-
try, too, only this one is the only one I've got in
the whole world. So I suppose I like to work for
it. {Bitterly) A lot of good it seems to do.



FIRST DISCUSSION 9

CHARWOMAN
Of course your wurrukin' does good. Yer
tired. What's they been doin' to ye? When I
come in ye was swearin' scan'alous. An' what's
that ye sez about a man named Shuffler? Shuf-
fler's the name of me Congressman. He keeps
me in this job because me bye Dan as wurks for
the contractor in Chicago is the boss of tin pre-
cincts. The Honorable Karl Shuffler's moighty
polite to me bye Dan.

CAPTAIN HAWK
I'm glad Mr. Shuffler likes Dan and is kind to
Dan's good mother.

CHARWOMAN

Aw, you livin' here in Washington and thinkin'
it's kindness. Ye ought to have a mother to look
after ye ! Dan's the finest bye in the ninth ward.
He controls the election. He's six feet, foine blue
eyes an' —

CAPTAIN HAWK

{Interrupting) You mean to say seriously
that your son could defeat Mr. Shuffler next No-
vember?



io STULTITIA

CHARWOMAN
I do thot — an' I must be doin' up this room.
She mops about and starts to go.

CAPTAIN HAWK

What is your address in Washington? Oh,
never mind. The Superintendent will have it, of
course.

The Charwoman goes out, looking puzzled,
with a fond gesture toward Captain Hawk,
who is not looking. Captain Hawk goes to
the outer office and returns with The Clerk
bearing typewritten manuscripts. They sit
down at his desk and sort them into one pile.

CAPTAIN HAWK

Now get a tape for these and lay them on the
Chief's desk. We've made great headway since
he went home at midnight. All you people must
go home now and not come back until this after-
noon. You come at three. Then we'll see what's
up and we can send for the others if we need them.

The Clerk goes out through the outer of-
fice and Captain Hawk goes over and looks
out the window. The door opens to admit



FIRST DISCUSSION n

a man of 55, well set up and trim, clad in
khaki uniform and brown boots and wearing
the insignia of a general officer. He is Gen-
eral Middleton, the Chief of Staff. With
him is his daughter, a woman of thirty,
straight and slender with dark hair and eyes,
a noble face and simple manner. She is in
riding clothes and looks merry and exhila-
rated.

THE GENERAL

Well, Hawk, I see you've made a night of it
again.

CAPTAIN HAWK

Good morning, Miss Middleton. Good morn-
ing, General. I've put a tremendous brief on your
desk. I hope it will be useful in your interviews
today, and at the hearings tomorrow. When that
fellow Shuffler- —

MISS MIDDLETON

Oh, who is this Shuffler man, Harry? My
father swears at him in his sleep if he even takes
a nap.

CAPTAIN HAWK

Oh, he is the chairman of the party caucus.
He's one of our very most poisonous little " lit-



12 STULTITIA

tie Americans." He's for no battleships, no
army, no diplomacy. A chip on each shoulder
and both arms in a sling — that's his policy.

THE GENERAL

What about our friend Shuffler? He prom-
ised to come today really to talk things over.
Might as well talk to a sardine without a can-
opener.

CAPTAIN HAWK

Well, Mrs. Riley, our charwoman, is the can-
opener. Her son Daniel is foreman with a Chi-
cago firm of contractors and is a political boss.
He's the guy that can put the shove in Shuffler.

MISS MIDDLETON

Harry! You're growing weak minded. Go
home to bed at once.

THE GENERAL

Please send down my civilian clothes as soon
as you get home.

MISS MIDDLETON

Why change ? You look very nice.



FIRST DISCUSSION 13

CAPTAIN HAWK

(Ironically) You forget that we can't wear
uniform because Congress would see that there
were a lot of us in town and that military affairs
were being handled by professionals, who are of
course prejudiced.

MISS MIDDLETON

(To Capt. Hawk) Well, you aren't much
on dress yourself. Sack coats all winter. Why
don't you wear flannels and a straw hat, if you
will be informal, a: hot morning like this ?

CAPTAIN HAWK
My dear lady. Your ancestors have been here
as long as mine. No, I beat you by ten years, we
got here in 1630. And you don't know your
country a bit.

MISS MIDDLETON

But you ought to wear uniform on duty at the
Department. And the others ought to wear for-
mal black coats and look like officials in office
hours.



14 STULTITIA

CAPTAIN HAWK

Nonsense, my dear lady. It's undemocratic to
be properly dressed. Uniforms suggest czars —
abhorrent to our free institutions. I dassent wear
a straw hat before the decreed date. One can
only be picturesque in the name of democracy.

MISS MIDDLETON

Like Senator Dormant, who hates the country
and wears a sombrero, low necked waistcoat and
evening tie to look like a rural statesman.

CAPTAIN HAWK
Precisely, Madam. That is unstudied simplic-
ity.

MISS MIDDLETON

Goodbye, father, I'm going to send this chat-
terbox home.

They go out. The General sits down at his
desk and plunges into his papers. The cur-
tain is lowered to indicate the passage of two
hours and a half.

The General in a black cutaway coat sits at
Ms desk still studying the dossier. The doot



FIRST DISCUSSION 15

opens and an old colored messenger comes in
to announce Representative Shuffler.

THE GENERAL

Show him in.

There enters with lordly self-assured air a
bustling man of medium height and figure,
badly dressed in citified style, wearing a
brown sack suit. The expression of his face
is hard and cynical, with keen eyes. The
General advances toward the door and
greets him with rather excessive warmth.
This Mr. Shuffler receives as a matter of
course and with slight return, at the same
time throwing himself into a chair, crossing
his legs and joining the tips of his fingers,
with head on one side and assuming a judi-
cial attitude.

THE GENERAL

I cannot tell you how happy I am, Mr. Shuf-
fler, that you have come in, really to talk over
these matters of military and naval legislation.
Of course, I know that you realize as well as I
do that they are of vital interest to all the men



16 STULTITIA

and women of our country and that upon them
depends our safety and the safety of our children
and our children's children. Of course, I know
that you who are the leaders in Congress feel the
terrible responsibility of guarding the nation's
safety, just as keenly as we soldiers do, and just
as keenly as do the naval and diplomatic branches
of this Government.

Mr. Shuffler shifts his leg uneasily, slowly
nods general acquiescence and assumes a still
more impressive and thoughtful mien. Then
briskly taking out his watch:

MR. SHUFFLER

It's 9:30, General; at 10 I have a very impor-
tant appointment to see the President, in relation
to a matter of grave moment to the interests of
the party in my State. (Mr. Shuffler unbends
and leans forward with a more genial expression,
tapping The General's knee) Now, you're a
practical man, General. You know the President
is going too far with this business of disregard-
ing politics in his appointments. Civil Service is
all very well for high-brow talk, but we've got to
keep the organization together. (Mr. Shuf-
fler grows very interested, and walks up and



FIRST DISCUSSION 17

down the room) Yes, IVe got to see the Presi-
dent about the appointment of that collector of
internal revenue in my home town. ( Turning to
The General and speaking with a gesture and
expression of derision) Why, do you know, the
President has nominated for Ambassador that fel-
low Drake, who works in the State Department.
He's never done a thing for the party and we can't
stand for it.

THE GENERAL
{Uneasily) I should like nothing better than
to talk these things over with you, Mr. Shuffler,
but our time is so short. Will you please tell
me whether you are going to be able to hold the
caucus in favor of the battleship program, the
militia reorganization and the ship subsidy to give
us those army transports ?

A NEGRO MESSENGER

Senator Dormant and Senator Rock with a
lady and gentleman with them, sir.

THE GENERAL

Excuse me. Do they wish to see me together?



i8


STULTITIA




MESSENGER


Yes, sir.





THE GENERAL

This is too bad, Mr. Shuffler, just as we were
getting down to this great subject we want to co-
operate upon.

MR. SHUFFLER

Oh, have them in. I know both the Senators
well. {With an air of pride) We will talk it
all over together. {Confidentially) You know
they're both mighty important to you, in the For-
eign Relations, Naval and Military Affairs Com-
mittees, — all three.

THE GENERAL
Show them in.

They enter. Senator Dormant is a tall,
portly man with a courteous manner and a
benign and guileless face. He wears a long
dark coat, broad brimmed black felt hat,
rather low waistcoat and white tie; carries
a cane and speaks with a slight Southern ac-
cent. Senator Rock has the air of a self-



FIRST DISCUSSION 19

made man, but a man of the world. He
exudes an atmosphere of prosperity and well-
being. He looks clever and determined.
The lady is dressed plainly and unfashion-
ably. She wears gold-rimmed eyeglasses
tethered to her back hair by a fine gold chain
and black silk gloves and carries a bulging
bag of twine net. She is of medium height,
spare, rather sallow, — a woman of fifty.
The third man is below the middle height,
and of rotund figure, sleek in address and
appearance. He has small grey eyes, a rosy
complexion and wears an obsolete style of
mutton-chop whiskers. He speaks with a
New England accent.
The General advances to meet them, bowing
ceremoniously to the lady, and shaking hands
with the Senators.

SENATOR ROCK

General, I want you to know Mrs. Evangeline
Tinker, the well-known leader in the temperance
movement. Mrs. Tinker is, without doubt, the
most influential woman in my State and is one of
my constituents whom I am most proud to rep-
resent. {Clearing his throat) Mrs. Tinker is



20 STULTITIA

here in opposition to the movement to restore the
canteen to the Army.

The General bows gravely.

SENATOR DORMANT
General, I have the honor to present to you
Doctor Harmony, of the Peace and Arbitration
Society. Doctor Harmony has given years of
study to the peace movement in this and other
countries. He has been presented at many Euro-
pean courts and has, indeed, received a personal
assurance from many of the sovereigns of Europe
that they are ardently devoted to the cause of peace
and hope for disarmament at the first opportune
moment.

Doctor Harmony rubs his hands, swells up
a little and with a sweet smile of confidence
in pleading a righteous cause, says:

DR. HARMONY

Yes, General, I am a proud and patriotic Amer-
ican. I like to see America take the lead and I
want to have the United States, and particularly
the present administration, bring to our beloved
country that highest of possible honors, the honor



FIRST DISCUSSION 21

of taking the initiative in the great movement of
international disarmament.

Captain Hawk enters and quietly seats him-
self at his desk, exchanging the barest nod
with The General.

MR. SHUFFLER

The Doctor here has eloquently expressed a
feeling which I have felt obliged me to oppose
any excessive naval or military increases at the
present juncture. Our people are complaining of
the high cost of living. The opposition party has
raised the cry of economy in government. We
must —

SENATOR DORMANT
{In a rather oratorical tone) The wise fathers
who framed the Constitution, which is the pal-
ladium of our liberties, and who saw with such
unerring vision the future course marked out for
this their country, never intended that we should
fall the victims of militarism. Now General
Washington especially warns us —



22 STULTITIA

THE GENERAL

I know, Senator, General Washington thought
we should avoid entangling alliances. That is
very true, no doubt, but we must not get into the
position of the defenseless little boy with all the
bullies leagued against him. I revere the wisdom
of the founders of the Republic. They were too
wise to dogmatize as to the manner of dealing
with the new situations of the distant future.
They looked at the facts as they were then. We
only ask you to look at the facts as they are now.
We beg you to consider those facts and answer
our arguments, if you can, with reason. But don't
try to kill scientifically prepared plans for the na-
tional defense by quoting a dogma uttered by
Washington or Jefferson when obviously thinking
of a quite different situation.

SENATOR DORMANT

Well, well, the United States has plenty of busi-
ness to attend to at home. I don't believe in this
new diplomacy and interference with these little
South American republics. I don't believe in our
mixing in about their custom houses, and debts,
and loans. Let 'em eat one another up if they
want to and good riddance. We've got troubles



FIRST DISCUSSION 23

enough of our own. I agree with the Doctor
here. I'm for arbitration.



SENATOR ROCK

Senator, we are detaining Mrs. Tinker, so if
you will allow me, I will now ask her to state to
General Middleton her position on this canteen
question {clearing his throat) one in which I take
a peculiar interest.

MRS. TINKER

Well, General, if you and the Secretary of War
persist in pressing to restore to the army the in-
iquitous institution of the canteen, we propose to
start such an agitation in every State in this Union,
through the press and from the pulpit, that the
President will have to get a Secretary of War and
a Chief of Staff who will not cater to the liquor
interests and debauch the youth of the country
with the demon rum through the vile institution
of the canteen.

THE GENERAL
{Coloring, but speaking with disarming cour-
tesy) But, my dear Madam, allow me —



24 STULTITIA

MRS. TINKER

Our Association has organizations in every
State of the Union and is affiliated with all those
who fight in the great army of purity and temper-
ance. We are going to —

THE GENERAL

My dear Mrs. Tinker, I should have been most
happy to discuss this subject with you with the ut-
most frankness, but I see that you are already
convinced. I suppose you are aware that the
liquor interests in your State are also opposing the
restoration of the canteen. The whisky dealers
evidently think they can sell more bad whisky
in the low dives which infest the neighborhoods
just outside our military posts. We cannot con-
trol those dives. They are having a ruinous ef-
fect upon the health and morals of the soldiers.
We want the canteen precisely because we believe
in temperance — in health. However, you must
have considered all this before taking the responsi-
bility of opposing the canteen.

MRS. TINKER

(To Senator Rock) I am sorry, very sorry,
Senator, to find General Middleton against us.



FIRST DISCUSSION 25

Having made my position plain, it remains to me
only to leave with him this copy of a petition
bearing 10,000 names. (She rises and fishes it
out of the net bag) I bid you good day, General
Middleton,

SENATOR ROCK

Shall I accompany you, Mrs. Tinker?

MRS. TINKER

No, thank you, Senator; but I would like you
to take me to see the President tomorrow.

SENATOR ROCK

(Bowing) Always at your service. You have
only to telephone when you would like me to make
the appointment.

Mrs. Tinker goes out.

THE GENERAL

(To Senator Rock, with a quizzical expres-
sion) I thought I wouldn't mention to Mrs.
Tinker the letter you sent me from that distilling
company in your State, sharing, for different rea-
sons, her opposition to the canteen. I thought
there was a possibility that Mrs. Tinker might



26 STULTITIA

misunderstand {slight pause) although, of course,
I quite appreciate the impartiality with which you
have to represent all interests.

SENATOR ROCK

Oh, yes, of course, of course. You did quite
right, General. Sometimes women do not under-
stand these matters.

THE GENERAL

Gentlemen, it is a great privilege to me to have
this opportunity to discuss with you a matter of
such vital interest to the whole American people
as the protection of this country in its position
among nations. {To Dr. Harmony) Dr.
Harmony, if it interests you, I should be happy
if you would remain, because we want all reason-
able advocates of peace and arbitration to be on
our side. We all want peace, you know, but we
want to be able to fight for it, if necessary.

DR. HARMONY

I shall feel honored to be permitted to remain.

The Colored Messenger announces Sen-
ator Hyhead. The other three politicians
sigh as he is announced.



FIRST DISCUSSION 27

THE GENERAL

Shall I have the Senator shown in?

SENATOR ROCK

You might as well. Then you will have all
parties represented.

Senator Hyhead enters with a solemn expres-
sion and the haltingly aggressive manner of
a man ill at ease. He is a gaunt man, re-
sembling a certain type of country school-
teacher. He is very thin, with a narrow
careworn face and fanatical eyes behind spec-
tacles. His dress is shabby and his manner
very intense. The General rises to greet
him and offers him a chair. All shake hands,
but without warmth.

SENATOR HYHEAD

I am afraid I am interrupting, gentlemen.

THE GENERAL

Not at all, Senator, what can I do for you this
morning?

SENATOR HYHEAD

I wanted to ask you to give instructions to have
the band play at Fort Jones next Saturday at a


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Online LibraryFrancis Mairs Huntington-WilsonStultitia, a nightmare and an awakening; in four discussions → online text (page 1 of 7)