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trayed in typical moral situations. In one sense it can be called the ethics
of a man of the world, so novel as even in our day not to carry conviction
in didactic form. From the point of view of the writer this philosophy of
human conduct underlay the calm and beneficent art of Shakespeare;
latent in his earlier works, it became more conscious — more distinctly
a philosophy — in the productions of his maturity. In the second place
let us emphasize the fact that this system of ethics is a system of evolu-
tionary ethics. The poet's tolerance for man's frailty, temperamental
to begin with, found finally its justification in the principle that in the
process of development sensuality undergoes refinement, and that the
race gradually becomes less brutal and more spiritual. This view, which
forms the basis of much in 'The Tempest,' enables us, as it did Shakespeare,
to regard the occasional recrudescence in human society of gross animal
instincts with a certain degree of equanimity. Or, again, the part that

*For detailed evidence of what is here stated merely in outline see: 'Shakespeare and Psychognosis,'
M. F. Libby, University of Colorado Studies, March, August, December, 1906, and June, 1907.



WALTER LIBBY 429

selfishness has played in the struggle for existence once realized, one can
never return to that dualism that would utterly destroy the egoistic, and
preserve only the altruistic. As a concomitant of his philosophy we find
in the works of Shakespeare a breadth and catholicity of moral judgment
more frequently sympathized with than accounted for. It is this very
tolerance, no doubt, that makes Churton Collins speak of the Christian
spirit of the philosophy of 'The Tempest,' but causes Professor Moulton
to question the soundness of the dramatist's doctrines. In the third place,
in this system of ethics human character and conduct are regarded as
social rather than individual matters. At first glance Antonio seems
scarcely to deserve the tolerance that Prospero extends to him, but, as
a social factor, is not Antonio needed to balance the extreme altruism of
Gonzalo, who is as far removed as he from the aesthetic moral ideal indi-
cated in our analysis by the term natural.'' Again, is it not dangerously
liberal to tolerate characters like Stephano and Caliban.'* It certainly
would be, if the social harmony were not restored by characters of weak
appetite like Adrian and Ariel. Finally let us recognize that there is
severity as well as tolerance in the evolutionary ethics of the play. Antonio
is forced to relinquish the dukedom he had usurped. Sebastian feels the
sting of remorse. Alonso begs for pardon, Caliban and his companions
are sternly punished. The existence of sin and degeneration is recognized
in Prospero's moral state, and all wrong-doers meet with social disappro-
bation. In fine, the play contains a coherent and significant moral philosophy.

In the pursuit, then, of the central idea of 'The Tempest' we have
come upon a conception that has claim to rank as a philosophical view of
some importance. The resemblance between this comprehensive survey
of life and the philosophy of the present day that has been stimulated by
modern biological research has perhaps been sufficiently indicated. The
calm faith and sober optimism that mark the drama have their analogy
in the tone of fixed conviction of the concluding sentences of the nineteenth
century gospel of human origins. 'Man may be excused,' writes the
modern naturalist, 'for feeling some pride at having risen, though not
through his own exertions, to the very summit of the organic scale; and
the fact of his having thus risen, instead of having been aboriginally placed
there, may give him hope for a still higher destiny in the distant future.
But we are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with the truth

so far as our reason permits us to discover it .' For the poet, on the

other hand, hopes and fears, and truth as it appeals to the imagination,
are legitimate matters of treatment in connection with the destiny of man.

One must not allow himself, however, to be tempted into tracing too
close a resemblance between the views of Darwin and those of Shakespeare.



430 SHAKESPEARF/S FINAL PHILOSOPHY

No doubt, the fact that Shakespeare understood individual character, and
understood it in its development, the fact that in the London of his time
he had under daily observation human society in all its stratifications,
and the fact that his imagination was kindled by the discovery of distant
lands and primitive peoples and the record of voyages no less stimulating
to his mind than the expedition of the Beagle to that of the modern natu-
ralist, might lend plausibility to the claim that the Elizabethan poet-ph-
ilosopher anticipated the theories of nineteenth century science as far as
they concerned the field in which he was master. Nevertheless, the danger
of reading into the literature of the past the ideas of the present must
give us pause. We arc obliged, of course, as already recognized, in trying
to realize what Shakespeare means for us, to employ the standpoint of
the present, but we must at the same time be warned by such absurdity
as that of Sir Daniel Wilson, who referred to Caliban as the Missing Link,
disregarding the fact that terms that seem essential to one generation
of thinkers are but an ephemeral jargon in which partial theories express
themselves. Just as it would be a mistake to ascribe to Rousseau the honor
of having anticipated modern biology because what he designated nature
might very well be referred to as congenital organization or hereditary
predisposition, so it would be altogether misleading to infer from a study
of 'The Tempest' that Shakespeare was the apostle of organic evolution,
or of sexual equality, or of eugenics, or of a system of natural education.
Let us look rather to the beginning of the seventeenth century if
we would see the true significance in the history of European thought
of Shakespeare's general views of character and conduct. His poetical
art stood in the same relation to the Renaissance period as did that of Dante
to the Middle Ages, — an adequate expression and culmination. The former
solved the ethical dualism established by the latter. Throughout the
renaissance we find an attempted readjustment of western culture to
oriental, of paganism to Christianity. About a struggle for a harmonious
solution of this antithesis the history of civilization during may centuries
might be rewritten. The conflict can be observed in almost every depart-
ment of human activity. That part of culture history that deals with
painting oflFers an illustration. One can trace a progressive movement
in art from the first feeble attempts at a revival of the antique to the
finished triumphs of the high renaissance. In the midst of this movement,
as, for example, in Botticelli, we perceive the new spirit not yet clarified;
there is evidence of premature liberty not altogether at ease with itself,
a joyousness held in leash by a puritan conscience. How different is the
spirit of freedom with which Raphael treats both Christian and pagan
subjects. Similarly in the field of literature. In Chaucer, as in Botticelli,



WALTER LIBBY 431

one catches a glimpse of the old in struggle with the new. But in no artist
do we find so complete a solution of the antithesis as in Shakespeare. In
him the harmonious blending of two opposed influences is owing, in our
opinion, to the comprehensiveness of that philosophy which comes to its
fullest expression in 'The Tempest.'

Does the fact that Shakespeare solved the riddle of the renaissance
imply that his moral philosophy is destined to supersede Christian ethical
doctrine by the very fact that it comprehends it? This is a difficult question,
the answer to which would largely depend on the definition of the terms
employed. Tolstoi with great courage, and, as it seems to us, with great
insight, recognizes a difference between his own philosophy and that of
the writer whom Carlyle called 'the greatest of all intellects.' It is a real
difference that no true Shakespearian would care to conceal. Tolstoi's
proudest claim is to have returned to the moral teaching of the first cen-
tury. If his is a pure, it is at the same time a primitive Christianity.
While, if Collins is right in applying the term Christian to Shakespeare's
moral philosophy as revealed in 'The Tempest,' one must admit that the
Christianity is a highly evolved sort, made possible by sixteen centuries
of European culture. This is but another way of saying that latent in
the pure Christian doctrine is the highest ethical truth known to man.
From another point of view, however, Shakespeare's philosophy might be
regarded as an evolved Hellenism, a development of that wisdom of the
Greek poets and teachers that the Christian church has at times recognized
as an ally of its own.

Finally, how would a man of great genius, and of great power as an
artist, holding the moral philosophy that we have here ascribed to Shake-
speare, view the question of his own responsibility? What would be his
own ethical attitude toward the conduct of life? At first sight one is tempted
to answer, a negative one. His complete faith in the process of develop-
ment might seem to justify an attitude of laissez faire. Such nonchalance
Emerson and others believe to be characteristic of Shakespeare. The
resemblance, however, that has generally been recognized between Shake-
speare and Prospero suggests an altogether different answer. In the play
Prospero appears as the zealous guide of the evolutionary process, em-
phasizing as means of advance 'education and selection by marriage,*
the only reasonable means according to the opinion of a recent biologist*
of bettering the inherent qualities of the human stock. In the civilized
world by the spell of his beneficent art Shakespeare has advanced moral
progress as his generous and philosophical mind conceived it. Thus 'The
Tempest,' expressing Shakespeare's final philosophy, has a personal quality,

•Alfred Russell Wallace, 'Evolution and Character,' Fortnightly Review, January, 1908, pp. 1-24.



432 SHAKESPEARE'S FINAL PHILOSOPHY

and contains a calm and majestic answer to the challenge of the New
England moralist: When the question is to life, and its materials, and its
auxiliaries, how does he profit me?



THE CHILD IN THE
HOUSE*

A Play in One Act

By Homer Hildreth Howard

CHARACTERS

Mrs. Barnes, to be played with subdued intensity, and half-concealed

sadness.
The Messenger Boy.

Mrs. Keegan, an Irishwoman who is not intended to be comic.
Jim Barnes, a drunkard who is not intended to be comic.
The Baby.

Time — the present.
Place — any large city.

Scene

A basement room in a tenement house. The room is lighted by
two half windows, one right and one left, rear, and by the glass which fills
the upper half of the door, center, rear. This door is at the bottom of a flight
of stairs leading down from the sidewalk. Through this door one sees a gray
stone wall surrounded by an iron railing.

There is a stove down left, and a large wooden rocker near it. Up stage
is a small stand with a bucket and basin. A cupboard with china is against
the right wall, down stage, and near it a table with a red and white cloth, and two
wooden chairs. A door up right leads to a bedroom, a table under the short
window, right, is piled with boxes full of artificial flowers. The room is poor
but extremely neat.

At rise a woman in black and white calico is discovered at the table working
rapidly making flowers. After a moment she stops and takes up a cabinet-size
photograph and looks at it. She makes as if to kiss it but stops, puts it down,
and begins working rapidly. A messenger boy appears at the door, center,
rear. A knock.

The woman. — Come in!

( The boy comes in and the noise of the street with him.)

•'The Child in the House' was produced for the first time at the Toy Theatre, Boston, April 15.
1912.

Copyright, IQ13, by Homer H. Howard.

433



4.>4 Tin- Clinic I\ TWV. TiorsE

Tkr boy. — llullo, Mrs. Barnes. Any flowers ready for me to-day.'*

Afrs. Bamts. — Shut the door, Jack. {tVcarily.) When Tin workin'
night and day on these flowers tliat noise drives me crazy. {lie shuts the
door, she points to three large boxes on the table.) Theni's ready. Isn't tliere
no message nor orders from tlie firm.^

The boy. — Sure. There's always orders for you. (He gives her an
envelope an J gets dozen the boxes while she reads the note. In doing so he
brushes the photograph onto the floor, picks it up and fingers it.)

Mrs. Barnes. — It's carnations they want this time. They've forgot
at tlie factory.

The boy {u-ho has been looking at the photograph reads from the back of it). —
George Barnes, W iUiam Barnes. Was these your boys, Mrs. Barnes.''

Mrs. Barnes. — They were that. (She looks at him and comes over
beside him.) William — he'd 'a' been about your size by now if he'd 'a'
lived — George was younger — I've often looked at you when you come
for the flowers — and thought of my William. [She reaches for the photo-
graph.) I just couldn't keep from thinkin' about them a lot to-day, some-
how, and I had this out lookin' at it. It don't do no good — just makes
me sad-like. {As she takes the picture she takes the boy's hand. He is shy
at first.) Jack — Jack — {she draws him toward her). How red and cold
your hands is! Ain't you no mittens ."^

The boy. — No, Mrs. Barnes.

Mrs. Barnes. — Well, you come right over here to the stove and get
'em warm. {She leads him to the big chair by the stove and has him spread
out his hands to the warmth. She stands looking at him.) Just wait till I
see — {she goes to the cupboard and from a drawer she brings a pair of knitted
mittens). Jack — {she comes back to him) I couldn't never give these away.
{She looks at him for a moment.) But you may as well have them — they was
William's. {She gives them.)

The boy (getting up). — Gee, you're good, Mrs. Barnes. {He puts his
hands on her arms and looks up at her. She is greatly pleased and puts an
arm around his neck.)

Mrs. Barnes. — Is your mother good to you.^

The boy. — Y-es. (Quickly.) Not so good to me as you always are,
though. There's others besides me at home, you know.

Mrs. Barnes {gathering him into her arms). — Oh, Jack! {Stroking his
hair. To herself.) Why is it that them that has 'em can't be good to 'em.**
And them as would be good to 'em can't have 'em.^ {Rousing herself.)
Well, well, I must go back to my flowers. (She goes reluctantly.)

The boy. — My mother does washing.
Mrs. Barnes. — She does .''



HOMER HILDRETH HOWARD 435

The hoy. — I don't suspect she makes as much money as you do with
the flowers. {He is putting on his mittens and gathering up the boxes.)

Mrs. Barnes. — I do earn a tidy bit. With what we've put by now,
we could 'a' raised our boys respectable-Hke. Jim's been steady now a good
little while. {A sigh.) That's how it goes. {She hesitates.) Jack, won't
you kiss me.''

{He hangs back a moment and then comes to her and kisses her. She
holds him in her arms a moment, then he gathers up his boxes and goes.)

Mrs. Barnes. — They're bulky-like, but not heavy. {She goes to hold
the door open for him.) Good-bye, Jack.

The boy (from outside). — Good-bye, Mrs. Barnes.

{She watches him, then comes back to the table humming happily and
begins rapid work. Her fingers work more and more slowly, and the humming
grows more and more halting. She stops and looks at the picture, then puts it
down resolutely and goes to work. A woman appears at the door. She comes
in. She is dressed in black and carries a large bunch of half-withered pink
carnations. She sits in the rocking-chair.)

Mrs. Keegan. — Good-afternoon, Mrs. Barnes. I've just passed that
boy from the factory, and he with three big boxes. Faith, Mrs. Barnes,
it's not another married woman in the neighborhood works as hard as you do.

Mrs. Barnes. — My husband's as good as any woman's in the whole
section, Mrs. Keegan, if it wasn't for the drink.

Mrs. Keegan. — It's beasts they are all of 'em fast enough — but it's
not without 'em we women could be doin' at all.

Mrs. Barnes. — We ought not to have to depend on 'em.

Mrs. Keegan. — That's some of the advancin' ideas you're after gettin*
at the settlement house.

Mrs. Barnes. — But don't I myself earn as much as Jim.''

Mrs. Keegan. — What if ye do! If all the women was to take to earnin*
their own livin' themselves, where at all would the next generation be.''

Mrs. Barnes. — There's too many boys now who'll grow up only to be
like their fathers.

Mrs. Keegan. — But in this country it's like as not the barefoot boy
in the gutter will be President itself some day.

Mrs. Barnes. — Sometimes — do you know, Mrs. Keegan — I'm
almost glad my two boys died.

Mrs. Keegan. — Mrs. Barnes!! But here am I almost forgettin' about
the lovely funeral and you not bein' able to be in it at all. See the beautiful
flowers Mary give me, and they right off her mother's coffin.

Mrs. Barnes. — Let me have one. I've got to make some carnations
and I've almost forgot how. (Mrs. Keegan hands over one of the flowers.



436 TTTF. CTTTID IX Till'". HOUSE

which Mrs. Barnes takfs and looks at intently and caresses.) Whatever
will become oi them two poor orplian children?

Mrs. Keegan. — For Mary it's arranged tiiat a rich lady will take her
into her house.

Mrs. Barnes. — And she hardly twelve. She'll be worked half to death.

Mrs. Keegan. — Work! Small work she will do. It's adopted she is.

Mrs. Barnes. — Adopted!! {She stops working for a moment and then

begins again rapidly. She stops again, then she forces herself to work, and the

next few speeches betray an intensity mixed zvith indecision.)

Mrs. Keegan {not heeding her). — And sure the lady has a house as big
as the whole of Sullivan's department store itself.

Mrs. Barnes. — Who's goin' to take the baby, George.''
Mrs. Keegan. — Nobody, I'm afraid.

Mrs. Barnes {more excited). — And will he go to the orphans' home.'
Mrs. Keegan. — It's likely. You should 'a' seen the grand dress the lady
wore, and she comin' to the funeral.

Mrs. Barnes (thoughtfully, sighing). — The woman who took Mary is
rich, you say.'

Mrs. Keegan. — She is that, indeed! Sure she keeps six hired girls in
her house.

Mrs. Barnes. — That poor baby. {She gets up and sits down.)
Mrs. Keegan. — It's too bad entirely! If I didn't have five of my own
I'd take him myself.

Mrs. Barnes {despairingly, half to herself). — People who haven't the
money to raise 'em right ought not to have children.

Mrs. Keegan. — Is that so, now! Sure and mine will be as well raised
as yours, an' they still livin' at all. I'll be goin' now and leave ye to say
your mean things to yourself. {She goes towards the door.)

Mrs. Barnes. — It was of myself I was thinkin', not you, Mrs. Keegan.
Mrs. Keegan. — Well, I'm willin' to believe you. But I'll be goin'
anyhow.

Mrs. Barnes. — Don't, I want to talk to you.

(Mrs. Keegan comes back and sits down.)

Mrs. Keegan. — If it's decent talk I'll be after hearin' it.

(Mrs. Barnes comes and stands beside her. She is nervous.)

Mrs. Barnes. — If — for — I — I'm going to take that baby.

Mrs. Keegan. — Sure, you're not in earnest, Mrs. Barnes.

Mrs. Barnes. — You can't know how I crave — it's thirteen years since

mine went

Mrs. Keegan. — A baby's an awful care.
Mrs. Barnes. — As if I minded that.



HOMER HILDRETH HOWARD 437

Mrs. Keegan. — Do you know how to take care of a baby at all — your
own died very young I've heard.

Mrs. Barnes. — Look here, Mrs, Keegan — I've never told this to
nobody. 'Twas no fault of mine they died {she half breaks off) — it's hard
to be married to a drunkard and to have no children.

Mrs. Keegan {not understanding). — What's that.''

Mrs. Barnes {half turns away). — It's true. I'm a healthy woman —
both my boys was weaklings — tuberculosis — and they died — both.
They was bright and they had good brains. I might never 'a' known hovr
it was, but I overheard the doctor talking to my Jim. He told him our
boys died because their father was a drunkard. The child of a man that
drinks is apt to be weak and the consumption germs fasten on him.

Mrs. Keegan. — Mrs. Barnes!

Mrs. Barnes. — He told Jim again and again that the fault was his and his
alone. I can hear him yet sayin', 'Jim Barnes, you're a drunkard — you're
not fit to be the father of boys and girls.' Jim's never found out that I
know, but that's the reason we never had no more children. {She goes hack
to the flowers.)

Mrs. Keegan. — You're a brave woman, Mrs. Barnes. If 'twas myself
I'd not had the courage to do it.

Mrs. Barnes. — It's not easy. That messenger boy to-day! I talked
to him and — it only makes me lonesome — all quivering inside.

Mrs. Keegan. — And will himself never stop drinking.^

Mrs. Barnes. — I don't know — he's been steady now for a long time..
He promised the doctor — he's promised me, but with a man his age it's
likely the curse would still be on the children.

Mrs. Keegan. — But still you're thinkin' of takin' this one.

Mrs. Barnes. — That's different. Any child of our own would be apt
to be took so, but an adopted one won't have the curse you see — he's been
sober a long time now, and we've a bit laid by in the bank. I'm hesitatin'
because I don't know if we'll have money enough to raise him rightly.

Mrs. Keegan. — And how much might that take.^

Mrs. Barnes. — 1 don't know, but together I think wc could do it —
maybe it would help Jim to keep steady. {She clenches her ha^ids appeal-
ingly.)

Mrs. Keegan. — If I wanted a baby like you do I'd have it. {She gets
up.)

Mrs. Barnes.— Oh, I'll work with every bit of all the strength God
give me for the joy of a child in my house. {A pause. Mrs. Keegan is
uncertain what to do.)

Mrs. Keegan. — I'll run over and bring the baby for yc to sec.



438 THK CHILD IN THK HOUSE

Mrs. Barnes. — No, no — yes, do, Mrs. Kccgan, do.

(^Mrs. Kf.egan goes out. Mrs. Barnes walks about nervously and ex-
citedly, but she looks happy. Mrs. Kkegan calls back from the left.)

Mrs. Keegan. — I'll be right back. It's just around the corner.

(Mrs. Barnes goes to the door., faces left., and nods. She takes up the
photograph and looks at it^ presses it to her breast and goes to the table. A
pair of legs pass the half window, right, rear, and a moment later a man's
form is seen through the glass of the rear door. He stumbles against the
masonry and turns to fumble at the door. lie comes in. Mrs. Barnes
turns as he enters.)

Mrs. Barnes. — Jim ! ! {She takes his arm and puts htm into the big
chair. He is not drunk, but has been drinking, and his mind is not absolutely
clear.) Sit here. {She stands looking at him. He looks up at her.) Jim!
Jim! what's the matter.'' {She makes a despairing gesture. Jim grumbles
inarticulately.)

Jim. — Wasn't that — Mrs. Keegan I saw comin' out of here.''

Mrs. Barnes. — Yes, Jim.

Jim. — What was she after .^

Mrs. Barnes. — She was coming from Sarah Donnell's burial and just
stopped in to tell me about it.

Jim. — Sarah left two kids didn't she.^

Mrs. Barnes. — Yes — ain't you home early, Jim ?

Jim. — No goin' back to work to the shop.

Mrs. Barnes. — Jim!

Jim. — Laid off — dull season — what's the use

Mrs. Barnes. — And I believe you've been drinkin'. Don't go gettin'
discouraged. We've got a bit laid up for just such a rainy day. Go into
the bedroom and rest a little — you're tired. You'll feel different after
you're rested.

{She gets him into the bedroom, up right; the stage is bare for a moment.
Mrs. Keegan, red and out of breath, hurries in with the baby, and a moment
later Mrs. Barnes comes back, closing the door after her.)

Mrs. Barnes. — Oh, Mrs. Keegan. {She hurries to Mrs. Keegan and
buries her face for a moment against the baby.)

Mrs. Keegan. — I'm all out of breath, I hurried that much. Isn't he
just the lovely baby.''

(Mrs. Barnes takes the baby and fondles it.)

Mrs. Barnes. — You're mine — mine — mine. {She holds the baby in
one arm and stretches the other to Mrs. Keegan, who strokes it.)

Mrs. Keegan. — To think you're going to keep him.

Mrs. Barnes {gives the child to Mrs. Keegan and stands looking down



HOMER HILDRETH HOWARD 439

M him). — Mrs. Keegan, Jim's come home — no work — been drinkin'


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