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returned to the dullness and restraint of the environment
that had made him what he was, he seemed to suffer some
inexplicable change, and faded to death with no explanation
at all. The study leaves you dim-eyed at the tragedy that
lies within the soul of men. But you are also refreshed at
the glimpses of how genius loves, and how the follies and
mysticism of New England work its Puritan wonders to

Stouter and noisier are the five "trumpets of jubilee"
that walk across Miss Rourke's stage. They are all creations
of that bold reformist spirit that marked the middle fifty
years of the igth century in these United States. The new
democracy that was surging through the continent and
creating an empire seemed to need megaphones to proclaim
its virtues and shout its achievements. Here are megaphones.
Miss Rourke says:

Words the popular mind was intoxicated by words; speech
might have provided liberation; sheer articulation apparently
became a boon. A public which was not yet a civilization,
which much less composed a society, might have been seeking
a common legend or sign manual.

Certainly these five figures dealt in words: Lyman Beecher
and Henry Ward, the preachers, Harriet Beecher Stowe,
the novelist who helped make a war, Horace Greeley, in-
cessantly pouring forth words, and often very picturesque
words, in his Tribune, and Barnum, the first of the
advertisers and persuaders of the mob to believe in miracles.

' I -HEY had in them a kind of greatness of vision coupled
[ often enough with an inadequacy of thought. Yet they
spoke for their time, and the time heard. Miss Rourke
gives solid three-dimensional portraits of these symbols. She
is none too gentle with their pretense and their ultimate
thinness, but she understands how they molded and also
voiced their generation. Indeed, you will learn a lot about
that mid-century wave, with its rhetoric, its magniloquence,
and its sentimental culture, perhaps best typified in that
East Indian monstrous palace Barnum built in Connecticut
and called "Iranistan." This volume is not one of de-
bunking, but of de-mything. These so-called giants are
caught out of their official poses and stripped of the legends
that have helped to make them great. Yet within them
resided something of greatness, much of courage, and vast
reservoirs of tumultuous energy and democratic faith in
mere size that we find missing from our present quieter,
but less exciting day. Certainly all these trumpets are
joyful, singing praises unto the Lord. Reading of them is
an adventure in understanding the generation whence we
are descended and in the realization of how strange and

diverse are the instruments by which an inchoate flood of
people are directed upon their destiny.


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THE REBELLIOUS PURITAN: Portrait of Mr. Hawthorne, by Lloyd

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of The Survey.

Entre Acte on Grand Street

THE soul of New'York will be duller next year. The
Neighborhood Playhouse Stage will be dark. The
sponsors of this miracle in community art want a year off
"to think things over." They deserve the year, but every-
one who asks that the stage be a spiritual adventure will
miss them. We pray this is only an entre acte. We cannot
believe that "the rest is silence."

The Neighborhood Playhouse has been a success. Its
managers have achieved their purpose. They have set a
standard 'for sincerity and integrity in art that has uplifted
the American stage. Starting as an adventure in play at
a settlement house, the Neighborhood just grew and grew.
Think of what these visionaries did in that tiny stage on
Grand Street. They reunited the drama, dance, and music.
They took a group of young people and made them into a
responsive balanced company with a spirit never discovered
in any other repertory theater in this country. They im-
ported for our entertainment charming exotic things we
would never have seen otherwise the Burmese pwe, the
Chinese pictorial allegory, the ancient commedia dell 'arte.
They let us see the Color Organ, and made of Walt Whit-
man's Salut au Monde! a processional of rhythmic beauty.
They were afraid of nothing. Who will forget the rollick-
ing nonsense and pointed burlesque of the Grand Street
Follies? Where has expressionism been given a fairer trial
than in Pinwheel this year? Here was an international
playhouse with its roots in a neighborhood, experimental but
always sane, presenting the rare, but never the merely preci-
ous, and finally universal because it was based on the ele-
mentals of great drama: beauty, spiritual meaning, and joy
in play.

But such gifts are costly. In mere money, these ten
years or so have cost around half a million dollars; the
annual deficit was over 'forty thousand dollars, in spite of
the list of two thousand season subscribers. Grand Street
is off the beaten track and so the Playhouse never drew
its full audience the people who wanted to come. Indeed,
so small is that theater that even when sold out for long
runs, it never brought in enough to pay expenses. But this
is not the important point. Alice and Irene Lewisohn who
have born the brunt of the deficits might be able to go
ahead for another decade; others might be 'found willing
to share in the endowment of the Playhouse: it is worth
what it costs. Indeed, though I am scarcely a competent
witness in such rarefied realms, not being acquainted with
even the vulgarest fraction of a million dollars, I believe
that the production of that spiritual mystery play, The
Dybbuk, was alone worth half a million. Those who saw

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June 15, 1927

From the jacket of The Field Qod and In Abraham's Bosom,
by Paul Qr^en. R-foirt M. McBride & Co.

that bit of eternity made real will, I think, record it as
their greatest experience in the modern theater.

No, the problem is not bread and butter, but how the
Playhouse may grow without losing its soul. If the Play-
house moves uptown, it may win Broadway and miss the
world. If it welcomes new guarantors of funds, these may
crave success and set up as dictators of what shall be done.
So I think the first axiom of this wise year of meditation
should be that the present sponsors of the Playhouse shall
continue to guide and inspire its 'future. They at least
have proven their indifference to worldly fame and for-
tune. The players themselves might carry on as a com-
pany, but the actors expressed, they did not create, the
Neighborhood spirit. The gathering of a great guild of
subscribers will help, but only if the subscribers want what
the Playhouse has to give. The sacrifices the Theatre Guild
has made prove that in spite of good will success is a dan-
gerous intoxicant. It may deaden the sense of what true
success in art means.

It seems certain the Playhouse must have a new theater
larger and more commodious ... if for no other reason
than to get better ventilation. I have often wondered
whether the mystic submission of my soul to the Grand
Street ensemble was not in reality the preliminary coma
of asphyxiation. I vision a new house (on the model of
a temple, and not of a hotel lobby) facing Washington
Square. That is convenient to modern New York that
most needs the Playhouse, and yet not far enough to tear
up its real roots in the East Side. Its closeness to the

people and its cosmopolitan character depend on that. Even
as I write I wonder whether travelling down to Grand
Street was not part of the Playhouse spell. Here was
something of the freshness of going into foreign lands, and
the evening aroused the mood of the pilgrim rather than
that of the visiting butter-and-egg man. . . . Well, you see
the nature of what this year of meditation faces?

The problem really is: does America want a theater
with a soul? Can we provide the environment 'for an in-
stitution that combines intellect, sincerity, and esthetic cul-
ture with an open-minded quest for the new, the charming,
and the historic? This year's intermission shows how keenly
the directors of this venture realize the dangers of growth
and success. They want the answer to be revealed, not
manufactured. The challenge is not to them, but to us.
To give up what the Neighborhood Playhouse stands for
will mean a defeat to our whole culture. We are chal-
lenged to find in this material civilization a life-giving
atmosphere in which such a delicate and precious gift may



(Continued from page 382)

with a flourish. A bare-headed man dove through the
crowd. "Oh, Judge Rayford, so glad you're here. Come
in both of you."

As they were climbing the steps, the judge explained:
"And Mr. White rescued me." Then, turning to Pop,
"This is the mayor."

"Yup," said Pop, quite unperturbed, "knowed him by
sight, named one of my triplets after him."

Laughing, the mayor paused in the hall, slapped Pop on
the back. "So you're the father of those famous triplets!
Happy to meet you and very grateful you got Judge Rayford
here in time for the meeting. Come sit with us."

Dazedly Pop followed the two up the center aisle to the
platform. The clock pointed to eleven minutes past eight. As
the mayor and the judge took their seats the crowd cheered.

Pop glowed in reflected glory. Shyly he looked around
at the people near him. There was Miss Allison a few feet
away, smiling and nodding. Next her was Mrs. Martin,
the housekeeper woman, then some people from Neighbor-
hood House. The Red Cross lady who bossed things in a
flood sat with the mayor. Pop felt very much at home.

Judge Rayford began to speak. He told how the city was
going to build a wall to hold the river back if the state
legislature would help and asked everybody to sign a peti-
tion lying on the table. That much Pop understood, but
during most of the address he was picturing himself telling
the old woman about his triumph : "And the mayor, he said
to me, 'Come right along, White, you brung the jedge, you
and that fine little car of your'n ; you sit here on the plat-
form.' "

Down in the audience he spied Ben and Evan who caught
his eye and smiled proudly back. They weren't ashamed of
him tonight, he guessed. Hadn't the mayor explained why
the jedge was late and who'd fetched him? Over in one
corner was a group of neighbors from the Flats, whispering
together, pointing him out. He'd be holding a reception to-
morrow at home, telling 'em all just how it happened. "It
was my little car that done it ain't she the bird, though ?"

Suddenly his heart gave a sick thud. Tomorrow was the

day he had to sell the Ford. How could he have forgotten?

After the meeting the audience filed up to the platform to
sign the petition. The neighbors from the Flats shook Pop by
the hand, and then Ben and Evan were there, beaming on him,
saying how grand it was he fetched the jedge.

Susie and Emmy came, proud and happy, introducing their
beaux from the Hilarity Club. "It's at the Neighborhood,"
explained Susie breathlessly. "Miss Allison got us in and we're
going every Saturday night.

Tears filled the little man's eyes and he turned away to
hide them. The charity lady stood beside him, waiting for a
chance to speak. He put out his hand to her in silence.

"So the white elephant wins!" Miss Allison's handclasp was
hearty. "Glad you brought Judge Rayford."

"He give me an order fer all the bluing I got on hand,
that's two dozen bottles."

"Good! And say, I've got some news that's even better.
Talked with Mr. Healy just now and he has a job for you."

Pop's jaw dropped. Miserably he looked at the floor.

"You haven't heard what he wants."

"Wh what?"

"Be his salesman for this district."


"In your own car! He'll pay you a fair salary and com-
mission, besides the gasoline."

The white elephant's triumph was greater than he'd thought.
Pop grinned, pumped Miss Allison's arm ecstatically.

"Say, I'll see him tomorrow! Now I got to drive home and
tell the old woman."


(Continued from page 388)

advised having tonsils removed. I then consulted my own
physician and he advised against having them removed. With
such a difference in the medical mind, what is it advisable for
a layman to do?"

Many correspondents go a step further in their criticism
of the medical arrangements, and have definite remedies to
offer for the situation. "Would it not be a good idea to issue
certificates of fitness to doctors after a proper examination so
your policyholders would be able to distinguish those fitted
to doctor people? After a man has taken a state examination,
he is a doctor forever, even if he is fifty years behind the times.
If the bung is out what good does it do to save the dripping
faucet? If the doctors are incompetent or the treatment
doctors use is wrong, what good is precaution on the part of
the general public?"

Another writes: "Why should not doctors and dentists be
required to report periodically the number of cases of each
kind taken and the results of treatment, or to use some other
method of publicity that would give one an opportunity to
check them up?"

Judging from these and other communications, a portion
of the public is medically upset. This does not include only
those who have established affiliations with pseudo-religious or
other anti-medical cults. In does not include only those who
are too ignorant or stupid to know the difference between a
supposedly well-qualified physician and a so-called "doctor"
of chiropractic. It does include those who recognize that still
in the practice of medicine today there is a great deal that is
chaotic, unintelligent, and irresponsible. This situation does a
great deal of harm not only to the medical profession, but to
the public. While this is a consideration somewhat aside from
our main question, where we are concerned with the provision
of direct and localized medical guidance, yet it has an indirect
bearing upon the solution of the problem. Health education,
such as in health examinations for instance, is making the
public more and more aware of its needs for preventive and
therapeutic medical and health service. Going out to look
for this type of service, the public is choosing, among numerous
channels, some which are roundabout courses or blind alleys.

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However, it is on the hunt for the medical profession, and
evidently it is going to find out. Is it going to find it lacking?
Health education is not going to stop. More and more, people
are going to realize the importance of sound medical guidance.
More and more they are going to know what that means.
Also, gradually they are going to find out the short cuts to that
knowledge and guidance. Will the doctors be prepared to
give the service demanded?

We have said that present methods through which the public
is seeking medical guidance are in large part wasteful and in-
effective; that the channels are roundabout and that in par-
ticular, the volume of national correspondence that is carried
on is futile. This futility arises out of two quite different
factors inherent in the situation and method.

IN the first place, personal medical service is not a national
problem. It is a local and intimate personal question.
This service somehow or other must be directly supplied.
Names of physicians cannot be suggested from a national cen-
ter except under very unusual circumstances. It should be
remembered that these people want information about where
to find and how to select a doctor, about how to get a com-
petent specialist, about where to get a health examination.
Sometimes they want to know about clinic services, but more
frequently they want to go to a doctor and pay for the service
desired. They want to know where and how they can get
and pay for diphtheria immunisation, and whether or not their
doctor is right in telling them that scarlet fever toxin is or is
not a good thing. Sometimes they think they want one thing,
and actually very much need something entirely different. Of
course, they may have lost confidence in routine medical pro-
cedures, and ordinary medical men; but more likely they are
new to the community, know no doctors, do not know how
to find one, have reasonable confidence in regular medical prac-
titioners but are not sure that they can avoid fraud and chi-
canery in making their own medical selection. Furthermore,
if the service is to be real, anything more than a gesture it
must provide when necessary not only a system for answering
mail inquiries, but also a center where direct personal advice
through conference may be facilitated.

Obviously this needs local handling. This advice must be
given by local responsible and reliable sources. Whose job
is it? The Health Department's? County Medical Society: 1
A local voluntary health organization that might establish
a clearing house of this type? Of course, as responsible pay
clinic services or labor and industrial workers' clinics develop,
the need for judgment on the part of the individual in selecting
medical service will be decreased. But how far will or should
pay clinical services be developed? There is one certainty,
and that is that they are likely to develop quite rapidly, and
perhaps much more rapidly than the medical profession would
welcome unless that profession, or some of its allies, devise
machinery for guiding individuals into safe channels of private
medical service.

It is really a problem involving, not necessarily the "social-
ization" or state control of medicine, but a greater social use
of medical facilities. Medical organization is faced with three
possibilities, a choice accentuated by the public demand for

1. State control, with a more or less compulsory degree of
public service in this field.

2. Semi-public provision through salaried medical service by
means of semi-public pay or free clinic facilities.

3. The incorporation of health and medical guidance into the

! routine practice of medicine, under the auspices of private
medical organizations. This latter possibility seems to offer the
greatest potential advantage at the present time.

IF we are to develop these possibilities, every community of
any size should have under local medical auspices, a
recognized and advertised medical information bureau to which
individuals may turn with a feeling of confidence for informa-
tion with reference to health and hygienic practices, for im-
partial, unprejudiced, and financially disinterested advice on

Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesThe Survey (Volume 58) → online text (page 88 of 130)