Various.

Harper's Round Table, August 27, 1895 online

. (page 4 of 7)
Online LibraryVariousHarper's Round Table, August 27, 1895 → online text (page 4 of 7)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


to pray and learn and are pious.' Then I said, 'My good man, I
have a son; his name is John Luther, may he not also come to this
garden to eat such nice apples and pears, and ride such fine
little horses and play with these children?' And the man said, 'If
he likes to pray and learn and is pious, he shall come to this
garden with Philip and James; and when they all come together they
shall have pipes and cymbals, lutes and other musical instruments,
and dance, and shoot with little cross-bows.'

"And he showed me a fine meadow in the garden prepared for
dancing, there being nothing but golden pipes, cymbals, and
beautiful silver cross-bows. But it was yet early and the children
had not dined. Therefore I could not wait for the dancing, and
said to the man, 'My good master, I will go quickly and write all
this to my dear little son John, that he may pray diligently,
learn well, and be pious, that he also may be admitted into this
garden; but he hath an Aunt Lena whom he must bring with him.' The
man answered, 'So be it; go and write this to him.'

"Therefore, my dear little son John, learn and pray with all
confidence; and tell this to Philip and James, that they also may
learn and pray; and ye will all meet in this beautiful garden.
Herewith I commend thee to Almighty God. Give greetings to Aunt
Lena, and also a kiss from me. Thy father who loves thee.

"19th June, 1530.
"MARTIN LUTHER."

A cheery, bright, helpful, storylike letter to a boy, is it not? And
written from that old German castle in a time of danger and of
controversy. And the writer is neither soldier, prince, nor priest, but
greater than soldier, prince, or priest, the one man who gave the
death-blow to the ignorance of the Dark Ages, and changed the history of
the world. For the writer was Martin Luther, the apostle of the
Reformation, the "renegade monk" who dared, in spite of Pope and Orders,
to tell the world that alike the Word of God and the conscience of man
were free, and who, in the year 1521, commanded by Pope and Emperor to
take back his bold words, heroicly said, in the midst of enemies, and in
the face of almost certain death: "I may not, I cannot retract; for it
is neither safe nor right to act against conscience. Here stand I. I
cannot do otherwise. God help me."

And the little four-year-old boy to whom this storylike letter was
written was Luther's first-born, the dearly loved "son John." He was
named for his grandfather Hans (or John) Luther, the Saxon miner, and he
was born in June, 1526, in the cloister-home in Wittenberg, where his
father, Martin Luther, had first lived as monk, and afterwards as
master. For when that monk made his heroic stand, and the men of North
Germany followed him as a leader, the Prince of his homeland, the
Elector of Saxony, gave him as his home the Augustinian convent at
Wittenberg, deserted by the monks, who would not follow him whom they
called "the renegade."

Here in the cloisters of the old convent, close to the city wall, and
almost overhanging the river Elbe, Martin Luther and his wife Catherine
made their home; here they received into their household students,
professors, travellers, and guests - men anxious to hear the glad tidings
of religious freedom that this great leader proclaimed to Germany and
the world, and here, as I have told you, in June, 1526, little
"Hanschen," or "Johnny" Luther was born.

Luther was a man who loved home and family ties, and from babyhood
little John was most dear to him. The Reformer's letters to his friends
are full of references to the small stranger who had come into the
Wittenberg home; and neither hot religious disputes, knotty theological
problems, nor grave political happenings could crowd Johnny out of the
father's heart.

We get these glimpses of "our John" frequently. "Through the grace of
God there has come to us," he writes to one of his friends, "a little
Hans [John] Luther, a hale and hearty first-born"; and a few days later
he says that, with wife and son, he envies neither Pope nor Emperor. Of
the year-old boy he writes, in May, 1527, "My little Johnny is lively
and robust, and eats and drinks like a hero."

That year of 1527 some terribly contagious disease, called, as all such
"catching" illnesses then were, "the plague," visited Wittenberg and
converted the Luther household "into a hospital." "Thy little favorite,
John" - thus he closes a letter to a friend - "does not salute thee, for
he is too ill to speak, but through me he solicits your prayers. For the
last twelve days he has not eaten a morsel. 'Tis wonderful to see how
the poor child keeps up his spirits; he would manifestly be as gay and
joyous as ever, were it not for the excess of his physical weakness." It
was in the midst of the poverty and worry that the plague and the other
crosses he endured brought about that Luther wrote his great hymn, "Ein
feste Burg ist unser Gott," one of the grand and triumphant "Hymns of
the Ages," and we can imagine that, with his powerful voice, he rang the
hymn out gladly when, in December, 1527, he could write thankfully, "Our
John is well and strong again."

Luther was a great letter-writer, and in the midst of pressing duties
and important deeds, away from his loved ones, he could always find time
to write home. Many of these "letters home" remain on record, beginning
"To the gracious dame Catherine Luther, my dear spouse, who is
tormenting herself quite unnecessarily"; or, "To my sweet wife Catherine
Luther von Bora. Grace and peace in the Lord. Dear Catherine, we hope to
be with you again this week, if it please God." But one of the most
famous of the Luther letters is that one which, when "our John" was just
four years old, his father wrote from the old castle of Coburg, in the
shadow of the Saxon mountains, and in the midst of stirring times,
sitting at the window, as we have seen, while outside the crows were
cawing and the jackdaws were chattering, and armed men guarded the great
letter-writer as the most precious of Germany's possessions.

Five boys and girls blessed that cloister-home at Wittenberg. The
Luthers were never "well-to-do"; sometimes they were so short of
money - for Luther was overgenerous in his charities - as to feel the
pinch of poverty. But Luther had friends in high places who would not
let him want, and he was therefore able to give his boys tutors at home
and good instruction later on in life.

"Son John" could scarcely be called a brilliant scholar. Indeed, he was
a bit dull, and inclined to take things easy. In this his mother seems
to have been just a trifle partial to her first-born, and inclined to
help him thus take things easy. So, when he was sixteen, "son John" was
sent away to school.

From the letter which he bore from his father to Mark Crodel, the
teacher of the Latin school in the Saxon town of Torgau, young John
seems to have entered the school as a sort of "pupil-teacher," for thus
the letter runs:

"According to our arrangement, my dear Mark, I send thee my son
John, that thou mayst employ him in teaching the children grammar
and music, and at the same time superintend and improve his moral
conduct. If thou succeedest in improving him, I will send thee two
other sons of mine. For, though I desire my children to be good
divines, yet I would have them sound grammarians and accomplished
musicians."

Young John would seem to have been sent to Torgau as one needing
correction; and, indeed, I am afraid he was not always a good or a
dutiful son; otherwise it is hard to explain the words of Luther when
one of his friends spoke of the boy's frequent attacks of illness. "Ay,"
said Dr. Luther, "'tis the punishment due to his disobedience. He almost
killed me once, and ever since I have but little strength of body.
Thanks to him I now thoroughly understand that passage where St. Paul
speaks of children who kill their parents not by the sword, but by
disobedience."

Just how the son "nearly killed" his father we cannot say. It may have
been the great man's strong way of putting things, but evidently "son
John" also needed reformation.

[Illustration: JOHN WAS THE COMPANION OF HIS FATHER IN MANY
EXPEDITIONS.]

However that may be, we catch more glimpses of John's good side than of
his bad. He was the companion of his father in many of his expeditions
about Germany, and he was with him on that fatal trip to Eisleben in
January, 1546, to reconcile the quarrelsome Counts of Mansfeld.

With his boy he forded the icy rivers Mulde and Saale, where they nearly
lost their lives, and where the Reformer doubtless "caught his death."
Escorted by horsemen and spearmen, Luther and his son entered Eisleben;
the Counts of Mansfeld were reconciled, but Luther fell sick, and that
very night, the 18th of February, he died.

All Germany mourned the great man's death; all Germany hoped that his
sons might follow in the father's steps. But the three boys seem only to
have turned out respectable men, without any of the elements of
greatness or leadership.

John Luther made a fairly good lawyer. He married the daughter of one of
his professors at Königsberg University; served as a soldier in the
German army; settled down, and died at Königsberg, in the year 1576, at
the age of fifty. His name is chiefly remembered as the "dear Johnny"
and "son John" of his great father's letters, and of the happy home
circle in the cloister-house at Wittenberg. He left neither name nor
deed to make his memory a word in the mouths of men; yet we cannot but
feel that, as the son of Luther, he must have been proud of the great
father whom he remembered only with love and reverence, and, let us
hope, rejoiced to see the regard the world paid to the masterful ways of
the great Reformer and leader, whose gifts the son did not inherit, and
whose name he but feebly upheld.




[Illustration: THE PUDDING STICK]

This Department is conducted in the interest of Girls and Young
Women, and the Editor will be pleased to answer any question on
the subject so far as possible. Correspondents should address
Editor.


The last Pudding Stick was especially designed for young people who wish
to write for the papers. This one is also to be about writing, but in
rather a different line. I hope none of you will be offended if I urge
upon you the importance of learning to spell. It always gives me a
little quiver of pain - something like the sudden start of a nerve in a
tooth which is sensitive - when I read a letter from one of my girls, and
find that she uses two "l's" where she should use one, or one "t" where
two are required. I think it is easier for some than for others to spell
correctly. Spelling is largely a matter dependent on attention. You may
not know it, but your eyes are always teaching you how to spell, and,
unconsciously, as you read interesting books or the daily paper, you see
how words are spelled, and learn to spell correctly yourself. There is
no excuse for any girl who has both sight and hearing to blunder in her
spelling, when Helen Keller, who can neither see nor hear, spells
without ever making a mistake. Helen writes a beautiful legible hand,
and uses a type-writer to perfection, and yet she has never had the
advantages which most of us possess, having been blind and deaf ever
since her babyhood. The thing is to pay close attention if you desire to
be a good speller.

Very much more than we fancy we are dependent for our style of speech in
writing and conversation on the authors we read. Here, too, we need to
be attentive. No bright American girl can afford not to read a few pages
of some good author every day of her life. Mere story-books are not
sufficient. Keep on hand a book which is a serious undertaking, and plod
straight through it. I have made this a rule all my life, and I advise
you to do the same.

Those who have had the good fortune to be early taught another language
besides your own, and who understand French or German, should keep on
hand a book in one of those languages, and read a chapter or two every
day. If I could I would like to persuade you of the importance of doing
something along the line of a study or an accomplishment every single
day. Even a few minutes regularly devoted will tell in time to
advantage. The president of one of our great New England colleges used
to say to the students, "Nothing can stand before the day's works."
People who set apart a little while every morning or every afternoon for
a definite purpose, and then never allow themselves to lose that time,
making it up if they are interrupted by extra effort on the next day,
soon surpass the brilliant people who are capable of great exertions now
and then, but never do anything patiently day by day. I wish, too, that
I could say to you as strongly as I feel, "love your work." "The labor
we delight in physics pain." It seems to me a dreadful thing to go to
one's work with the spirit of a slave. We should always put into our
work our best thoughts, our best hope, and the motive of true love. No
matter what the work, the way we go about it gives it worth and dignity,
or makes it petty and mean.

Another caution is, do not talk very much about what you are doing.
Nothing is so weak as vanity. Somewhere in the world there is always
somebody doing such work as ours quite as well as we can do it, and we
have no right to inflict upon our friends the story of our personal
endeavors or failures. It is well to omit from our daily conversation as
much as possible references to ourselves and to what we are engaged
upon. I want my girls to become interesting women, and the woman who is
really interesting thinks and talks of others more than of herself.

It is a good plan, in order to fix on your mind what you read and wish
to remember, to keep a commonplace book. Here you may copy poems which
please you, dates of striking events, bits of description, and
entertaining anecdotes. One girl friend of mine succeeded thus in making
a very beautiful compilation, which was afterwards published, and which
gave great pleasure to her friends.

[Illustration: Signature]




ON BOARD THE ARK.

BY ALBERT LEE.


CHAPTER IV.

The animals poured into the Ark like the tide through a sluice. They
pushed and shoved and crowded, and many tried to get to the Purser's
window ahead of their turns. The big ones brushed the little ones aside
with a total disregard of gentleness or consideration. But the Bull soon
put a stop to this sort of thing. He stuck his head out of the window
and said all sorts of horrible things, and vowed he would have the doors
closed if the beasts did not preserve better order. Things went along
better after that.

The larger animals came in first: Lions, Tigers, Elephants, Hippopotami,
Rhinoceroses, Camels, Giraffes, Dromedaries, Buffaloes, Polar Bears,
Grizzly Bears, and every other kind of Bear. Tommy thought he had never
seen so many different animals in all his life. It beat a circus all
hollow, and it reminded him of the college song his Uncle Dick used to
sing about:

"The animals came in two by two,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The animals came in two by two.
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The animals came in two by two,
The Elephant and the Kangaroo,
And they all got into the Ark before it began to rain!"

After the large animals followed a long procession of deer - Elk,
Antelopes, Gazelles, Chamois, Moose, and Caribou. Behind these came dogs
of every kind - big dogs, little dogs, thin dogs, fat dogs, gay dogs, sad
dogs, shaggy dogs, sleek dogs, and all colored dogs; Greyhounds,
Mastiffs, Pugs, St. Bernards, Fox Terriers, Setters, Pointers, Poodles,
Great Danes, Skyes, Black-and-Tans, and Collies. Toward the end of the
procession came a long-bodied brown dog with big ears and long straight
legs. Tommy had never seen that kind before.

"What is he?" he said, pointing downward.

The ex-Pirate shook his head, but the Gopher answered, "That's a
Dachshund."

"A Dachshund?" repeated Tommy: "I guess not. Dachshunds are not built
like that. Look at his long legs."

"Well, that _is_ a Dachshund," insisted the Gopher; and then he pulled
his sunbonnet over his head and closed his eyes for a nap.

The French Poodle was the only one that had any trouble with the Bull,
because the Bull could not speak French, and refused to understand what
the Poodle said. Tommy plainly heard the dog muttering to himself as he
left the window:

"Espèce de John Bull! Il est toujours comme ça!"

But the little boy could not understand what the Poodle meant anymore
than the Bull could, because he had not gotten along any further in his
French exercise-book than "Have you seen the good General's red slippers
under the green table of the wine-merchant's beautiful mother-in-law?"
And he did not recognize any of the words in the Poodle's plaint.

The Bull had been losing his temper pretty rapidly ever since the doors
opened, and he seemed to be waiting for a chance to do or say something
ugly. Pretty soon a couple of harmless and sleepy-looking Oxen came
plodding up the gang-plank and strolled through the doorway.

"Look here!" the Bull shouted at them, "you've got to leave your
chewing-gum outside! No gum-chewing allowed on the Ark!"

One of the Oxen protested, but the Bull asserted that if the Ox made any
trouble he would come outside and settle the matter himself; and so both
Oxen regretfully stuck their chewing-gum under the gang-plank and passed
in. A little while later a Lizard came along and handed in his ticket
through the small window near the floor. The Bull looked at it and
frowned, and then stuck his head out over the counter and glared at the
little Lizard, who positively turned green with fright.

"What do you mean by presenting this ticket?" asked the Bull, savagely.

"Please, sir, I want to come into the Ark," replied the Lizard, meekly.

"Well, you can't get in on this ticket - see?"

"Please, sir, it's the only one I have," continued the Lizard,
trembling.

"Well, look here, young fellow," snorted the Bull, getting angrier as he
spoke; "this ticket is your shape, but it is not your size. You bought
it from a speculator outside!"

"Oh no, sir!" exclaimed the Lizard.

"I don't care what you say. This is the Crocodile's ticket, and it ain't
your size, and you can't get in on it!"

"Please, sir. I did not know," mildly protested the Lizard. "I can't
read, sir."

"Well, don't you know that the pauper, the insane, and the illiterate
are not allowed on this Ark?" roared the Bull, apparently deriving much
pleasure out of the fact that he was scaring the Lizard half to death.
The little fellow did not in the least understand the meaning of these
big words, but he was so frightened by the Bull's ferocious manner that
he turned away and scurried frantically down the gang-plank, and hid
under a big stone in the sand.

"How awfully mean for the Bull to talk like that to such a little
animal!" whispered Tommy to the ex-Pirate.

"That's what he always does. Never takes a fellow his size," answered
the ex-Pirate. "He bullies the little ones: that's why he's called a
Bull."

Presently a Crocodile came stamping up the gang-plank. He had a
business-like expression in his eye, and a cold sarcastic smile
displayed his glistening rows of sharp teeth. He stepped right up to the
ticket-window, and thrust his long snout in so suddenly that he almost
knocked the Bull off his stool.

[Illustration: "WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY SENDING ME A MINIATURE TICKET LIKE
THIS?"]

"What do you mean by sending me a miniature ticket like this?" he
shouted, fiercely.

The Bull stuttered, "I beg your pardon, sir; but won't you allow me to
look at the ticket?"

The Crocodile passed the paper in.

"Oh, it's all a mistake," began the Bull, apologetically. "I assure you
it is all a mistake - "

"I should say it was," interrupted the Crocodile, who appeared to be in
an exceedingly unpleasant frame of mind. "Do you think for a moment that
I am going to take any such accommodations as that? Do you think I can
sleep in any berth that was built for a Lizard?"

"It's a mistake," repeated the Bull, affably. "Your quarters are on the
main-deck, starboard side, No. 417," and he passed out the ticket he had
taken away from the Lizard.

The Crocodile did not appear satisfied. He stuck his nose through the
window again and shouted:

"Well, I want satisfaction! I want satisfaction, and I'm going to have
it - "

But the crowd of animals in line behind the Crocodile, tired of waiting,
gave a push that sent the latter past the window and out into the main
hall, still mumbling something about "satisfaction." The Bull looked out
of his office, much relieved, and shouted down the line,

"Somebody tell that Lizard he can come in."

It did not take so long as Tommy thought it would for all the animals to
get on board. When the last one had passed in, preparations were made to
haul up the gang-plank, for the wind had freshened, the skies had
darkened, and the general appearance of the heavens betokened the
approaching storm. Just as the big plank was about to be taken aboard,
faint voices were heard from the ground outside:

"Wait a moment! wait a moment!" they cried. "Wait for us; we're almost
there!"

It was the Turtles. By so close a margin did they get into the Ark. The
Bull scolded them as they passed, and then slammed down the window, and
the Gopher, on the rafter next to Tommy, heaved a sigh of relief.

Soon afterwards it began to rain. The big drops fell noisily upon the
shingled roof of the Ark, and pattered on the window-panes.

"What is that noise?" asked a little Armadillo.

"That's the rain, dear," replied its parent.

"Oh no," said the little one; "the reindeer are sleeping down-stairs."

And then there was a great jolt, and the Ark floated off on the flood.

[TO BE CONTINUED.]




[Illustration: INTERSCHOLASTIC SPORT]


The interscholastic matches at Newport promise to be more interesting
this year than ever before. The game put up by the various players who
are to represent the schools in the national tournament has been of so
much higher an order than that of any previous season, that it has
attracted more than the usual amount of attention from sportsmen not
directly interested in the schools. There is better material blossoming
this August than has come forward for many years, and most of it is
coming out of the schools. The new players who are making themselves
prominent are all young men - not men who have been playing many years
and have finally developed skill. Thus it is very evident that the
formation of the Interscholastic Tennis Association has been a good
thing, and if properly supported - as I have no doubt it will be - it is
bound to aid materially the progress and refinement of the game. It
means the early development of good players and a higher standard in
inter-collegiate tennis. Already interscholastic tennis, in its first
champion, has given us a national representative who last year saved our
trophy from foreign hands.

The history or the movement may be summed up in few words. It was
initiated by the Harvard University Lawn-Tennis Club at the
suggestion of its secretary, William D. Orcutt, in 1891, when the
first tournament was held upon the college grounds, Saturday, May
2d, ten schools having replied to the circulars and letters by sending
representatives - twenty-five in all. The tournament, played off in two
days without a default, was won by R. D. Wrenn, of the Cambridge Latin
School, and created no small amount of interest both in college and
schools as the large audience at the courts testified. From this
beginning grew the idea of an Interscholastic Association, with an
annual tournament as a national fixture. In 1892, therefore, Harvard
sent out further circulars inviting preparatory schools to send
representatives to a second tournament, to be held under the auspices of
the United States National Lawn-Tennis Association, by the Harvard Club,
with the intention of forming a permanent association of the schools at
a meeting to be called on the day of the tournament. In response
sixty-six entries were received, representing at least twenty-four
schools. The tournament, held May 7th, was won by M. G. Chace, another
who has since distinguished himself among our ranked players, and
afterwards, as had been proposed, the association was formed.


1 2 4 6 7

Online LibraryVariousHarper's Round Table, August 27, 1895 → online text (page 4 of 7)