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less. The man who lies down to sleep knows that he will wake up again in the morning. Death as sleep is a fancy of religion, the great consoler of human ignorance. At best, the notion is but a hope, a prophecy, that may or may not be fulfilled. We are not sure that the night of death will ever break into a new dawn!
'The poets have compared death to winter-time, a period of cold and silence, preceding and preparing the rebirth of springtime, the splendor and exuberance of summer. That, also, is a guess, a speculation, an attempt to snatch a grain of consolation from the infinite unknown.'
The sun was just touching the higher peaks of the western mountains, casting a dust of golden rose along the horizon, and unwinding a sash of violet and blue along the sea-line to the south. Some of the peaks seemed to be catching fire from a gigantic furnace flaming beyond and within them. The old man pointed his cane at the sinking sun.
"The death of the sun is not death at all. That sun knows that he will rise to-morrow morning in the east, and retraverse the path of glory he has followed for thousands and thousands of centuries. I imagine that is why, each evening, he bids us farewell so gloriously. He reminds one of a great actor who does a great death-scene on the stage, with his mind on the midnight supper he is to have in the café an hour later. No, we do not die like that. With us it is once and for always; and what makes matters worse, almost, is that, when we get ready to depart, we see others in the full flush of youth coming on to take our places.
'Sometimes I envy the great trees in the forest. They die so slowly and so resignedly. They keep the ground underneath them dark. There are no impudent saplings rising in the shade, to taunt the agony of the giant with his
helplessness. Human beings are not so fortunate. Decrepitude comes over us, while the young people about us are beaming with the radiant prospects of their long futures.'
The duchess was listening attentively, because she judged that everything that such a celebrity thought and said must be important. Nevertheless, all that brooding over death disquieted her. Could n't he talk on some more pleasant subject? Had n't he heard any new gossip about the people living along the coast? There was that young woman in the house on the Cape. Did n't he know what people were saying about her? Why should old people worry about death, anyhow? Death comes to them soon enough without their troubling to send a special invitation!
When the duchess timidly ventured this last reflection, Mr. Baldwin showed himself the man of authority, the man accustomed to holding the floor at directors' meetings. He did not choose to be distracted from his line of thought. He went on talking, but in a lower voice, and with his eyes on the ground, as if he were embarrassed in advance by the complaint he was to make against destiny.
'Human life reminds me of a badly managed piece of business, where the superintendent is either a lunatic or a malicious fool. Life never succeeds in doing what it undertakes to do. When we are young, we work to make our way in the world. We set out after glory and wealth. In attaining them, we waste the years when the possession of them would do us any good. We find success when we are old, at a time when success and failure are much the same thing. The years when we might enjoy them are years usually of sacrifice and renunciation.
'Just imagine, duchess! For years and years I worked like a dog, shut up in dark offices or in smoky factories,
when, outside, the sun was shining and the gardens were in flower. Now, when I have everything, I can even improve on Nature, if she does n't satisfy me. I can make a paradise out of a desert. Do you know that many women who found me impossible when I was young, I could now persuade to love me, old and decrepit as I am? Money is a wonderful thing, duchess-when you don't have it!
'People all consider themselves immortal. A man knows all along that some day he is going to die; but death is always a concern for some future day. It is never real to the moment! We find it natural that other people should die. As for ourselves, death is something incredible, almost impossible. The young people of the present would not understand us if they heard us talking now. They will have to wait till they get older, to know the full misery of human life. But when their turn comes, they will moralize as we are doing, and prove just as unintelligible to the generation after them.
'People like to delude themselves. They refuse to think of death in the midst of their happiness.'
At this point the duchess broke in, to emphasize the necessity of illusion, without which life would be impossible. The old man agreed.
'Yes,' he said, 'we must deceive ourselves in order to go on living. We all pass through life on the wings of some dream or other - all of us, even those who seem furthest removed from any kind of sentiment. You think me a hard man, don't you, duchess? Well, all my life long I have been chasing a will-o'the-wisp, living on an illusion that in every moment of trial has given me strength and courage to push on.'
Baldwin reviewed the story of his life from the days of the Civil War, when he had thrown up a promising business position to become a soldier. When,
after the war, he had saved his first thousand dollars, he went to Europe, and was in Paris once during the later years of Napoleon's reign, at the time of the famous Exposition.
"That was where I saw you first, duchess, when all Paris was talking about your beauty, your splendor, the magnificence of your entourage.'
'O Mr. Baldwin!' the duchess interrupted, very much flattered. 'What a pity you were never introduced! It would have been so delightful to know you when you were young.'
'I should never have been received,' Baldwin replied. 'I was a young fellow, vigorous, and not bad-looking, perhaps; but something far less presentable than the old man you see before you. I was very poor then, and struggling for an education. I had nothing of what is called breeding. My hands were rough and calloused from manual toil. No, it did n't even occur to the John Baldwin of those days that he could have a place at one of your receptions. I was content with standing on the sidewalk, lost in the Exposition crowds, on the chance that the Emperor would pass that way in an open carriage, with the Empress at his side, and, in attendance on her, the Duchess of Pontecorvo, then in the full effulgence of her youth and beauty.'
'O Mr. Baldwin!' the Duchess said again, looking at the ground, while a faint blush overspread her pale wrinkled cheeks.
'Well,' the American continued, that is when I saw you first; and, do you know, I have never forgotten you all my life long! You see, boys have to fix their eyes on some great goal, on something far above them. The more unattainable the goal, the better; for, if it is quite out of reach, the illusion they hang on it will never be disturbed by contact with cold realities. You were that inaccessible pinnacle to me. You will excuse me, duchess! We are both
of us now of an age when we can say things without any of the restraints proper to the young. Yes, you! In my time of danger and struggle, three ambitions were always in my mind, three goals that were to be the reward of victory. I wanted, first, an enormous, palatial residence surrounded by a tremendous park. I wanted a yacht big enough to sail any sea on earth. And my third ambition of course, it was really my first, the one most persistently before my mind was to have for a wife either a woman like the Duchess of Pontecorvo, or the Duchess of Pontecorvo herself!
'And, you see, life often affords unexpected bounties that it seemed quite mad to dream of in advance. As for that palace, I have a dozen of them scattered here and there about the world. As for the yacht, I could build a fleet of them, if I weren't bored to death with the three I already have in one port or another of the United States and Europe. It is the third ambition that I never realized. The one thing that John Baldwin failed to attain in his triumphant existence was the Duchess of Pontecorvo!'
'O Mr. Baldwin!' the duchess repeated in a great flutter of effusiveness. 'O Mr. Baldwin, how funny!'
'And I suppose the reason why that illusion has always been with me is because I failed in winning her. I can honestly say, duchess, that I have thought of you every moment of my life. A man like me has work to do, work that often leaves little leisure for sentimental broodings. But I am able to affirm that in the few moments of
repose I have had, every time I was able to let my fancy wander as it listed, the first picture inevitably to come into my mind was the memory of you.
'I married, of course, and I loved my wife, I am sure. She was a good woman, an excellent housewife, a charming,
delightful comrade; but the flare, the glory of my dream of love always lingered about your image; and I believe it was in that that I found the stimulus to go on with my work. I understood in a certain way that the beauty of my dream lay in the fact that it would never come true. That is why I never tried to find you when I had become a really successful man. I was old, you see, and you could not have been very young. Your children had grown up and established families of their own. You were long since a grandmother. What would have been the use? Why destroy the last illusion left me?'
He stopped for a second, while the duchess studied his face with interest, struggling apparently to reconstruct before her mind's eye the image of the American millionaire as he must have been in those youthful days.
'O Mr. Baldwin!' she said again, 'why did n't you declare yourself?'
The old man, absorbed in the thread of his own thoughts, seemed not to be listening.
'I did n't try to find you because I was afraid you might have changed in the meantime. Now it does n't matter! You have changed, if I may say so; and I have changed, changed immensely. There is little left of the John Baldwin who used to stand on the sidewalk in Paris and watch you go by. We are two old people who have outlived their real lives. The woman I am speaking of is the woman I can still see in my imagination. In my mind no time has passed, and fashions have not changed. The only Duchess of Pontecorvo that I shall ever really know is a woman in a hooped crinoline skirt, in the style of the Empress Eugénie and the other ladies of the Imperial Court.
And that is the only duchess I care to know. For that is the woman who was loved as few women are ever loved, loved by a poor young American, who
on Cap Martin he had been intending to make this revelation to her. That, perhaps, was what had impelled him to pay a visit to the garden of the church. But, once confessed, the weight had been lifted from his soul and life never goes backward; peace be with the dead!
But the woman, more responsive to sentimental things, was unwilling to forget. She clung to the illusion as if it were a life-raft come to her hand in the torrent of time that was sweeping her so rapidly toward eternity. Besides, her feminine vanity had been aroused from its sleep of half a century. A declaration of love at eighty! And from the most powerful man in the world!
Baldwin coughed. The evening wind was chilling him.
'Let's go,' he said. 'At our age it is not quite safe to catch cold.'
He gave one last look at the crimson afterglow. "The sun has gone,' he said. "To-morrow he will return, and the next day, and the next. But when we sink below the horizon of life
The duchess took his arm, and began to walk back along the path to the church, her bamboo cane beating rhythmically on the flagstones. Quite unconscious of everything around her, she seemed not to hear what her companion was saying. She had gone far back into the past and how delightful those memories were!
likewise has passed away-a love whose principal charm was its unselfishness; a love never to be requited because it was never to be revealed!'
'O Mr. Baldwin!' the old lady repeated in a trembling voice, as if she were about to weep; 'why did n't you speak? Why did n't you tell me then what you are telling me now?'
Baldwin shrugged his shoulders. He had a clearer, a more accurate sense of reality than she. He understood that what now seemed to this old woman an unpardonable oversight, she would have regarded in those days as an unpardonable presumption.
The sun had set, leaving a patch of pale rose upon the mountain-tops, the last trace of its departed glory. The evening star was twinkling in the luminous trail that still brightened the western sky. The eastern horizon above the Italian mountains was deepening to an intenser blue, through which, fainter still, a few stars were struggling to appear. A breeze had begun to blow down from the mountains, setting the leaves of the garden astir on its way out to wrinkle the placid mirror of the sea. The old duchess seemed not to notice. Her mind was on other things.
'Why didn't you speak then?' she insisted. 'It would have been so interesting! Why didn't you declare yourself?'
Baldwin again shrugged his shoulders; for now the illusion was quite dead, and it had been dead for a long time. He had spoken only under the impulsive need for confession that we all seem to feel at certain moments. Ever since he had found the duchess living near him
They pushed their way through the bushes of the garden, lowering their heads to avoid the hanging branches.
'Why did you not declare yourself?' she kept repeating. 'Why did you not tell me then what you have just told me now?'
THE IRON MAN IN INTERNATIONAL POLITICS
BY ARTHUR POUND
IN America we invent, manufacture, and use in the production of goods, an infinite number of machines; but we pay scant heed to the effect of these machines upon the evolution of society. Out here, in our great Middle West machine-shops, where the automatic principle of machine production has reached its highest development and broadest application, we possess tools superior to those of Paris. Yet it would never have occured to any of us to say in 1914, as did M. Bergson, addressing the French Academy:
'Many years hence, when the reaction of the past shall have left only the grand outlines in view, this, perhaps, is how a philosopher will speak of our age. He will say that the idea, peculiar to the nineteenth century, of employing science in the satisfaction of our material wants had given a wholly unforeseen extension to the mechanical arts, and equipped man, in less than fifty years, with more tools than he had made during the thousands of years he had lived upon earth. Each new machine being for man a new organ, an artificial organ, - his body became suddenly and prodigiously increased in size, without his soul being at the same time able to dilate to the dimensions of his new body.'
Bergson pictures the 'machinate mammal' of Butler's striking phrase as a dread, autogenetic being, adding limbs and organs ad infinitum, without corresponding growth of soul-a modern monster set going by our busy Frank
ensteins, the inventors. Let us consider, rather, man in society, organized into states, and observe some of the political and social results which have followed, and are likely to follow, multiplication of man-power by machinery.
Multiplying man-power by machinery sets going certain forces and tendencies in key with but not at all points parallel to those set going in other times by brisk breeding. However generated, new peaks of human energy strain social and political systems evolved to carry currents less high. Unless the current is cut down, or the system of distribution readjusted to carry the new peakload, something breaks. War is simply one method of restoring equilibrium between the kinetics of human energy and the statics of social order.
Machine use, on the expanding scale of recent years, multiplies goods-production over and above any point attainable by natural increase without machine assistance. Power over machines enabled the coal-and-iron members of the great-nations group to establish world-leadership in the years between the industrial revolution and the World War. Not only did population in the industrial state increase absolutely, but the effectiveness of those increased populations in wealth-production multiplied over and over. States with more machines assumed preponderant political influence over those with less.
Because the nations of leading power