Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Marguerite Henry

Born April 13, 1902 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Died November 26, 1997 in Ranche Sante Fe, California

Dubbed "the poet laureate of horses," Marguerite Henry, née Marguerite Breithaupt, born the youngest of five children on April 13, 1902 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is one of the doyennes of equine fiction. She, Anna Sewell (the Black Beauty stories) and Walter Farley (the Black Stallion stories) set the pace for horse stories though they each have a style clearly distinct from one another.

Despite her later career writing about animals, Henry grew up in Milwaukee and never had any pets as a child. Her father was a publisher and encouraged his daughter's interest in reading and writing. His gift to her for Christmas when she was seven years old was a red writing table, fully stocked with pencils, sharpeners, and plenty of foolscap.

In her biographical entry to Junior Book of Authors, Henry relates her particular good fortune as the youngest member of her family:

A curious thing happened one spring to a small flock of ducks owned by a neighbor of ours. Driving rains washed all the duck eggs down the creek - all but one. The lone egg hatched out, and instead of the usual spring sight of several mother ducks each with a trail of little ducklings, there was one yellow duckling with a whole formation of mammas waddling along in wedge shape behind him.

The lone duckling seemed especially favored. He had so many mammas to teach him how to swim and hunt and fish.

In many ways my childhood was similar to the lucky duckling's. I was born into a family of three sisters (two full grown) and a grown brother, so instead of having only one mother to hover over me it seemed as if I had a whole flock of mammas and two papas! If I called out the window to a playmate, "Mamma says I can't go with you today," the answer usually was, "Ask one of your other mammas."

When she was eight, Henry was stricken with rheumatic fever and for a number of years, until she was twelve years old, was unable to attend school. It was during this period that she developed a deep love of reading, particularly stories of animals. She took to writing stories as well and was good enough to sell a story to a magazine for $12 (roughly $250 in today's dollars) when she was only eleven years old.

Having completed high school, Henry then attended the Milwaukee State Teachers College, graduating in 1922. Henry had met her future husband, Sidney Crocker Henry, while on a fishing expedition with her sisters in northern Wisconsin. They married the year following her graduation and remained wed for sixty-four years till his death in 1987.

Sidney Henry was a sales manager and initially his work took them to Philadelphia and then other locations before they finally settled outside of Chicago, close enough to be accessible to his travel needs while allowing Marguerite the lifelong desire to have a place where she might have animals.

From the start of their married life, Sidney Henry encouraged Marguerite to spread her literary wings, particularly recommending when they were in Philadelphia that she try and sell some of her stories to The Saturday Evening Post. Her initial work was accepted and ultimately led to a series of assignments and later, her publication in other national magazines such as Reader's Digest, Forum, and Nation's Business.

Despite earning a living as a writer for magazines, Henry longed to write books and eventually decided to focus on children's books. When they moved to the Chicago area, Henry took the opportunity to begin to concentrate on writing a book. Her first effort, Auno and Tauno, was published in 1940 and received reasonably well. Auno and Tauno is based on tales from Finland she heard exchanged between a couple of Finnish friends.

In 1941 she published eight books in a series put out by Albert Whitman. These were "travel" books introducing children to countries such Argentina, Brazil, and Canada. They were illustrated by the famous illustrator, Kurt Weise (see Featured Author essay of February 3rd, 2008).

During World War II, Henry continued writing, putting out a sequence of books, all either animal stories or travel stories. In 1945, she authored Robert Fulton: Boy Craftsman, in the immensely successful and long running Childhood of Famous Americans series (still in print today).

More critically though, in 1945, after two decades of writing, she published her first break-through success, Justin Morgan had a Horse which received a Newberry Honor Award. Justin Morgan set a recognizable pattern which Henry followed in many of her later successful books. Following her love of animals and horses in particular, Henry had come across the history of the origins of the Morgan breed of horses and turned it into a lightly fictionalized story.

Most of Henry's best books are about horses with cats, dogs, burros and even a bird thrown in to leaven the mix a bit. While most of her books are fictional, the best among them are historical fiction as was the case with Justin Morgan had a Horse. In fact, Henry was noted for the extent of research she invested in understanding the actual history of the story before she ever set pen to paper. In this habit, she was akin to her near contemporary Lois Lenski (Featured Author, July 13, 2007).

As she was completing the manuscript for Justin Morgan, Henry began casting around for an illustrator that could do justice to her text and who shared a similar love of horses. On a visit to a bookstore one day, she came across a book called Flip which was the debut story about a horse named Flip from author/illustrator, Wesley Dennis. As she later said, "This artist saw beyond hide and hair and bone. You could see that he understood and loved animals, that he was trying to capture their spirit, personality and expression."

Henry contacted Dennis and he indicated he would be delighted to illustrate Justin Morgan. Thus began one of those career relationships in which author and illustrator are inextricably linked to one another and where the text or the illustrations in isolation of each other are inconceivable. As in music where you have Roger and Hammerstien and Lerner and Lowe, in children's literature you have A.A. Milne with E.H. Shepard in the Winnie the Pooh books; Laura Ingalls Wilder with Garth Williams in the Little House on the Prairie series; and Mary Norton with Beth and Joe Krush in the Borrowers series. Virtually all of Henry's subsequent books were illustrated by Dennis until his death in 1966.

In 1947, Henry published the first of what was to become a series of books, Misty of Chincoteague, another Newberry Honor winner. As with Justin Morgan, the Misty story had its basis in real life. Henry's editor happened to attend the annual Pony Penning Day on Assateague Island (one of the Virginia barrier islands) in 1945 and learned of its interesting history. According to local legend, Spanish horses had swum ashore from a shipwreck early in the Virginia colonies' history and had bred in the wild. The adjacent island of Chincoteague was inhabited and it became the custom for the local community to conduct an annual Pony Penning Day in which wild horses were captured and sold to raise funds for local community projects.

Henry's editor suggested she might be interested in developing a story around these events and she and Dennis flew to the island and began the detailed research that led to Misty of Chincoteague which develops the local history and incorporates characters whom she met and interviewed on the island, principally the Beebe family. Over time, Misty of Chincoteague was followed by Sea Star: Orphan of Chincoteague, Misty, the Wonder Pony by Misty Herself, Stormy, Misty's Foal, and Misty's Twilight. After all her research, Henry purchased one of the Chincoteague foals, named it Misty and brought it home to Illinois where it resided for a number of years. Henry later returned Misty to Chincoteague for breeding. For those who do not find it too morbid, Misty passed in 1972 and was taxidermied and is on display on the island at the Beebe Ranch. While I like taking the kids to places associated with stories they have loved, I am not sure that a visit to a stuffed horse is quite the reaffirming experience one might desire. There's no accounting for tastes, though.

The following year, 1948, saw the publication of another well-received classic, King of the Wind, again a lightly fictionalized telling of the origins of one of the three founding studs of the Arabian stallion line of horses. After two Newberry honor awards, King of the Wind was the title for which Henry won the Newberry Medal.

In 1953, Henry published Brighty of the Grand Canyon which is a wonderful tale of loyal and persevering burro.

With fifty-six books published in her lifetime, Henry was a quite prolific author, however, none of her works have any sort of whiff of formula. She simply wrote wonderfully rendered stories about animals which hewed close to historical fact, informed children about animals without anthropomorphizing them, told her stories with plot, narrative tension, adventure, humor and a dose of pathos, and told every story as a unique tale.

While the Misty stories are often categorized as favorites among young girls (and it is true that they are), the writing is so good and the plot, adventures and storyline are so strong that it is unfair to pigeon-hole them into that too-narrow category. These are stories for all children who love to read. They are especially attractive to those who love animals and horses.

Album of Horses by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis Suggested

Black Gold by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis Suggested

Born to Trot by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis Suggested

Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis Highly Recommended

Brown Sunshine of Sawdust Valley by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Bonnie Shields Suggested

Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis Highly Recommended

King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis Recommended

Marguerite Henry Treasury of Horses by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis Suggested

Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis Highly Recommended

Misty's Twilight by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Karen Haus Grandpre Suggested

Mustang, Wild Spirit of the West by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Robert Lougheed Suggested

San Domingo, The Medicene Hat Stallion by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Robert Lougheed Recommendation

Sea Star, Orphan of Chintoteague by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis Recommended

Stormy, Misty's Foal by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis Recommended

Marguerite Henry's Bibliography

Auno and Tauno: A Story of Finland by Marguerite Henry 1940

Dilly Dally Sally by Marguerite Henry 1940

Alaska in Story and Pictures by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Kurt Weise 1941

Argentina . . . by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Kurt Weise 1941

Brazil . . . by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Kurt Weise 1941

Canada . . . by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Kurt Weise 1941

Chile . . . by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Kurt Weise 1941

Mexico . . . by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Kurt Weise 1941

Panama . . . by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Kurt Weise 1941

West Indies . . . by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Kurt Weise 1941

Birds at Home by Marguerite Henry 1942

Geraldine Belinda by Marguerite Henry 1942

Their First Igloo on Baffin Island by Marguerite Henry 1943

Boy and a Dog by Marguerite Henry 1944

Little Fellow by Marguerite Henry 1945

Robert Fulton: Boy Craftsman by Marguerite Henry 1945

Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1945

Australia . . . by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Kurt Weise 1946

Bahamas . . . by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Kurt Weise 1946

Bermuda . . . by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Kurt Weise 1946

British Honduras . . . by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Kurt Weise 1946

Dominican Republic . . . by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Kurt Weise 1946

Hawaii . . . by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Kurt Weise 1946

New Zealand . . . by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Kurt Weise 1946

Virgin Islands . . . by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Kurt Weise 1946

Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1947

Benjamin West and His Cat, Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1947

Always Reddy by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1947

King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1948

Sea Star: Orphan of Chintoteague by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1949

Little-or-Nothing from Nottingham by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1949

Born to Trot by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1950

Album of Horses by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1951

Portfolio of Horses by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1952

Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1953

Wagging Tails: An Album of Dogs by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1955

Cinnabar: The One O'Clock Fox by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1956

Black Gold by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1957

Muley-Ears, Nobody'd Dog by Marguerite Henry 1959

Gaudenzia: Pride of the Palio by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Lynd Ward 1960

Misty, the Wonder Pony by Misty Herself by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by 1961

All about Horses by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1962

Five O'Clock Charlie by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1962

Stormy, Misty's Foal by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1963

White Stallion of Lipizza by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1964

Portfolio of Horse Paintings by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1964

Mustang, Wild Spirit of the West by Marguerite Henry 1966

Dear Readers and Riders by Marguerite Henry 1969

San Domingo: The Medicine Hat Stallion by Marguerite Henry 1972

Pictorial Life Story of Misty by Marguerite Henry 1976

One Man's Horse by Marguerite Henry 1977

The Illustrated Marguerite Henry by Marguerite Henry 1980

Marguerite Henry's Misty Treasury by Marguerite Henry 1982

Our First Pony by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Rich Rudish 1984

Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis 1987

Misty's Twilight by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Karen Haus Grandpre 1992

Brown Sunshine of Sawdust Valley by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Bonnie Shields 1996

Monday, April 28, 2008

"Regrets, I've had a few . . ."

We can all remember regrettable instances of actions taken in our childhood that, had we been more mature we would not have done but which certainly seemed reasonable at the time. Rosemary Sutcliff has one in Blue Remembered Hills.

There was Sheila Walker who was six, and who, I am ashamed to say, Jean and I used to terrorize. She did ask for it - she grizzled and told tales - but still, we should not have fed her on dandelion leaves and then told her they were deadly poison. I see that now. At the time, it seemed like a good idea.

'Yes, you've won, Doodie, but I'm not beaten yet!'

I am still enjoying Rosemary Sutcliff's autobiography, Blue Remembered Hills which is chock full of little vignettes and pleasures. She is recounting her various neighbors in the new home in which she lives, terrace housing at one of the British Naval ports to which her Captain father is assigned. Recall that she was substantially incapacitated by childhood rheumatoid arthritis though at this point in the story she has now recovered to the point where she is able to move about on her own.

There were Doodie and Pixie from the far end of the terrace. What their real names were, I have no idea. Pixie deserved something better, being quite a pleasant if non-descript five-year-old. But Doodie aged seven was an obnoxious little boy, swollen-headed, silly, and a bully to boot. He had a tin sword, which some misguided person had made for him. I had a wooden sword, much treasured. My father had bound the hilt with string, like the grip of a real sword, and painted it gold. The gold came off in my small hot hand, but I loved it none the less for that. Doodie got me cornered one day, his tin sword to my wooden one. It was a somewhat uneven fight, and I was driven back to the wall, Doodie executing a kind of triumph dance in front of me, shouting, 'I've won, Rosemary! I've won!' The battle fury of all the heroes of all the books my mother had read me swelled in my bosom, and nerved my arm. 'Yes, you've won, Doodie,' I shouted back, 'but I'm not beaten yet!' and fetched him a final thwack with Excalibur.

Alas, it did not split his head open, it did not even leave a scratch; and I have a horrible feeling that the story would have had an ignominious end had not some adult appeared on the scene, causing Doodie to withdraw rather hurriedly. My mother, who believed in letting things take their course, and had heard the exchange from the drawing-room window above, was suddenly and unexpectedly proud of me, and showed me her family crest on a silver spoon; a wolf bleeding from the mouth, and under it the motto, 'Laesus non victus', and told my father when he came home. It was all very pleasant at first, but rather puzzling. And then there began to be a faint dismay.

As I have said before, disabled children often have an odd unawareness or only partial awareness of how it is with them. They know that they cannot do certain things which other children can do. They know, as it were, in theory, but they have not yet got the full impact. Soon, all too soon, they become aware of subtle social barriers, the full implication and likely effect on their lives, the loneliness. But at nine or ten many handicapped children, myself amongst them, are at a stage where I put Drem, when I came to write Warrior Scarlet thirty years later. Drem, who knew that he could not use his right arm, but had never considered the possibility that it could in any way prevent him from taking his place among the warriors of his tribe.

So I did not really understand that my mother's real pride in me was because I had taken on the non-handicapped world on equal terms (not even equal, my sword wasn't tin!) and if not beaten it at its own game, at least refused to accept defeat. I did not suffer any sudden and shattering realisation, even then; but none the less, it was the beginning; and Doodie was the cause of it; and I did not love Doodie . . .

Be Kind to Your Parents

Not all poetry comes from books. In our household, when the kids get to be too much of a handful, Pete Seeger's old standby gets sung or recited:

Be Kind to Your Parents by Pete Seeger

Be kind to your parents
Though they don't deserve it
Remember that grown ups
Is a difficult stage of life

They're apt to be nervous
And over excited
Confused by their
Daily storm and strife

Just keep in mind
Though it seems hard I know
Most parents were children long ago

So treat them with patience
And kind understanding
In spite of the foolish things they do

Some day you might wake up
And find you're a parent too

© Chappell & Co.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


We often joke with the kids that we don't have enough time for our first life much less Second Life, Sim City or the host of virtual reality games. But there is a parallel to real life that has been with us since the very beginnings of civilization and in which people have always invested huge amounts of time and effort - Sports.

Sports is so much more than just a set of games. There are broad arrays of life-lessons and values to be derived from competitive games - playing as a part of a team, giving your best effort, perseverance beyond the point of exhaustion, learning to win and lose with grace, and how to keep your head under pressure. All of these things are, of course, important life lessons, that are absorbed on the field rather than through conscious learning. The idea of sports as a metaphor for life was captured by Theodore Roosevelt in a speech he made at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1910, the year after he left the Presidency.

Theodore Roosevelt always had an especial fascination for me as a child. He seemed to be a President that in a way transcended the presidency and remained, to his benefit, more human and admirable as a human, than the constraining mantle of the presidency permits most other holders of that office to be. He said and did so many things beyond his term of presidential service that his historical mark would have been made without his having been President. Most of all, from a child's perspective, it just seemed so clear that he would have been the President with whom it would have been most fun to spend some time.

And what does this have to do with sports? Well, it is because when I think of the balancing of mind and body, of contemplation and action, the pursuit of excellence in both arenas, there are few characters that come closer to both articulating that aspiration and actually achieving it than Theodore Roosevelt. For those of us dedicated to bringing the full adventure and pleasure of reading to our children, there is also the physical world to be balanced against that world of the mind and Roosevelt was one of the most advanced practitioners of that balancing act.

Perhaps his most famous quote came from a speech he made at the Sorbonne in Paris, in 1910, the year after he left the Presidency (see Thing Finder on the homepage for the whole text which is well worth reading in toto). What most people remember is his call for action in the lines:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

However, a little later he expands on this to say:
There is need of a sound body, and even more need of a sound mind. But above mind and above body stands character -- the sum of those qualities which we mean when we speak of a man's force and courage, of his good faith and sense of honor. I believe in exercise for the body, always provided that we keep in mind that physical development is a means and not an end. I believe, of course, in giving to all the people a good education. But the education must contain much besides book-learning in order to be really good. We must ever remember that no keenness and subtleness of intellect, no polish, no cleverness, in any way make up for the lack of the great solid qualities. Self-restraint, self-mastery, common sense, the power of accepting individual responsibility and yet of acting in conjunction with others, courage and resolution -- these are the qualities which mark a masterful people. Without them no people can control itself, or save itself from being controlled from the outside. I speak to a brilliant assemblage; I speak in a great university which represents the flower of the highest intellectual development; I pay all homage to intellect, and to elaborate and specialized training of the intellect; and yet I know I shall have the assent of all of you present when I add that more important still are the commonplace, every-day qualities and virtues.

The sports genre in children's books is well represented in terms of volume. There is a lot to choose from. I must admit that I am not well positioned to know the truly stellar books in this category. When growing up, moving about as often as we did in foreign countries, for some reason, we just did not have that many children's books that were about sports. Couple that with my own very wide (lots of different types of sports played in different countries) but very meager achievements on the sports field, and I feel distinctly fraudulent in providing much in terms of guidance and recommendations.

That being said, I am sure that the TTMD community will provide input to refining this initial list. There are a couple of scenarios where we think this list of sports books might be of interest. The first scenario is one in which your child is a reluctant reader, but a sports enthusiast. You may be seeing all their time invested out on the field and none in reading. The second is the reverse: your child shows little to no interest in sports but invests a great deal of time in reading.

I think I may have mentioned this at some point in the past year, but we saw the power of books to help capture the interest of a reluctant reader who was doing little if any reading. It was in Australia and one of our close friends there had two sons, the older of whom was an avid and enthusiastic sportsman who was making no progress whatsoever towards becoming a reader. The breakthrough came when she married these two worlds by presenting him the rule book for his favorite sport, cricket. Suddenly he had a book he really wanted to read. There are many paths to the world of reading and as long as it gets you there any one of them is the right path.

For reluctant readers who spend much of their time playing in competitive sports, it is fortunate that, while there may be a comparative dearth of deep and richly written sports books, there are plenty of good stories. Another bonus is that many of them are part of a series, thus allowing the child to get hooked on one book and then to discover that there is a whole set of books similar to the one he just enjoyed.

The opposite scenario, of course, involves the avid reader/reluctant sportsman. This imbalance is not necessarily healthy (one of ours is of this ilk) and among the many ways of encouraging them to get outside and to be more physically active is to feed them gripping, action-packed sports stories. It has not worked in our particular circumstance but it can.

So here are a series of books that cover many situations in the arena of sports stories; books from which the child can learn the rudiments of a sport, stories in which all the attributes of a good sport are on display - competition, respect for one's opponent, teamwork, perseverance, effort, etc., stories that are gripping because they are tightly plotted and strong on action.

Please let us know your additional suggestions and thoughts.

Picture Books

The Berenstain Bears Go Out for the Team by Stan Berenstain Suggested

Arthur Makes the Team by Stephen Krensky and illustrated by Marc Tolon Brown Suggested

Angelina Ballerina by Katharine Holabird and illustrated by Helen Craig Suggested

Take Me Out To The Ballgame by Jack Norworth and illustrated by Jim Burke Recommended

Independent Reader

Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Babe Ruth Baseball by David A. Adler and illustrated by Susanna Natti Suggested

S.O.R. Losers by Avi Suggested

Allie's Basketball Dream by Barbara E. Barber and illustrated by Darryl Ligasan Suggested

All Star Fever by Matt Christopher and illustrated by Anna Dewdney Suggested

Goalkeeper in Charge by Matt Christopher and illustrated by Robert Hirschfeld Suggested

The Dog That Pitched a No-Hitter by Matt Christopher and illustrated by Daniel Vasconcellos Suggested

Thank You, Jackie Robinson by Barbara Cohen and illustrated by Richard Cuffari Suggested

Owen Foote, Soccer Star by Stephanie Greene and illustratde by Martha Weston Suggested

Honus and Me by Dan Gutman Highly Recommended

Jackie and Me by Dan Gutman Highly Recommended

The Million Dollar Shot by Dan Gutman Suggested

The Littlest Leaguer by Syd Hoff Suggested

Here Comes the Strikeout by Leonard Kessler Suggested

Molly Gets Mad by Suzy Kline and illustrated by Diana Cain Bluthenthal Suggested

About the B'nai Bagels by E. L. Konigsburg Recommended

Froggy Plays Soccer - by Jonathan London and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz Suggested

Grandmas at Bat by Emily Arnold McCully Suggested

Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki and illustrated by Dom Lee Recommended

Me, Mop, and the Moondance Kid by Walter Dean Myers and illustrated by Rodney Pate Suggested

Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish and illustrated by Wallace Tripp Suggested

Dirt on Their Skirts by Doreen Rappaport and Lyndall Callan and illustrated by Earl B. Lewis Suggested

The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John H. Ritter Suggested

Bobby Baseball by Robert Kimmel Smith and illustrated by Alan Tiegreen Suggested

There's a Girl in My Hammerlock by Jerry Spinelli Suggested

Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer and illustrated by Christopher H. Bing Suggested

Mary Norton

Mary Norton wrote twelve books over thirty-nine years, all of them well received both critically and from the reading public as reflected in her sales. Her life is a lens into England of the nineteen hundreds, capturing a number of little-seen nooks and crannies. She is most famous for her Borrowers series, as well as the The Magic Bed-Knob and Bonfires and Broomsticks which were later consolidated into a single story, Bed-Knob and Broomstick. Reflecting the enduring popularity of these stories, all of these books have been made into movies (several versions), theatrical plays, radio programs and TV series.

Mary Norton, nee Pearson was born December 10, 1903 in London, England but grew up in Worcestershire, in the charmingly named town of Leighton Buzzard. She was the youngest of five children and the only girl. Cedars House was your classic English Georgian home, reminiscent of the Uncle's house in The Chronicles of Narnia or the home in The Secret Garden, replete with history and rooms and wings and space for children to build their imaginary worlds. As Norton, a keen dramatist, describes her childhood plays in Third Book of Junior Authors:

It was a house very like that around which the Borrowers' story was written, rambling enough to escape for hours on end from grown-up supervision. Privacy for some reason had to be assured; we never acted our plays to adult audiences, we never rehearsed them - nor, in those days had we ever seen a professional performance. Our theatre was indeed the "living theatre," an added dimension born of moment.

Deserted bedrooms were enchanting places - away from the watchful eyes of those supposed to be in charge of us - they seemed to us like "foreign parts." Those were the days of "airing" mattresses. Small figures, flitting secretly along dark passages, would pause with stealth and open a closed door and there - oh joy of joys! - would be a sudden warmth, shadows of firelight on the ceiling and the whisper of living coals.

Round the fire, propped up against chairs, dragged up desks or ottomans, great sagging mattresses stood on their sides like screens, cooking gently in the steady glow; there would be a smell of hot flock and warm horsehair - a cave of heat and light amid the alien shadows. In no time at all pillows, bereft now of their linen covers, would be gathered into a nest and there we would sit, our backs to the hot ticking, telling our stories and arranging our plays. Sometimes, if we were lucky, there would be biscuits in a canister on a table beside the bed, leftovers from a previous guest. Many a stirring drama was acted out within that charmed half-circle, with a coal fire for footlights and shadows for the wings. On fine days, in the garden, we had yew hedges for a backdrop, and dark, shrubbery tunnels for our exits and our entrances.

Norton was educated in convent schools and then moved on to secretarial school and later into the workforce as a secretary. This was clearly not a positive direction for her and, on being fired for errors in her book-keeping, she decided to pursue her real love, the theatre. Through introductions provided by a playwright who was a patient of her father's, she was able to join the theatre school at the Old Vic and spent two intensely happy years moving from student to understudy of some of the famous thespians of the period.

In 1926 she married a long time friend, Robert Norton. Robert Norton was the son of one of those old Anglo-Portuguese families of whom no one has heard but who are the living legacy of Britain's many centuries of sailing, trading and empire building. I came across the story of the Anglo-Portuguese twenty or so years ago, but have never seen much written about them. Apparently back in the 1700's wine from the Douro Valley began to be shipped through the Portuguese port of Oporto into England. Initially there was a high spoilage rate which was addressed by fortifying the wine with Brandy - this particular style of fortified wine then becoming known as Port.

The English shipping magnates and wine merchants began settling in Portugal to look after their investments and vineyards but remained English in language and customs. This has to some extent continued up until today though I have never seen any numbers as to how many families are involved and how many still live in Portugal, but remain English citizens. Just one more of those fascinating little minor details littered through the garden of English history.

Riccardo Orizio wrote a wonderful little book some years ago, Lost White Tribes, telling the story of those remnant European populations scattered across the globe in the post-colonial world: the descendants of ancient Dutch families in Sri Lanka (Ceylon); the Welsh in Patagonia, Argentina; the Anglo-Indian descendants in scattered settlements across India; the Mennonite settlers in Belize, etc.

The Nortons married in 1926 and moved to Portugal where they lived a wonderful expatriate life. Over the next few years they were blessed with four children, two boys and two girls. They then suffered a number of setbacks with the Great Depression wiping out Norton's wealth. With the outbreak of World War II, Robert Norton joined the British Navy as a gunner and Mary Norton moved back to Britain with the children. She found a job in 1941 with the wartime British Purchasing Mission and moved with the children to New York for two years.

Money was tight and Norton turned to writing to try and help make ends meet, initially writing articles for the American women's magazine market which were later collected and published posthumously in 1998 as The Bread and Butter Stories (as in, written to put bread and butter on the table). She also wrote her first book, The Magic Bed-knob; or How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons which was published in 1943.

The Magic Bed-Knob was immediately recognized, even amidst the turmoil of a World War, as a classic in the making by the reviewer, E.L. Buell who wrote "No one can tell for certain when a classic is born - but this story has all the makings of one." The Magic Bed-Knob was followed four years later in 1947 by its sequel, Bonfires and Broomsticks. These two stories were then consolidated and rewritten as a single book by Norton in 1957 and became the famous Bed-Knob and Broomstick. It is this version on which the famous Disney movie is based.

In The Magic Bed-Knob there are virtually all of the hallmarks of all of Norton's subsequent writings: strong plot, character development and wonderfully detailed setting set in the context of evocative old English houses and combining both adventure and one single element of fantasy that is so strongly developed that it becomes believable to a child but remains almost understated.

The Magic Bed-Knob involves a English spinster character of certain years, Miss Price, who has, in a brisk and efficient nanny-like way, decided to become a witch. Not a wicked witch mind you, a deficit of evil being part of her Achilles heel. No just an amateur enthusiast finding her way into a number of accidental adventures as she learns the arts of witchcraft. In fact it is through one such mishap, falling off her broomstick and injuring her ankle, that she becomes acquainted with the three Wilson children next door who are visiting their aunt. The children become tangled up in the adventures of Miss Price and her co-conspirators.

Norton returned to Britain in before the end of the war. Her eyes were injured in a V-2 rocket attack but fortunately her eyesight was restored by an operation.

In 1952, Norton published her next major book, The Borrowers. It was, as with her previous books, immediately recognized as a classic, lauded by critics and taken up by children and parents with equal enthusiasm. It won the 1953 Carnegie Medal.

Like Bed-Knob and Broomstick, The Borrowers is also set in an old English house. This time however, the fantasy is based not on magic but on the existence of one of the few remaining families of tiny people, the Borrowers. The Clock family (consisting of father, Pod Clock, mother, Homily Clock and daughter, Arrietty Clock) live below the floor boards in an old house, borrowing what they need from the "human beans." They remain out of sight and unobtrusive until one day Pod is seen by the young boy resident in the house, recuperating from rheumatic fever - and then their adventures begin.

As with Bed-Knob and Broomstick, there is a gripping plot, wonderful character development and sharp description. Norton's description of the world as seen by creatures only six inches in height is so believable that it almost hides the fact that this is fantasy. The fact that the Clock's have always lived in an environment where they are at the mercy of the whims of almost everything else makes their world view strikingly familiar to children.

Norton eventually wrote six Borrowers stories in all: The Borrowers, The Borrowers Afield, The Borrowers Afloat, The Borrowers Aloft, Poor Stainless: A New Story About the Borrowers, and The Borrowers Avenged. Unlike many other series where the quality of the story either declines or becomes very spotty after the first book, the Borrowers series has a remarkable consistency and persistent quality through the entire saga.

Norton only wrote one other book, Are All the Giants Dead?, written while she lived in Ireland in the 1950's. Norton divorced her first husband in the 1960's and married Lionel Bonser in 1970. She moved a number of times in her later years, eventually settling in Devonshire where she passed away August 29, 1992. In 2007, the Carnegie Medal judges, to mark the 70th anniversary of the award, selected ten books as the most important children's books of the past seventy years; The Borrowers was one of those ten.

Independent Reader

Bed-Knob and Broomstick by Mary Norton and illustrated by Erik Blegvad Highly Recommended

The Borrowers by Mary Norton and illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush Highly Recommended

The Borrowers Afield by Mary Norton and illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush Highly Recommended

The Borrowers Afloat by Mary Norton and illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush Highly Recommended

The Borrowers Aloft by Mary Norton and illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush Recommended

The Borrowers Avenged by Mary Norton and illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush Recommended

Mary Norton Bibliography

The Magic Bed-knob; or How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons by Mary Norton 1943
Bonfires and Broomsticks by Mary Norton 1947
The Borrowers by Mary Norton and illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush 1952
The Borrowers Afield by Mary Norton and illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush 1955
Bed-knob and Broomstick by Mary Norton 1957
The Borrowers Afloat by Mary Norton and illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush 1959
The Borrowers Aloft by Mary Norton and illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush 1961
The Borrowers Omnibus by Mary Norton and illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush 1966
Poor Stainless: A New Story About the Borrowers by Mary Norton 1971
Are All the Giants Dead? by Mary Norton 1975
Adventures of the Borrowers, four volumes by Mary Norton and illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush 1975
The Borrowers Avenged by Mary Norton and illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush 1982
The Bread and Butter Stories by Mary Norton 1998

Basket of pebbles

I have been reading the March Literary Review, which, while always good, seems this month to be particularly rich in little gleaming pebbles of information. I don't see any direct use for these pebbles, but I do enjoy coming across them.

From John Keay's review of Return to Dragon Mountain by Jonathan Spence

'The thing about history is that those who really should write it, don't; while those who should not be writing it, do.' So thought Zhang Dai, the seventeenth-century Chinese bon viveur, writer, and antiquarian who is the subject of Jonathan Spence's latest foray into the literature of the later Ming period (c.1570-1644).

From Allister Heath's review of Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet by Jeffrey D. Sachs.

Humanity is about to become a predominantly urban civilisation for the first time in its history, Sachs notes, thanks to dramatic progress in agricultural productivity and the remarkable economic growth enjoyed by Asia. The rise of scientific farming, including the creation of new seed varieties, chemical fertilisers, pest control, advanced irrigation techniques, mechanisation and all the other modern farm management techniques, means that far fewer people are needed to work in agriculture. One farm can sustain many more urbanites than ever before.

Under 10 per cent of the world's population lived in cities in 1800; this had only increased to 13 per cent by 1900. Urbanisation was largely a twentieth-century phenomenon, with the share of the world population living in cities reaching 29 per cent in 1950, 47 per cent in 2000, 50 per cent last year and more than half in 2008, a little-remarked upon yet highly significant milestone.

This tracks with a post I made earlier this year noting the UN's largely unreported milestone (which is significantly correlated to the above facts) that as of 2007, more than 50% of all workers are now in services and manufacturing rather than agriculture.

Urbanisation, as noted in most history books such as Michael Cook's A Brief History of the Human Race, is highly correlated to increases in health, wealth, knowledge and technology, so the above trends, despite all the tactical things we worry about, strategically bode well for the coming years.

From Lucy Lethbridge's review of Other People's Daughters: The Lives and Times of the Governess by Ruth Brandon, (emphasis added).

The only Victorian governess is Anna Leonowens, whose book of her experiences teaching the thirty-nine sons and forty-three daughters of the King of Siam provided the inspiration for The King and I. Presenting herself as the well-born, newly impoverished widow of an officer, Mrs. Leonowens was the embodiment of gentility. Her lurid accounts of life in the Siamese royal harem ('You shall lash me with a million thongs but I shall not expose my person') upheld the absolute superiority of the white woman over the brown man - however noble his bearing. But it turned out that Anna was not the woman she claimed to be. Following the detective work done by William Bristowe in the 1970s, Ruth Brandon tells the story of how a girl born into poverty reinvented herself as the perfect English governess, the imparter of moral instruction to eager little pagan ears. I was delighted to learn that Anna's great nephew was the actor Boris Karloff - just one of the many surprising sidelights to be found in this engrossing book.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Translation - Vitai Lampada

Much as I have always liked Newbolt's poem, Vitai Lampada, I have never bestirred myself to bother with the title. A little investigation reveals that Vitaï Lampada is the torch of life and is from Lucretius' On the Nature of Things. Specifically it is to lines 75-79 of Book II:

Augescunt aliae gentes, aliae minuuntur,

inque brevi spatio mutantur saecla animantum

et quasi cursores vitai lampada tradunt.

Which translates as (from Sir Ronald Melville's translation published by the Folio Society, 2003):

Some races increase, others fade away,

And in short space the breeds of living creatures

Change, and like runners pass on the torch of life.

Vitai Lampada - Henry Newbolt

Vitai Lampada
by Henry Newbolt

There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night -
Ten to make and the match to win -
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play, and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat.
Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his captain's hand on his shoulder smote -
"Play up! Play up! And play the game!"

The sand of the desert is sodden red, -
Red with the wreck of the square that broke; -
The gatling's jammed and the colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed its banks,
And England's far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:
"Play up! Play up! And play the game!"

This is the word that year by year,
While in her place the school is set,
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind -
"Play up! Play up! And play the game!"

Citizenship in a Republic - Theodore Roosevelt

Most famous for the first few sentences of the eighth paragraph, the whole speech of Roosevelt's is actually well worth reading. There is a certain robustness of language and opinion that strikes an odd note to our ears of today, so attuned are we to soft words from politicians, and nuanced opinions, expressed so guardedly as to cause no one offense. But moving beyond style, to substance, this is a speech virtually as pertinent today as it was nearly one hundred years ago to the refined professors of the Sorbonne.

Citizenship in a Republic
The Man in the Arena
By Theodore Roosevelt
University of Paris, Sorbonne
April 23, 1910

"Strange and impressive associations rise in the mind of a man from the New World who speaks before this august body in this ancient institution of learning. Before his eyes pass the shadows of mighty kings and war-like nobles, of great masters of law and theology; through the shining dust of the great centuries he sees crowded figures that tell of the power and learning and splendor of times gone by; and he sees also the innumerable host of humble students to whom clerkship meant emancipation, to whom it was well-nigh the only outlet from the dark thraldom of the Middle Ages.
This was the most famous university of mediæval Europe at a time when no one dreamed that there was a New World to discover. Its services to the cause of human knowledge already stretched far back into the remote past at the time when my forefathers, three centuries ago, were among the sparse bands of traders, ploughmen, woodchoppers, and fisherfolk who, in hard struggle with the iron unfriendliness of the Indian-haunted land, were laying the foundations of what has now become the giant republic of the West. To conquer a continent, to tame the shaggy roughness of wild nature, means grim warfare; and the generations engaged in it cannot keep, still less add to, the stores of garnered wisdom which once were theirs, and which still are in the hands of their brethren who dwell in the old land. To conquer the wilderness means to wrest mankind struggled in the immemorial infancy of our race. The primæval conditions must be met by primæval qualities which are incompatible with the retention of much that has been painfully acquired by humanity as through the ages it has striven upward toward civilization. In conditions so primitive there can be but a primitive culture. At first only the rudest schools can be established, for no others would meet the needs of the hard-driven, sinewy folk who thrust forward the frontier in the teeth of savage man and savage nature; and many years elapse before any of these schools can develop into seats of higher learning and broader culture.

The pioneer days pass; the stump-dotted clearings expand into vast stretches of fertile farm land; the stockaded clusters of log cabins change into towns; the hunters of game, the fellers of trees, the rude frontier traders and tillers of the soil, the men who wander all their lives long through the wilderness as the heralds and harbingers of an oncoming civilization, themselves vanish before the civilization for which they have prepared the way. The children of their successors an supplanters, and then their children and children's children, change and develop with extraordinary rapidity. The conditions accentuate vices and virtues, energy and ruthlessness, all the good qualities and all the defects of an intense individualism, self-reliant, self-centred, far more conscious of its rights than of its duties, and blind to its own shortcomings. To the hard materialism of an industrialism even more intense and absorbing than that of the older nations; although these themselves have likewise already entered on the age of a complex and predominantly industrial civilization.

As the country grows, its people, who have won success in so many lines, turn back to try to recover the possessions of the mind and spirit, which perforce their fathers threw aside in order better to wage the first rough battles for the continent their children inherit. The leaders of thought and of action grope their way forward to a new life, realizing, sometimes dimly, sometimes clear-sightedly, that the life of material gain, whether for a nation or an individual, is of value only as a foundation, only as there is added to it the uplift that comes from devotion to loftier ideals. The new life thus sought can in part be developed afresh from what is roundabout in the New World; but it can be developed in full only by freely drawing upon the treasure houses of the Old World upon treasures stored in the ancient abodes of wisdom and learning, such as this where I speak to-day. It is a mistake for any nation merely to copy another; but it is an even greater mistake, it is a proof of weakness in any nation, not to be anxious to learn from another, and willing and able to adapt that learning to the new national conditions and make it fruitful and productive therein. It is for us of the New World to sit at the feet of Gamaliel of the Old; then, if we have the right stuff in us, we can show that Paul in his turn can become a teacher as well as a scholar.

To-day I shall speak to you on the subject of individual citizenship, the one subject of vital importance to you, my hearers, and to me and my countrymen, because you and we are citizens of great democratic republics. A democratic republic such as each of ours - an effort to realize in its full sense government by, of, and for the people - represents the most gigantic of all possible social experiments, the one fraught with greatest possibilities alike for good and for evil. The success of republics like yours and like ours means the glory, and our failure the despair, of mankind; and for your and for us the question of the quality of the individual citizen is supreme. Under other forms of government, under the rule of one man or of a very few men, the quality of the rulers is all important. If, under such governments, the quality of the rulers is high enough, then the nation may for generations lead a brilliant career, and add substantially to the sum of world achievement, no matter how low the quality of the average citizen; because the average citizen is an almost negligible quantity in working out the final results of that type of national greatness.

But with you and with us the case is different. With you here, and with us in my own home, in the long run, success or failure will be conditioned upon the way in which the average man, the average woman, does his or her duty, first in the ordinary, every-day affairs of life, and next in those great occasional crises which call for heroic virtues. The average citizen must be a good citizen if our republics are to succeed. The steam will not permanently rise higher than the main source; and the main source of national power and national greatness is found in the average citizenship of the nation. Therefore it behooves us to do our best to see that the standard of the average citizen is kept high; and the average cannot be kept high unless the standard of the leaders is very much higher.

It is well if a large proportion of the leaders in any republic, in any democracy, are, as a matter of course, drawn from the classes represented in this audience to-day; but only provided that those classes possess the gifts of sympathy with plain people and of devotion to great ideals. You and those like you have received special advantages; you have all had the opportunity for mental training; many of you have had leisure; most of you have had a chance for the enjoyment of life far greater than comes to the majority of your fellows. To you and your kind much has been given, and from you much should be expected. Yet there are certain failings against which it is especially incumbent that both men of trained and cultivated intellect, and men of inherited wealth and position, should especially guard themselves, because to these failings they are especially liable; and if yielded to, their - your - chances of useful service are at an end.

Let the man of learning, the man of lettered leisure, beware of that queer and cheap temptation to pose to himself and to others as the cynic, as the man who has outgrown emotions and beliefs, the man to whom good and evil are as one. The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer. There are many men who feel a kind of twisted pride in cynicism; there are many who confine themselves to criticism of the way others do what they themselves dare not even attempt. There is no more unhealthy being, no man less worthy of respect, than he who either really holds, or feigns to hold, an attitude of sneering disbelief toward all that is great and lofty, whether in achievement or in that noble effort which, even if it fails, comes second to achievement. A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticize work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life's realities - all these are marks, not, as the possessor would fain think, of superiority, but of weakness. They mark the men unfit to bear their part manfully in the stern strife of living, who seek, in the affectation of contempt for the achievements of others, to hide from others and from themselves their own weakness. The rôle is easy; there is none easier, save only the The rôle of the man who sneers alike at both criticism and performance.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. Shame on the man of cultivated taste who permits refinement to develop into a fastidiousness that unfits him for doing the rough work of a workaday world. Among the free peoples who govern themselves there is but a small field of usefulness open for the men of cloistered life who shrink from contact with their fellows. Still less room is there for those who deride or slight what is done by those who actually bear the brunt of the day; nor yet for those others who always profess that they would like to take action, if only the conditions of life were not what they actually are. The man who does nothing cuts the same sordid figure in the pages of history, whether he by cynic, or fop, or voluptuary. There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of the great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder. Well for these men if they succeed; well also, though not so well, if they fail, given only that they have nobly ventured, and have put forth all their heart and strength. It is war-worn Hotspur, spent with hard fighting, he of the many errors and the valiant end, over whose memory we love to linger, not over the memory of the young lord who "but for the vile guns would have been a soldier..."

France has taught many lessons to other nations: surely one of the most important is the lesson her whole history teaches, that a high artistic and literary development is compatible with notable leadership in arms and statecraft. The brilliant gallantry of the French soldier has for many centuries been proverbial; and during these same centuries at every court in Europe the "freemasons of fashion" have treated the French tongue as their common speech; while every artist and man of letters, and every man of science able to appreciate that marvellous instrument of precision, French prose, has turned toward France for aid and inspiration. How long the leadership in arms and letters has lasted is curiously illustrated by the fact that the earliest masterpiece in a modern tongue is the splendid French epic which tells of Roland's doom and the vengeance of Charlemagne when the lords of the Frankish host were stricken at Roncesvalles.

Let those who have, keep, let those who have not, strive to attain, a high standard of cultivation and scholarship. Yet let us remember that these stand second to certain other things. There is need of a sound body, and even more need of a sound mind. But above mind and above body stands character -- the sum of those qualities which we mean when we speak of a man's force and courage, of his good faith and sense of honor. I believe in exercise for the body, always provided that we keep in mind that physical development is a means and not an end. I believe, of course, in giving to all the people a good education. But the education must contain much besides book-learning in order to be really good. We must ever remember that no keenness and subtleness of intellect, no polish, no cleverness, in any way make up for the lack of the great solid qualities. Self-restraint, self-mastery, common sense, the power of accepting individual responsibility and yet of acting in conjunction with others, courage and resolution -- these are the qualities which mark a masterful people. Without them no people can control itself, or save itself from being controlled from the outside. I speak to a brilliant assemblage; I speak in a great university which represents the flower of the highest intellectual development; I pay all homage to intellect, and to elaborate and specialized training of the intellect; and yet I know I shall have the assent of all of you present when I add that more important still are the commonplace, every-day qualities and virtues.

Such ordinary, every-day qualities include the will and the power to work, to fight at need, and to have plenty of healthy children. The need that the average man shall work is so obvious as hardly to warrant insistence. There are a few people in every country so born that they can lead lives of leisure. These fill a useful function if they make it evident that leisure does not mean idleness; for some of the most valuable work needed by civilization is essentially non-remunerative in its character, and of course the people who do this work should in large part be drawn from those to whom remuneration is an object of indifference. But the average man must earn his own livelihood. He should be trained to do so, and he should be trained to feel that he occupies a contemptible position if he does not do so; that he is not an object of envy if he is idle, at whichever end of the social scale he stands, but an object of contempt, an object of derision.

In the next place, the good man should be both a strong and a brave man; that is, he should be able to fight, he should be able to serve his country as a soldier, if the need arises. There are well-meaning philosophers who declaim against the unrighteousness of war. They are right only if they lay all their emphasis upon the unrighteousness. War is a dreadful thing, and unjust war is a crime against humanity. But it is such a crime because it is unjust, not because it is war. The choice must ever be in favor of righteousness, and this whether the alternative be peace or whether the alternative be war. The question must not be merely, Is there to be peace or war? The question must be, Is the right to prevail? Are the great laws of righteousness once more to be fulfilled? And the answer from a strong and virile people must be, "Yes," whatever the cost. Every honorable effort should always be made to avoid war, just as every honorable effort should always be made by the individual in private life to keep out of a brawl, to keep out of trouble; but no self-respecting individual, no self-respecting nation, can or ought to submit to wrong.

Finally, even more important than ability to work, even more important than ability to fight at need, is it to remember that the chief of blessings for any nation is that it shall leave its seed to inherit the land. It was the crown of blessings in Biblical times; and it is the crown of blessings now. The greatest of all curses is the curse of sterility, and the severest of all condemnations should be that visited upon wilful sterility. The first essential in any civilization is that the man and the woman shall be father and mother of healthy children, so that the race shall increase and not decrease. If this is not so, if through no fault of the society there is failure to increase, it is a great misfortune. If the failure is due to deliberate and wilful fault, then it is not merely a misfortune, it is one of those crimes of ease and self-indulgence, of shrinking from pain and effort and risk, which in the long run Nature punishes more heavily than any other. If we of the great republics, if we, the free people who claim to have emancipated ourselves from the thraldom of wrong and error, bring down on our heads the curse that comes upon the wilfully barren, then it will be an idle waste of breath to prattle of our achievements, to boast of all that we have done. No refinement of life, no delicacy of taste, no material progress, no sordid heaping up of riches, no sensuous development of art and literature, can in any way compensate for the loss of the great fundamental virtues; and of these great fundamental virtues the greatest is the race's power to perpetuate the race.

Character must show itself in the man's performance both of the duty he owes himself and of the duty he owes the state. The man's foremost duty is owed to himself and his family; and he can do this duty only by earning money, by providing what is essential to material well-being; it is only after this has been done that he can hope to build a higher superstructure on the solid material foundation; it is only after this has been done that he can help in movements for the general well-being. He must pull his own weight first, and only after this can his surplus strength be of use to the general public. It is not good to excite that bitter laughter which expresses contempt; and contempt is what we feel for the being whose enthusiasm to benefit mankind is such that he is a burden to those nearest him; who wishes to do great things for humanity in the abstract, but who can not keep his wife in comfort or educate his children.

Nevertheless, while laying all stress on this point, while not merely acknowledging but insisting upon the fact that there must be a basis of material well-being for the individual as for the nation, let us with equal emphasis insist that this material well-being represents nothing but the foundation, and that the foundation, though indispensable, is worthless unless upon it is raised the superstructure of a higher life. That is why I decline to recognize the mere multimillionaire, the man of mere wealth, as an asset of value to any country; and especially as not an asset to my own country. If he has earned or uses his wealth in a way that makes him of real benefit, of real use — and such is often the case—why, then he does become an asset of worth. But it is the way in which it has been earned or used, and not the mere fact of wealth, that entitles him to the credit. There is need in business, as in most other forms of human activity, of the great guiding intelligences. Their places can not be supplied by any number of lesser intelligences. It is a good thing that they should have ample recognition, ample reward. But we must not transfer our admiration to the reward instead of to the deed rewarded; and if what should be the reward exists without the service having been rendered, then admiration will come only from those who are mean of soul. The truth is that, after a certain measure of tangible material success or reward has been achieved, the question of increasing it becomes of constantly less importance compared to other things that can be done in life. It is a bad thing for a nation to raise and to admire a false standard of success; and there can be no falser standard than that set by the deification of material well-being in and for itself. The man who, for any cause for which he is himself accountable, has failed to support himself and those for whom he is responsible, ought to feel that he has fallen lamentably short in his prime duty. But the man who, having far surpassed the limit of providing for the wants, both of body and mind, of himself and of those depending upon him, then piles up a great fortune, for the acquisition or retention of which he returns no corresponding benefit to the nation as a whole, should himself be made to feel that, so far from being a desirable, he is an unworthy, citizen of the community; that he is to be neither admired nor envied; that his right-thinking fellow countrymen put him low in the scale of citizenship, and leave him to be consoled by the admiration of those whose level of purpose is even lower than his own.

My position as regards the moneyed interests can be put in a few words. In every civilized society property rights must be carefully safeguarded; ordinarily, and in the great majority of cases, human rights and property rights are fundamentally and in the long run identical; but when it clearly appears that there is a real conflict between them, human rights must have the upper hand, for property belongs to man and not man to property.

In fact, it is essential to good citizenship clearly to understand that there are certain qualities which we in a democracy are prone to admire in and of themselves, which ought by rights to be judged admirable or the reverse solely from the standpoint of the use made of them. Foremost among these I should include two very distinct gifts -- the gift of money-making and the gift of oratory. Money-making, the money touch, I have spoken of above. It is a quality which in a moderate degree is essential. It may be useful when developed to a very great degree, but only if accompanied and controlled by other qualities; and without such control the possessor tends to develop into one of the least attractive types produced by a modern industrial democracy. So it is with the orator. It is highly desirable that a leader of opinion in a democracy should be able to state his views clearly and convincingly. But all that the oratory can do of value to the community is to enable the man thus to explain himself; if it enables the orator to persuade his hearers to put false values on things, it merely makes him a power for mischief. Some excellent public servants have not the gift at all, and must rely upon their deeds to speak for them; and unless the oratory does represent genuine conviction based on good common sense and able to be translated into efficient performance, then the better the oratory the greater the damage to the public it deceives. Indeed, it is a sign of marked political weakness in any commonwealth if the people tend to be carried away by mere oratory, if they tend to value words in and for themselves, as divorced from the deeds for which they are supposed to stand. The phrase-maker, the phrase-monger, the ready talker, however great his power, whose speech does not make for courage, sobriety, and right understanding, is simply a noxious element in the body politic, and it speaks ill for the public if he has influence over them. To admire the gift of oratory without regard to the moral quality behind the gift is to do wrong to the republic.

Of course all that I say of the orator applies with even greater force to the orator's latter-day and more influential brother, the journalist. The power of the journalist is great, but he is entitled neither to respect nor admiration because of that power unless it is used aright. He can do, and he often does, great good. He can do, and he often does, infinite mischief. All journalists, all writers, for the very reason that they appreciate the vast possibilities of their profession, should bear testimony against those who deeply discredit it. Offences against taste and morals, which are bad enough in a private citizen, are infinitely worse if made into instruments for debauching the community through a newspaper. Mendacity, slander, sensationalism, inanity, vapid triviality, all are potent factors for the debauchery of the public mind and conscience. The excuse advanced for vicious writing, that the public demands it and that the demand must be supplied, can no more be admitted than if it were advanced by the purveyors of food who sell poisonous adulterations.

In short, the good citizen in a republic must realize that he ought to possess two sets of qualities, and that neither avails without the other. He must have those qualities which make for efficiency; and he must also have those qualities which direct the efficiency into channels for the public good. He is useless if he is inefficient. There is nothing to be done with that type of citizen of whom all that can be said is that he is harmless. Virtue which is dependent upon a sluggish circulation is not impressive. There is little place in active life for the timid good man. The man who is saved by weakness from robust wickedness is likewise rendered immune from the robuster virtues. The good citizen in a republic must first of all be able to hold his own. He is no good citizen unless he has the ability which will make him work hard and which at need will make him fight hard. The good citizen is not a good citizen unless he is an efficient citizen.

But if a man's efficiency is not guided and regulated by a moral sense, then the more efficient he is the worse he is, the more dangerous to the body politic. Courage, intellect, all the masterful qualities, serve but to make a man more evil if they are used merely for that man's own advancement, with brutal indifference to the rights of others. It speaks ill for the community if the community worships these qualities and treats their possessors as heroes regardless of whether the qualities are used rightly or wrongly. It makes no difference as to the precise way in which this sinister efficiency is shown. It makes no difference whether such a man's force and ability betray themselves in the career of money-maker or politician, soldier or orator, journalist or popular leader. If the man works for evil, then the more successful he is the more he should be despised and condemned by all upright and far-seeing men. To judge a man merely by success is an abhorrent wrong; and if the people at large habitually so judge men, if they grow to condone wickedness because the wicked man triumphs, they show their inability to understand that in the last analysis free institutions rest upon the character of citizenship, and that by such admiration of evil they prove themselves unfit for liberty.

The homely virtues of the household, the ordinary workaday virtues which make the woman a good housewife and housemother, which make the man a hard worker, a good husband and father, a good soldier at need, stand at the bottom of character. But of course many others must be added thereto if a state is to be not only free but great. Good citizenship is not good citizenship if exhibited only in the home. There remain the duties of the individual in relation to the state, and these duties are none too easy under the conditions which exist where the effort is made to carry on free government in a complex, industrial civilization. Perhaps the most important thing the ordinary citizen, and, above all, the leader of ordinary citizens, has to remember in political life is that he must not be a sheer doctrinaire. The closet philosopher, the refined and cultured individual who from his library tells how men ought to be governed under ideal conditions, is of no use in actual governmental work; and the one-sided fanatic, and still more the mob-leader, and the insincere man who to achieve power promises what by no possibility can be performed, are not merely useless but noxious.

The citizen must have high ideals, and yet he must be able to achieve them in practical fashion. No permanent good comes from aspirations so lofty that they have grown fantastic and have become impossible and indeed undesirable to realize. The impracticable visionary is far less often the guide and precursor than he is the imbittered foe of the real reformer, of the man who, with stumblings and shortcomings, yet does in some shape, in practical fashion, give effect to the hopes and desires of those who strive for better things. Woe to the empty phrase-maker, to the empty idealist, who, instead of making ready the ground for the man of action, turns against him when he appears and hampers him as he does the work! Moreover, the preacher of ideals must remember how sorry and contemptible is the figure which he will cut, how great the damage that he will do, if he does not himself, in his own life, strive measurably to realize the ideals that he preaches for others. Let him remember also that the worth of the ideal must be largely determined by the success with which it can in practice be realized. We should abhor the so-called "practical" men whose practicality assumes the shape of that peculiar baseness which finds its expression in disbelief in morality and decency, in disregard of high standards of living and conduct. Such a creature is the worst enemy of the body politic. But only less desirable as a citizen is his nominal opponent and real ally, the man of fantastic vision who makes the impossible better forever the enemy of the possible good.

We can just as little afford to follow the doctrinaires of an extreme individualism as the doctrinaires of an extreme socialism. Individual initiative, so far from being discouraged, should be stimulated; and yet we should remember that, as society develops and grows more complex, we continually find that things which once it was desirable to leave to individual initiative can, under the changed conditions, be performed with better results by common effort. It is quite impossible, and equally undesirable, to draw in theory a hard-and-fast line which shall always divide the two sets of cases. This every one who is not cursed with the pride of the closet philosopher will see, if he will only take the trouble to think about some of our commonest phenomena. For instance, when people live on isolated farms or in little hamlets, each house can be left to attend to its own drainage and water supply; but the mere multiplication of families in a given area produces new problems which, because they differ in size, are found to differ not only in degree but in kind from the old; and the questions of drainage and water supply have to be considered from the common standpoint. It is not a matter for abstract dogmatizing to decide when this point is reached; it is a matter to be tested by practical experiment. Much of the discussion about socialism and individualism is entirely pointless, because of failure to agree on terminology. It is not good to be the slave of names. I am a strong individualist by personal habit, inheritance, and conviction; but it is a mere matter of common sense to recognize that the state, the community, the citizens acting together, can do a number of things better than if they were left to individual action. The individualism which finds its expression in the abuse of physical force is checked very early in the growth of civilization, and we of to-day should in our turn strive to shackle or destroy that individualism which triumphs by greed and cunning, which exploits the weak by craft instead of ruling them by brutality. We ought to go with any man in the effort to bring about justice and the equality of opportunity, to turn the tool-user more and more into the tool-owner, to shift burdens so that they can be more equitably borne. The deadening effect on any race of the adoption of a logical and extreme socialistic system could not be overstated; it would spell sheer destruction; it would produce grosser wrong and outrage, fouler immorality, than any existing system. But this does not mean that we may not with great advantage adopt certain of the principles professed by some given set of men who happen to call themselves Socialists; to be afraid to do so would be to make a mark of weakness on our part.

But we should not take part in acting a lie any more than in telling a lie. We should not say that men are equal where they are not equal, nor proceed upon the assumption that there is an equality where it does not exist; but we should strive to bring about a measurable equality, at least to the extent of preventing the inequality which is due to force or fraud. Abraham Lincoln, a man of the plain people, blood of their blood and bone of their bone, who all his life toiled and wrought and suffered for them, and at the end died for them, who always strove to represent them, who would never tell an untruth to or for them, spoke of the doctrine of equality with his usual mixture of idealism and sound common sense. He said (I omit what was of merely local significance):

"I think the authors of the Declaration of Independence intended to include all men, but that they did not mean to declare all men equal in all respects. They did not mean to say all men were equal in color, size, intellect, moral development, or social capacity. They defined with tolerable distinctness in what they did consider all men created equal -- equal in certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This they said, and this they meant. They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth that all were then actually enjoying that equality, or yet that they were about to confer it immediately upon them. They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society which should be familiar to all -- constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and, even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people, everywhere."

We are bound in honor to refuse to listen to those men who would make us desist from the effort to do away with the inequality which means injustice; the inequality of right, of opportunity, of privilege. We are bound in honor to strive to bring ever nearer the day when, as far as is humanly possible, we shall be able to realize the ideal that each man shall have an equal opportunity to show the stuff that is in him by the way in which he renders service. There should, so far as possible, be equality of opportunity to render service; but just so long as there is inequality of service there should and must be inequality of reward. We may be sorry for the general, the painter, the artist, the worker in any profession or of any kind, whose misfortune rather than whose fault it is that he does his work ill. But the reward must go to the man who does his work well; for any other course is to create a new kind of privilege, the privilege of folly and weakness; and special privilege is injustice, whatever form it takes.

To say that the thriftless, the lazy, the vicious, the incapable, ought to have the reward given to those who are far-sighted, capable, and upright, is to say what is not true and can not be true. Let us try to level up, but let us beware of the evil of levelling down. If a man stumbles, it is a good thing to help him to his feet. Every one of us needs a helping hand now and then. But if a man lies down, it is a waste of time to try to carry him; and it is a very bad thing for every one if we make men feel that the same reward will come to those who shirk their work and to those who do it.

Let us, then, take into account the actual facts of life, and not be misled into following any proposal for achieving the millennium, for re-creating the golden age, until we have subjected it to hardheaded examination. On the other hand, it is foolish to reject a proposal merely because it is advanced by visionaries. If a given scheme is proposed, look at it on its merits, and, in considering it, disregard formulas. It does not matter in the least who proposes it, or why. If it seems good, try it. If it proves good, accept it; otherwise reject it. There are plenty of men calling themselves Socialists with whom, up to a certain point, it is quite possible to work. If the next step is one which both we and they wish to take, why of course take it, without any regard to the fact that our views as to the tenth step may differ. But, on the other hand, keep clearly in mind that, though it has been worth while to take one step, this does not in the least mean that it may not be highly disadvantageous to take the next. It is just as foolish to refuse all progress because people demanding it desire at some points to go to absurd extremes, as it would be to go to these absurd extremes simply because some of the measures advocated by the extremists were wise.

The good citizen will demand liberty for himself, and as a matter of pride he will see to it that others receive the liberty which he thus claims as his own. Probably the best test of true love of liberty in any country is the way in which minorities are treated in that country. Not only should there be complete liberty in matters of religion and opinion, but complete liberty for each man to lead his life as he desires, provided only that in so doing he does not wrong his neighbor. Persecution is bad because it is persecution, and without reference to which side happens at the moment to be the persecutor and which the persecuted. Class hatred is bad in just the same way, and without any regard to the individual who, at a given time, substitutes loyalty to a class for loyalty to the nation, or substitutes hatred of men because they happen to come in a certain social category, for judgment awarded them according to their conduct. Remember always that the same measure of condemnation should be extended to the arrogance which would look down upon or crush any man because he is poor and to the envy and hatred which would destroy a man because he is wealthy. The overbearing brutality of the man of wealth or power, and the envious and hateful malice directed against wealth or power, are really at root merely different manifestations of the same quality, merely the two sides of the same shield. The man who, if born to wealth and power, exploits and ruins his less fortunate brethren is at heart the same as the greedy and violent demagogue who excites those who have not property to plunder those who have. The gravest wrong upon his country is inflicted by that man, whatever his station, who seeks to make his countrymen divide primarily on the line that separates class from class, occupation from occupation, men of more wealth from men of less wealth, instead of remembering that the only safe standard is that which judges each man on his worth as a man, whether he be rich or poor, without regard to his profession or to his station in life. Such is the only true democratic test, the only test that can with propriety be applied in a republic. There have been many republics in the past, both in what we call antiquity and in what we call the Middle Ages. They fell, and the prime factor in their fall was the fact that the parties tended to divide along the line that separates wealth from poverty. It made no difference which side was successful; it made no difference whether the republic fell under the rule of an oligarchy or the rule of a mob. In either case, when once loyalty to a class had been substituted for loyalty to the republic, the end of the republic was at hand. There is no greater need to-day than the need to keep ever in mind the fact that the cleavage between right and wrong, between good citizenship and bad citizenship, runs at right angles to, and not parallel with, the lines of cleavage between class and class, between occupation and occupation. Ruin looks us in the face if we judge a man by his position instead of judging him by his conduct in that position.

In a republic, to be successful we must learn to combine intensity of conviction with a broad tolerance of difference of conviction. Wide differences of opinion in matters of religious, political, and social belief must exist if conscience and intellect alike are not to be stunted, if there is to be room for healthy growth. Bitter internecine hatreds, based on such differences, are signs, not of earnestness of belief, but of that fanaticism which, whether religious or anti-religious, democratic or anti-democratic, is itself but a manifestation of the gloomy bigotry which has been the chief factor in the downfall of so many, many nations.

Of one man in especial, beyond any one else, the citizens of a republic should beware, and that is of the man who appeals to them to support him on the ground that he is hostile to other citizens of the republic, that he will secure for those who elect him, in one shape or another, profit at the expense of other citizens of the republic. It makes no difference whether he appeals to class hatred or class interest, to religious or anti-religious prejudice. The man who makes such an appeal should always be presumed to make it for the sake of furthering his own interest. The very last thing that an intelligent and self-respecting member of a democratic community should do is to reward any public man because that public man says he will get the private citizen something to which this private citizen is not entitled, or will gratify some emotion or animosity which this private citizen ought not to possess. Let me illustrate this by one anecdote from my own experience. A number of years ago I was engaged in cattle-ranching on the great plains of the western United States. There were no fences. The cattle wandered free, the ownership of each being determined by the brand; the calves were branded with the brand of the cows they followed. If on the round-up an animal was passed by, the following year it would appear as an unbranded yearling, and was then called a maverick. By the custom of the country these mavericks were branded with the brand of the man on whose range they were found. One day I was riding the range with a newly hired cowboy, and we came upon a maverick. We roped and threw it; then we built a little fire, took out a cinch-ring, heated it at the fire; and the cowboy started to put on the brand. I said to him, "It is So-and-so's brand," naming the man on whose range we happened to be. He answered: "That's all right, boss; I know my business." In another moment I said to him: "Hold on, you are putting on my brand!" To which he answered: "That's all right; I always put on the boss's brand." I answered: "Oh, very well. Now you go straight back to the ranch and get what is owing to you; I don't need you any longer." He jumped up and said: "Why, what's the matter? I was putting on your brand." And I answered: "Yes, my friend, and if you will steal for me you will steal from me."

Now, the same principle which applies in private life applies also in public life. If a public man tries to get your vote by saying that he will do something wrong in your interest, you can be absolutely certain that if ever it becomes worth his while he will do something wrong against your interest.

So much for the citizenship of the individual in his relations to his family, to his neighbor, to the state. There remain duties of citizenship which the state, the aggregation of all the individuals, owes in connection with other states, with other nations. Let me say at once that I am no advocate of a foolish cosmopolitanism. I believe that a man must be a good patriot before he can be, and as the only possible way of being, a good citizen of the world. Experience teaches us that the average man who protests that his international feeling swamps his national feeling, that he does not care for his country because he cares so much for mankind, in actual practice proves himself the foe of mankind; that the man who says that he does not care to be a citizen of any one country, because he is a citizen of the world, is in very fact usually an exceedingly undesirable citizen of whatever corner of the world he happens at the moment to be in. In the dim future all moral needs and moral standards may change; but at present, if a man can view his own country and all other countries from the same level with tepid indifference, it is wise to distrust him, just as it is wise to distrust the man who can take the same dispassionate view of his wife and his mother. However broad and deep a man's sympathies, however intense his activities, he need have no fear that they will be cramped by love of his native land.

Now, this does not mean in the least that a man should not wish to do good outside of his native land. On the contrary, just as I think that the man who loves his family is more apt to be a good neighbor than the man who does not, so I think that the most useful member of the family of nations is normally a strongly patriotic nation. So far from patriotism being inconsistent with a proper regard for the rights of other nations, I hold that the true patriot, who is as jealous of the national honor as a gentleman is of his own honor, will be careful to see that the nation neither inflicts nor suffers wrong, just as a gentleman scorns equally to wrong others or to suffer others to wrong him. I do not for one moment admit that political morality is different from private morality, that a promise made on the stump differs from a promise made in private life. I do not for one moment admit that a man should act deceitfully as a public servant in his dealings with other nations, any more than that he should act deceitfully in his dealings as a private citizen with other private citizens. I do not for one moment admit that a nation should treat other nations in a different spirit from that in which an honorable man would treat other men.

In practically applying this principle to the two sets of cases there is, of course, a great practical difference to be taken into account. We speak of international law; but international law is something wholly different from private or municipal law, and the capital difference is that there is a sanction for the one and no sanction for the other; that there is an outside force which compels individuals to obey the one, while there is no such outside force to compel obedience as regards the other. International law will, I believe, as the generations pass, grow stronger and stronger until in some way or other there develops the power to make it respected. But as yet it is only in the first formative period. As yet, as a rule, each nation is of necessity obliged to judge for itself in matters of vital importance between it and its neighbors, and actions must of necessity, where this is the case, be different from what they are where, as among private citizens, there is an outside force whose action is all-powerful and must be invoked in any crisis of importance. It is the duty of wise statesmen, gifted with the power of looking ahead, to try to encourage and build up every movement which will substitute or tend to substitute some other agency for force in the settlement of international disputes. It is the duty of every honest statesman to try to guide the nation so that it shall not wrong any other nation. But as yet the great civilized peoples, if they are to be true to themselves and to the cause of humanity and civilization, must keep ever in mind that in the last resort they must possess both the will and the power to resent wrong-doing from others. The men who sanely believe in a lofty morality preach righteousness; but they do not preach weakness, whether among private citizens or among nations. We believe that our ideals should be high, but not so high as to make it impossible measurably to realize them. We sincerely and earnestly believe in peace; but if peace and justice conflict, we scorn the man who would not stand for justice though the whole world came in arms against him.

And now, my hosts, a word in parting. You and I belong to the only two republics among the great powers of the world. The ancient friendship between France and the United States has been, on the whole, a sincere and disinterested friendship. A calamity to you would be a sorrow to us. But it would be more than that. In the seething turmoil of the history of humanity certain nations stand out as possessing a peculiar power or charm, some special gift of beauty or wisdom or strength, which puts them among the immortals, which makes them rank forever with the leaders of mankind. France is one of these nations. For her to sink would be a loss to all the world. There are certain lessons of brilliance and of generous gallantry that she can teach better than any of her sister nations. When the French peasantry sang of Malbrook, it was to tell how the soul of this warrior-foe took flight upward through the laurels he had won. Nearly seven centuries ago, Froissart, writing of a time of dire disaster, said that the realm of France was never so stricken that there were not left men who would valiantly fight for it. You have had a great past. I believe that you will have a great future. Long may you carry yourselves proudly as citizens of a nation which bears a leading part in the teaching and uplifting of mankind."