Newspaper Page Text
genius of these trained experts always finds means
of making strictly scientific discoveries and in genious inventions never contemplated by the State, and thus of indefinitely expanding the domain of science, art, and industry. Supply Would Follow Demand OUCH are some of the ways in which the genius ^ of to-day is displaying itself. These are the fields in which the demand exists, and it is always sup plied. But I venture to say that if a demand of this substantial character existed for literary pro ductions, for poetry and drama, for art in any form, sculpture, painting, ceramics, musical composition, it would be supplied in like manner, and would in every department prove to be of a high order. The age of Pericles or Augustus could be reproduced, or perhaps surpassed, and almost immediately, by the simple process of calling out the latent genius of this or any other modern country in the same man ner in which it was then called out. Genius is uni versal, all sided, unlimited; but the greater part of it is always latent for the reason that it is not demanded. If the display of genius is to be increased, it must be done by creating a market for the products of genius. Intellectual production is subject to the same laws as economic production, and the spiritual resources of the world are as inexhaustible as are its material resources. But the State should not be the only appraiser of genius. Society is its proper appraiser, and until society shall appreciate its geniuses and learn to reward them, few of them, relatively speaking, will ever come forward. The true market for achieve ment is the people, and when the people themselves shall demand it the supply will promptly meet the demand. The true way, then, to call out the dor mant genius of mankind is to create this great popu lar demand, this world market, into which all the talent of the race will pour. How can this be accom plished? Only by the spread of ideas and ideals. There is no royal road to this goal, and the dis cussion of the ways and means transcends the lim its of this article. It has been maintained that a great difference exists in this respect between men of action and men of thought, between warriors and statesmen on the one hand and philosophers and scientists on the other. They tell us, and truly, that the Alexan ders, Cssars, Napoleons, Nelsons, Washingtons, and Grants, as well as the So Ions, Catos, Richelieus, Gladstones, Websters, and Lincolns, have been sim ply the products of their respective times and coun tries, and would never have been heard from if they had lived under different political conditions. But we are assured that such men as Aristotle, Pliny, Galileo, Descartes, Leibnitz, Newton, Darwin, Franklin, Agassiz, and Marsh were the possessors of an intrinsic genius which is independent of cir cumstances. The same claim is made for literary and artistic geniuses as well as for renowned in ventors. This has been shown not to be the case. The law applies to all forms of genius. Most of those men tioned and scores of others have been investigated, and it has been found that without exception they have all owed their fame to the combination of genius and opportunity, that besides being native geniuses they have in a proper sense been called upon to display their talents in the direction in which they have displayed them. American Geniuses the Same 'VTT'HEN few systematic researches of this kind have been made for the leading American geniuses of any class, there is no reason to suppose that they are exceptions to this universal law, and upon those who maintain that they are such rests the burden of proof. That this law holds good for our generals and statesmen is too obvious to need stating. But for the Civil War, Grant, though he had a military training, would have remained an obscure tanner in Galena; Sherman, Sheridan, Cus ter, and the rest would have spent their lives at various outposts in the far West, known only to military circles. But for the great political questions that shook the country before that war, brought it on, and carried it through, as history records, even Abraham Lincoln would have never done more than grace the Springfield bar. It would be easy, if space permitted, to take up other classes of eminent Americans and show how in one way or another the particular environment in each case was the decisive factor in their success. For example, Benjamin Franklin, though in some what straitened economic circumstances in his youth, was a printer by trade, and thus always able to earn a livelihood. But the printer's is the one trade which has for its natural effect to bring its possessor into direct contact with the great men and great thoughts of the age. The average journey man sets up the type from the copy before him without imbibing the thought that it expresses, but for a genius like Franklin every type touched with his finger is fraught with meaning, and a printing office is a university. If Benjamin Frank lin had learned the shoemaker's instead of the print er's trade, he never would have captured the thunderbolt. Anything connected with the press proves highly educative, even the selling of newspapers; and, as Elbert Hubbard has said, one never knows what future may lurk in a half-clad newsboy crying his wares. It is probable that the world is indebted to this "profession" for an Edison. But here, and not less in the case of Alexander Graham Bell, true genius found itself in the presence of a great public demand for its products, and such a combination knows no failure. CHRISTMAS OF THE DOWN AND OUT 1AST year I was down and out,? "Q v AT "R 17 U T1 F \X/ A U TTT T ~\^ A "XT and foot benumbed by the storm, and A penniless, sick, and out of work. 7 ? ^ IV1 /1. IN entered a building where men and I stood in a public square on Christ mas Eve with others of my kind, huddling together to keep warm and waiting for something to turn up. Presently the something came in the shape of a large and well fed man, who with a chuckle tossed a handful of coins at our feet. As one we dropped on our hands and knees in a mad scramble for the bright silver, and when I rose, dirty and wet, my hands bleeding from contact with the sharp ice, I was the only one who had not gained by the struggle. I was the down and outest of the down and out. For things like this men have thrown their lives away, and I was turning away heavy hearted and with trembling lips, when a hand dropped on my shoulder and a husky voice said: "Say, Bo; you didn't get a nickel, did you?" I turned, to see a grizzled veteran who had come off with the lion's share. There was a look in his eyes that caused my voice to soften. " Not a nick," I answered. "Dead broke?" he queried. I nodded assent. "Where do you bunk to-night?" he persisted. "I don't know," was my dejected response. His blear eyes looked up at me sharply as we passed through the lighted circle of an arc light. Then he spoke again. " You come with me, sonny, an' I'll stake you to a dime shake-down." "Thanks," I muttered, unable to say more to my benefactor, whom I followed across to the East Side and down the Bowery to one of the many cheap lodging houses which line that thoroughfare. Up the shaky stairs we went into a boxlike office. "Two suites of rooms," demanded my friend of the clerk, as he tossed two dimes on the board and led the way into a large dormitory where half a hundred or more men were sleeping on cots. He pointed with his finger to an empty one in the corner and whispered, "Good night, Bo. Put your shoes under your pillow." "Good night. I hardly know how to tha-a?" "Cut it out! Cut it out! ' he replied bruskly, mak ing for a nearby cot, an action I proceeded to copy. When Christmas Day Dawned A ND thus it was that I opened my eyes on Christ mas day in the place of the down and out. The very dawn seemed to mock me, picturing for me the feasting and reveling of the many that day contrasted with the hunger and despair of the some. My thoughts were not cheerful as I made my way out of the great sleeping room to wash at a faucet kept running all night to prevent the water freezing, and hurried to a big stove in the assembly room of the lodging house, wishing for an overcoat as I pinned my summer coat tight at the neck, both for warmth and to hide the dirty shirt and absence of collar and tie. Close to the stove were standing a dozen of my unshaven compeers, hands clasped in front, and most of them, like myself, sporting a safety pin at the junction of their up turned coat collars. The snow now swept gracefully past the windows, and beat a call upon them that sounded to me like a summons to come into the open and be numbed and smothered and shrouded. I shuddered and moved closer to the big red stove. "Ding dong!" Church chimes were ringing. " Peace on earth; good will to men," was the theme of the bells; but peace was kept and good will simulated round that stove by the fact that no one there was worth robbing or murdering for loot. "Well, boys, it's Chris'mus, and for one day we'll live like princes!" called a husky voice behind me, which I recognized as that of my friend of the night before. "I'm goin' to make a start." Out he went. Out Into the Storm T FOLLOWED him, feeling instinctively that his *? better knowledge of Bowery conditions might be of use to me. At the foot of the stairs he paused as the storm embraced him, and I gained his side. " Bad shoes," he remarked, looking at the ven tilation holes and corn-easing slashes in my foot wear. "Can't get any new ones till nine o'clock, boy; but come on an' have a cocktail and some breakfast, anyway." "You know, I?I haven't any money, friend." "Me neither; but don't cry tears over it. To day's Chris'mus. Come up an' we'll see Johnny." I followed my well trained guide into one of the many hostelries abounding on the street. "Merry Chris'mus, Johnny!" he shouted. Then he pushed back the proffered bottle with, "Nothing less than a dry Manhattan for us to-day," and the man in the soiled jacket proceeded to mix them. We wished Johnny many happy returns of the day, and the cocktails disappeared. "Come on an' have breakfast," said my friend. " But I have no money," I ventured again. "Forget it!" he replied. I was at his heels as he entered a little restaurant. Behind a small cigar case was a young man display ing a large aquiline nose, curly black hair, and the deep, soulful eyes that told the story of centuries of Jewish patience under Christian and other per secution. Day of all days to invoke a Jew's charity and benevolence for the benefit of a hungry Chris tian! think you? But to that man it was not only Christmas, but also Chanuka, the festival commemorating forever the heroism of the patriotic Maccabees, a time when the Jew takes his place for the nonce beside the fighting Celt and Saxon and Slav. Accordingly he did not walk after the rolls and coffee which he was going to serve free to the two of us. He seemed to march, with head erect and shoulders square, dreaming perhaps of the restoration of Zion and the theocracy of his own good sword. In this way I learned that even in the slums nobodv is denied a breakfast on Christmas morn ing. My seasoned guide told me that no matter where or in what part of the city one might go, the result would have been the same, except in the haunts of the overrich. "Must have shoes an' an overcoat," said the veteran, glancing at my sorry figure as we came out. "Come on up to the Volunteers." Up to Cooper Square we went, beaten and cuffed women, unitormea sometning liKe the Salvation Army folk, were busy with tying up baskets and bundles and waiting on some of our brethren of the army of the destitute. A young woman tripped up and asked us our wants. "Overcoat and shoes and socks," said Mr. Guide. We were sent up stairs, where a dozen or two of our companions in misery were being fitted out, and very soon I had on my back a light fall overcoat, and on my feet dry and clean socks and a pair of well worn but still water tight patent leather shoes. Now I felt like a somebody once more, as we emerged into the storm. "How about a smoke?" I asked the learned one. " Nothin' doin' till dinner time," he replied. Dinner time is high noon in the tenement dis tricts and in the slums, and so I went back to the lodging house, feeling something like my long lost self, and on the way drank in from the active tongue of my mentor the details of my proper program for the day. Acting upon that, I sallied forth at noon and headed for the rooms of a political association, which is as quick or quicker to help one of an oppo site political faith as it is its time honored adherents. I was escorted to a table by a waiter, who was probably a ward captain, and got one of the finest turkey dinners I ever had, with coffee and a cigar thrown in. One of the political bosses, it was well understood, paid the expenses of the four thousand dinners served to the down and out. As I left I had the knowledge that I could come back at night and have a supper of cold turkey, biscuits, and tea, and had it not been for the fact that I was already in possession of a good pair of shoes, a ticket entitling me to a pair at a local dealer's would have been given me as I passed out. Walking down the street, I felt the supreme con fidence that should come to a man after a full din ner. I was content for the time, and my only thought was for the night. I had been idly finger ing a bit of cardboard handed me at dinner, and looking at it all my fears as to lack of lodging fled,? it was a card calling for a free bed at the Municipal Lodging House. The Lesson of Adversity "YOU, my friend, may never know what a singing * of the heart a lodging for the night may cause. I know it, for my hand held that ticket, and pre sented it that night, and I rose the next day with a new courage to take up my little struggle in life. My Christmas of adversity had come as a lesson. This Christmas day will be a far different one to me; but I shall try to make it a fit companion for the last one, so both will keep fresh in my memory. It shall be mine to stop in front of every Salvation Army or Volunteer sentinel and drop my bounty of gratitude in the chimneys and pots; it shall be mine to seek the East Side haunts of my other Christmas, and if I should meet my grizzled guide who taught me life he shall be my brother for all time; it shall be mine to carry the spirit of the day in my own way and where I will. I know the joy of receiving, and I will know the joy of giving, for pn such things is the spirit of Christmas founded.