Newspaper Page Text
THE MENA WEEKLY STAR.
A. W. 8T. JOHN A 80NS, Publish*™. MENA,.ARKANSAS KINDLINESS VS. ETIQUETTE. How the Former Trl uni plied Over the I.ntter ut St. PeterMhiirtr. There is an excellent story of a tri umph for simple American kindliness and common sense over diplomatic eti quette, and stiIT court procedure. The story concerns a former minister of the Uuited Stntcs in St. Petersburg, at one of th ose elaborate and very formal re ceptions or levees which the emperor and empress give on New Year’s day, and several times later during the win ter. All the diplomats stand in line in their order of precedence, and their majesties walk down the line to ex change greetings with each in turn. On this occasion the empress, now the dowager empress, was not present, huv ing just given birth to one of tlie young er princesses. It seems that the good wife of the American minister was in this country, occupied with a similar do mestic duty. The emperor came down the line and asked after the health of each of the gentlemen present, at the same time exchanging the usual seasonable greet ings. Then, as was also his custom, he asked of each what was the news from home. This always meant in the diplomatic world: “How is my good brother, the emperor of Germany?” or, “What is the news from mv dear sis ter, the queen of Great Britain and Ire land?” It is supposed that all of the questions were answered with pleas ant information about his fellou rulers of the globe. So when he ramt to the American minister he did ask tne usual question: “I hope you have good news from home.” Of course he did, and our luii-nearieu representative could not keep it a secret. “Yes, thank your ma jesty. excellent news; it is a boy, and weighs 12 pounds.” It is needless to say how the perfect ly natural answer smote the assembled corps hip and thigh. It is said that a widespread titter was scarcely decor ously suppressed. But the good-na tured man and father, even if he was a czar, pretended not to notice it, and said that he was truly glad to hear it. and he hoped the minister would con vey his heartiest congratulations to Mme. Minister. He then passed on to the next man in the line extending his greetings. It seems that the ill-con cealed disorder among his col leagues made no impression upon the good-hearted and happy Amer ican. He had forgotten something. Coming out of his place, he followed the emperor, and tapping him on the shoulder, said: “I beg your majesty’s pardon. I failed to inquire after the health of the empress nnd the little princess.” The emperor thanked him again with great kindness, and assured him that both were doing as well as could be expected. And from nil ac counts this last exchange of domestic compliments provoked the line into actual laughter. This was the one good story of the great winter enpitnl for days and weeks. It was whispered about at parties nnd titterd over teacups, until it at last reached the ears of the recovering em press, and with the kindness which has always characterized her as well ns her lnte husband, she resolved to teach the small-minded court circle a lesson. So at the next assemblage she made occa sion to seek out the American minis ter as an object of her especial favor, and. Inter, at the banquet, in a particu larly audible voice, thanked him for his kind inquiries after her health dur ing her recent illness.—Washington Post. I BREAD UPON THE WATERS. IMiyslolan Itrwnrilrtl l>y n '1'Hlef Wlicne 1,1 fe H»- Mini Saved. A rising young physician of West Philadelphia lately recovered his fian cee’s stolen watch in a remarkable way. The timepiece was a present from the doctor, and was a beautiful specimen of the jeweler’s art, the cases being blue enamel, thickly set with diamonds and pearls. On the inside of the case was a picture of the giver, photographed di rectly on the case, and the engraved words: “From Ralph to Grace.’ Thanksgiving night the young couple attended a theater, and at the close of the play joined the merry throng that was on Chestnut street. Several times up and down were made, and it was very late when they arrived at the young woman’s home. In order to be sure of the time the girl felt for her watch, which she usually wore hooked on her coat, and found it gone. Of course she was horrified, and started to cry, but the doctor told her she prob ably lost it, and that an advertisement would bring its return. The lost and found column w as freely used, but with out any result. The doctor had lost all hope, w hen. one morning, he received through the mail the missing watch and a letter, which read: “Dear Doctor: Inclosed find w atch that I stole Thanks giving night. On looking in case I saw your picture and surmised that it was a gift from you to your sweetheart. I guess you don’t remember saving the life of a man who had no money, but I do, and I can’t find it in my heart to keep the watch. A Grateful Man.” The doctor, who is noted for his char ity. says he has no recollection of th case in question.—Philadelphia Record. WHERE PEACE REIGNS. An Idyllic Spot Near the Ever Busy City of Hamburg. It In Called the "Old Country,” nnd Well Named It In, Too—A Churm Ins Retreat for Nervous Americana. [Special Hamburg Letter.] It is strange how ancient customs and antiquated methods will survive iu cer tain districts, iu our own country we have the primitive mountaineers of Vir ginia, Georgia and Tennessee, who, ac cording to Charles Egbert Cruddock, Will Allan Dromgoole und other fasci nating narrators and historians, liva continually in a way which seems al most barbaric to our thrifty northern farmers and the aristocratic planters of the south, to say nothing of our pomp and circumstance loving city pop ulation. But our American mountaineers are far away from the centers of progress; many of them are engaged in the run ning of illicit stills, and are rarely vis ited by travelers or tourists, ilcnce there is some excuse for their lack of enterprise. When a progressive community clings to the traditions of their fathers, how ever, it means that its members are men and women of powerful individu ality who despise the tinsel of modern civilization and hold dear the solid things of the past which make up in stability what they lack in elegance. Such a commuity has recently been introduced to the world by Mr. A. Lut teroth, a German writer of note, in a series of articles called “Sketches from the Old Country.” The “Old Country,” for so the tract inhabited by Mr. Lut terotli's interesting friends is called, is located in the Prussian province of Hanover, about five miles northwest of the city of Hamburg, on the left bank of the river Elbe. The charming little stream, called the Lube, passes through the district, and to protect the mouth of this miniature river against the ef -- wedding” is perhaps the most interest ing. It receives its name from the fact that each guest is expected to bring his own spoon, knife and fork. The meal consists only of soup, beef and baked plums, and each guest fills his plate fiorn huge bowls placed in the center of the table. No wine, beer or liquor is served with the meal, but bottles of “kumrnel”—a cordial flavored with car away and very much sweetened—are placed on the various tables, each bottle beingsurrounded by six whisky glasses. Of this the guests partake as freely as they please, men, women and children drinking from the same glass. The meal usually occupies two hours, but speeches and toasts are barred. At the conclusion each guest pours some of the kumrnel over his spoon, knife and fork, and w ipesvthem dry on the table cloth, napkins being, of course, an un known luxury. The income of the people is derived principally from cherries, which are ex ported. packed in baskets, to England and other European countries. When the cherry crop is ripe the “old coun try” is a busy spot, all hands being kept at work from four o’clock in the morn ing until nine at night. The principal village is Steinkirchen, which derives its name from au ancient church w'hose lower structure consists of gigantic granite block. The wooden spire of this church is painted in a peculiar color— in general use in that region. It iscalled royal red, and when the tower is newly painted in the spring it presents a cu rious aspect, looking like a red pillar surmounting the white crowns of hun dreds of blooming cherry trees. Aside from its church, Steinkirchen possesses one other object of general interest. That is a lift bridge of the antiquated and now whose arms must be raised to permit the passage of vessels. In its crude way this style of bridge may be considered the prototype of the bascule bridge, now considered the superior of theonca popular turn bridge. When the cherry orchards are In bloom, Steinkirchen is a favorite resort for the better classes of Hamburg’s society. Its principal inn, located in the center of the village, has a more than local reputation for the excel A SCENE IN THE PICTURESQUE "OLD COUNTRY.” j lecxaoi euoanu r.ioenignaiKesnave oeeu , built on each side,.extending severul miles inland. The fertile soil lying be hind the dikes is devoted almost ex clusively to horticulture. Fruit trees— i cherry, plum, apple and pear orchards ! —are planted so thickly that they pro duce a forest-like effect, and the roll ing pasture land is intersected by countless irrigating ditches. Every farmhouse is surrounded by a carefully-tended garden. Each year | everything that will bear paint is dec i orated w ith u new coat. The living rooms, stables and granaries are under one thatched roof which frequently readies immense dimensions. The walls of the houses are made of beams, with brick filling, every beam being richly carved and the colored beams arranged in really artistic and pleasing designs. The inherent love of art of the people is also expressed in the interior decora tion of their homes, there being not one which does not contuin interesting old furniture, large carved wardrobes, chests, boxes, benches and chairs. In the course of time the love of the “old country" people for the possessions of their forbears has developed into ven eration, and only necessity will tempt them to part w ith one of their "antiqui ties," as they call their heirlooms. Yet curio hunters and dealers have man aged to acquire many treasures of late years. Scores of interesting pieces have found their way into private collections, and others have been added to museums and art collections in various parts of Europe. The picturesque costume of the dis trict is unfortunately no longer popu lar. Only elderly women wear it. while the younger matrons and girls are dressed in the proverbial garb of our cities. The ancient gown was dark and sad, mostly black. A satin bonnet, trimmed lavishly with ribbon, covered the head, almost completely hiding the tresses. Waist and shirt were covered with gold and silver filigree work w hicb, in conjunction with buttons of the same metals, lent noble elegance 10 the dark costume. As in the past, weddings continue to this day to be the “grand events” in the social life of these people. Very fre quently 500 invited guests meet at such an occasion, and the customs governing It are so unique that an account of one or two should he preserved for lovers of the quaint and curious. The “spoon lence 01 its cuisine; and if there is any class or condition of people competent to give a reliable judgment about things lo eat it is the well-fed Hamburg mer chant, who delights to spend week upon week in the cozy “gusthof” of the “old country” metropolis. There is nothing more enjoyable than to accompany a crowd of visitors across the dike to the river Elbe, where they take the returning steamboat, and then, in solitary grandeur, take a boat and drift down the river with the fall ing water. To the right and left nod trees, loaded down with blossoms, often to the water’s edge, the green shore peeping out here and there, and from the miniature kitchens of the smacks and yawls tied to the shore arises a duinty cloud of smoke, so soft and airy that even the imagination of a poet could not picture anything more charm- I mg. When the tide comes In, (he bout turns with it and is carried leisurely up stream. Everything is hushed in si lence. save the singing nightingale, and silently one glides, accompanied by her song, past fantastic pastures and flow ery meadows, always in sight of the ele vated, tree-covered dike. Then the moon rises and pours its shadowy light over the white tree tops; distance loses itself in a light vapor, and, seemingly dwell ingin an enchanted valley, one would drain the charms of the spring night to the very dregs. Lovers of the pure and idyllic in si! parts of the world are UDder obliga tions to Mr. Lutteroth. who has called their attention in this inimitable way to a spot a visit to which would confer particular benefit on American travelers, for we may safely conclude that in this poetic “old country" all nervous strain must succumb to the peaceful environment. And more es pecially in spring, when the entire re gion is a sea of blossoms, when the bright sunlight fails upon the white flowers, and gamboling sunbeams chase | each other across the green lawns; and when resting under the shade of the trees, large flocks of sheep with their white and black lambs, and noble herds of horned entile lend animation to the gorgeous yet peaceful picture. WILLIAM WALTER WELLS. He—It’s love that makes the world go round. She—Hut it’s riches that keeps iu* axle greased.—N. Y. Truth. THE CIVIL-SERVICE LAW. _ Congress, as a Body, Rather Likec Its Provisions. Many Spcechm Are Made Apnlniit It for the i’arpoae of Placating the Oltice-Seekera at Home. [Special Washington Letter.] There is a great deal of humbug In the proceedings of congress; und the ! people ought to know it. It often happens that some subject is debated for days and days in the sen ate and house of representatives, and it all ends in talk, without the enact ment of a law. There is a reason for this. It is plain to close observers. The statesmen never intended, from the first, that any thing should happen, except time-kill GEN. GROfcVENOR (O.). (“We will ask nothing more and will take nothing less than a change In this law.”) Ing talk. And all the while, the peo ple have been reading the newspapers, and wondering how it would end. The people are thus disappointed some times, because they are misled. You have recently been reading de bates about the civil service law. Some statesmen have defended the law against the bitter attacks which have been made upon it. Those men have been sincere. I5ut some of the men who have attacked the law' have been insincere. While arguing against the law, they are really hoping that it will not be repealed. Strange as this paradox may seem, it is true. The civil service law has saved the political scalp of many a congress man. The representatives must be re elected every two years, or they drop out of public life. All of them ure am bitious to continue in the business of statesmanship. They depend upon po litical friends who work for them to keep them in popular favor. Those friends naturally want rewards for their political services. The only way to secure reward is to seek and obtain federal office. For this boon (hey de pend upon their congressmen. If the congressmen cannot help the men who help them they will soon find them selves politically friendless, and will lose their exalted positions. . Under existing circumstances, the congressmen can say to their friends and backers: “This civil service law is so administered that no offices can be obtained, except after examination by the civil service commission. It is a law which never ought to have been enacted. But, being on the statute books, nnd being enforced, we cannot get around it.” aiiai, you see, maxes me oinceseeKer nngry at the law, instead of being angry with the congressmen. All of their wrath is directed at the civil service law, because that law keeps them out of oflice. If it were not for the law, they would be howling mad at their con gressmen. Now, suppose the law should be re pealed. Look at the predicament in which the congressmen would be placed. It is officially reported that dur ing the past year there were 50,000 ap plications for federal appointment made through the civil service commission, and that many people were examined. Of course, but few were finally ap pointed. But, supposing that the civil service law should be repealed, it is safe to as sume that there would be ten times as many people apply for office, when they would not be obliged to pass ex amination. Consequently, the con gressmen would have half a million of offieeseekers on their backs, clamoring for office and demanding office or trouble. Under such circumstances can you imagine that the congressmen really want the law’ repealed ? Not a bit of it. On the contrary, the civil service law is a safeguard for them. It protects them against the political henchmen and of fice-seekers. But, inasmuch as the statesmen have talked and written to their backers all manner of things against the law, they must make pre tense of sincerity by delivering speeches against the law. This pleases the office seekers at home, and it does no harm in Washington city. No matter whether the administration of that law is a suc cessornot.it enables statesmen to make * strong excuses for not getting their 1 friends into office. Who would sup pose for a moment thah the congress men really w’ant to repeal a law which 1 is useful to them, and the existence of which keeps many of them in office, year after year, for many years? Of course there are statesmen and politicians in both houses of congress, t with a preponderance of politician* over the statesmen. Some of the hon orable gentlemen who have been talk *nf? against the civil service law are honest in what they say. It would be unfair for any correspondent to criti cise them individually and say who is sincere and who is insincere. That would be a violation of that highest of all laws: “Judge not, that ye be not judged." During the recent discussions Gen. Grosvcuor, of Ohio, was the most ve hem«at denunciator of the low. and Mr. Johnson, of Indiana, was the foremost defender of the law. Mr. Brosius, of Pennsylvania, was also prominent as a defender of the law and the manner of its administration. It is a singular fact that Gen. Grosvenor has long been re garded us one of the most stanch po litical friends of President McKinley, and yet be denounces the law which the president is trying so hard to enforce. A shrewd politician suggests to the writer that "may be McKinley is not so much in favor of the extreme enforce ment of the law as he is supposed to be. It seems to me that he is acting on the principle enunciated by Gen. Grant, that 'the way to secure the repeal of a bad law is to give it extreme and rigid enforcement.’ It is not altogether uu likely that McKinley extended the civil service classification to make the ex treme administration of the civil serv ice law obnoxious. Therefore, it is not surprising that Gen. Grosvenor should be doing his part in congress to make the law unpopular.” That is supposition; but to one ex perienced in the ways of politicians it does not seem to be an improbable view of the actualities of the situation. Gen. Grosvenor is one of the best men in con gress, and President McKinley is one of the purest men ever known in public life. Both of these are politicians, and yet both of them come fully up to the measure of true statesmanship. There is nothing partisan in the true adminis tration of the civil service law. People everywhere, however, are divided in their views concerning the manner and method of its proper enforcement. The debate of this question incites the thought heretofore expressed in this column of correspondence; that is, are not the offices made too tempting by the large salaries attached to them? There is a reason for everything in this world, and there must be some reason for this terrific clamor for the spoils of office. But it is perfectly natural, after all. If John Doe gets a nomination to con gress, and his success is largely due to the political management of Richard Roe, it is only natural that Richard Roe should expect some sort of reward. When John Doe comes to congress he gets a salary of $5,000 per annum, and that looks pretty big at home. Never theless, the cost of living in Washing ton, according to the style expected of congressmen, is very great, and the congressman cannot afford to pay money to Richard Itoe for having stood by him in the past, and for standing by H. V. JOHNSON (IND.). ("Mr. Speaker, I cannot keep my seat.”) him in the future. But Richard Roe wants his reward, and he applies for of fice. Of course the congressman ought to do something for him, if he can. That sums up the original cause of office-seeking, but it does not suggest die cure. The plain people of ourcoun try will in their own way and in their >wn time settle this question once for til and take it out of the realm of dis :ussion. The fate of this much-discussed law nay be settled in the debating societies )f the country. Let the young men take t up, discuss it, argue it and reach con slusious concerning it. There is no rore fruitful theme to-day before the people. It will be found that the young nen in all of our cities and villages have dews: and when they make a study of •he subject, ascertain all of the facts, ake particular interest in the theme ind reach conclusions, they will be ibout right. Then, when political cam paigns are fought, they will instruct heir representatives what to do, and it vill be done. Many a public question las thus been settled in the debating ocleties long before the statesmen were tble to reach conclusions thereon. They isually obey popular opinion as soon ns t crystallizes so that they cannot mis ake __SMITH D. FRY. Strange. Bloombumper—You wouldn't call the English a dead language, would you? Spatts—Of course not. “That is strange.” “What is strange about It?” “Because English is murdered more ban any other tongue.”—N. Y. Journal. « I