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tl)c flmfin JMirror.
Vol. 5. No. I^. THE TWO BASKETS. 'St. Peter from the door of heaven one day Sped two young angels on their way For the first time to see the world in May— Bach bearing baskets. They were to bring back flowers more fragrant far Than budding rose and blooming hawtborne are; They were to bring the praise of all the star Back in their baskets. The angel of Thanksgiving, full of glee. Donned a hugh bumper, half as big as he; But the Collector of Petitions—see A small basket. When they returned, St. Peter, as before, Sat with his golden keys beside the door; But each appeared to be in trouble sore About his basket. The Angel of Petitions bore a sack Cram full, and bound uncouthly on his back; Yet even then it seemed that he had lack Of bag or basket. The Angel of Thanksgiving blushed to feel The empty lightness of his mighty creel; “But three!” he muttered—turning on his heel To hide his basket. Then spoke St. Peter, “When again you go On a prayer gathering, you will better know That men’s petitions in the world below Fill a big basket. “But when you go to gather up their thanks For prayers well answered and forgiven pranks, For health restored and disentangled hanks, Your smallest basket!” —Sunday School Times. For the Prison Mirror. “Sentimentalism and. Crime.” Since the writer began the study of social problems, he has again and again noticed, often with a smile, the thoughtful struttings of ignorance, and, or the reverse, the igno rant struttings of thought It is a daily happening that, outside of professed agnos ticism, a man knows that which he doesn’t know, and presumes to dictate to his fel lows the reasonableness of his wrongness. An agnostic, while avowedly a know-noth ing as to a God head and an immortality, oalls himself a liar at every breath he ■draws, for his presumption lies in the affirmation of a negative creed, a metaphys ical impossibility. His know-nothingism ■consists in denying the premises of* the theists and in denying the premises of atheists. He believes neither the ones or the others, and yet believes in his own agnosticism. So, in matters of social econ omy, there are found men who, for the sake of individual antagonism, profess to know all about them, and yet know nothing. They assume, from a basic proposition—a proposition unanalyzed and taken for granted—that the conclusions at which they arrive are the conclusions and there can be none other. The fact is, they know that which they don’t know, and hence arises ■the continued gabbliugs of civilization. In the Oct. 29th issue of this weekly is an article by the editor on the subject I have chosen for this article. The stand taken, as a basis for argument by him, being the ac ceptance of the dictum that “sentimental ism,” does exist, and in his opposition to a “Patriot”-ic editor, he proceeds to argue that it does not enter into any relationship with “crime,” in Which he is right, as any one knows outside of “patriotic” editors and a certain class of penologists. I combat the assumption ot there being any sentimentalism in the world at all wherein it is to be accursed. From time immemorial we have had men and women who have labored to ameliorate the miseries engendered of state craft, priest-craft, and. in our later times, of news-craft, or editor craft. The Great Master of Sentimentalism, Christ Jesus, consummated the work of his, as he was himself, God given, predecessors, and since his personal teachings there have been no lackings of sentimental observance. From the annals of the past two centuries what men and women are held in the high est esteem by us all? Sickly sentimentalists like John Howard, Elizabeth Fry, Sarah Martin, Miss Sinda Gilbert, Charles Dick ens, Wendell Phillips, John Boyle O’Reilly, and—need I mention any others? It may be argued that there was no sickly sentimentalism in the doings and preach ings of such as these. This cannot be proved. If it was sympathy, it was but another name for sentimentalism; if it was “humanity.” it was but another name for sentimentalism. Of course, the assumption is based on the ground that these practical philanthropists have benefited humankind, and, consequently, it could not have been mere sentimentalism that urged them on in Stillwater, Minn., 'Thursday, Noy. 154,1891. their good works. It was mere sentiment alism before there good works were re warded with benefits to humankind; after they were—well, call it what you like. It is impossible here to enter into a dis quisition as to whether the human govern ernment is one of “getting there” yourself, or of helping your weaker fellow to get there along with you. I may briefly say that I hold to the principle that no man, no woman has a divine, or natural right to “succeed” in life-work to the detriment of the least, the weakest of our kind. It is this hard headed hard heartedness that causes a “patriotic” editor to expatiate on a subject about which he knows nothing. Some fellow with a tip top opinion of his own long-headedness, and an empty-bottom ignorance of his own large headedness has —not yesterday; oh, no; but many, many decades ago—promulgated the theory of “Gush in its antagonism to reformation.” and some other tip top, empty-bottom fel low has caught up his idea, and handed it along the lines even unto modern civiliza tion. This same fellow has talked about “Prisoners’ Bills of Fare” far surpassing in their details of toothsome tid bits and del icacies anything that a Fifth Avenue hotel ever provided. He has also talked of such a thing as “severity being necessary to re pression,” and, of course, he knew, but it is a pity that he didn’t know about what he was talking. I have long ago had it practically demon strated to me that if any progress is derived and any made in the suppression of vice and the prevention crime, it is going to be accomplished by other methods and means than patching up old penological clothing, or by re lying on an unrevised proof sheet of a recumbent editor. Some of our leading prison disciplinarians with their keen in sight into the criminal nature are among the least as reformers. Their conceptions of social evils are blurred; they can’t see beyond the immediate prospect of what is; they know not how it came there, and seek it not, and, if you were to point out to them that an Andrew Carnegie was responsible for 1 per cent of the criminals, and that Jay Gould was responsible for another 1 per cent, and so on, they would make big eyes, and, perhaps, harp upon the one string of “conditions.” and say theories are discord ant in dealing with them. How those con ditions came about they care not; they are here to punish a criminal, according as the lawhas directed them. They dodge the question. Can it not be seen that the slurring of sen timentalism is not against itself, but because it is directed against criminals? And what is a criminal that he should be commiserated, and the son of a criminal that he should be coddled? Can it not be further seen that these slurrers know nothing of the why and and the wherefore of crime—of, well, say ninety per cent of crime? 1 think if “pa riotic” editors would attend to political lying they might serve their own ends bet ter, and not damn the poor criminal to such an extent as their know-nothingism has done. It is such rubbish as the Jackson editor puts forth anent criminals that makes one’s humanity protest against his iron-clad heart and his brass-clad mind. Ignorance is fatal to progress, and I doubt if there be a harder battle to fight in this world than the one against ignorance—educated igno rance. To sum up these brief paragraphs: Senti mentalism never antagonizes the reforma tion of the criminal. It may be unworthily bestowed in a few cases; but it does no harm —only to “patriotic” editors, and men of like caliber. The ridiculing or the de nouncing of “gush” is symptomatic of alack of it in the ridiculer’s or the denouncer’s disposition, and he should bear in mind that as his disposition is not going to be changed by “gushers,” so the dispositions of these are not going to be changed by his blather. It would save him a penful of ink and a second or two of time if he would not forget this. The puerility of talking of the luxurious lives which prisoners lead need not be considered. I wonder, though, if any of these so called patriots ever did, say, a “stretch?” I presume a lot of lux urious conceit would be taken out of them if they had to do one. Then the babble about severity being necessary to repres sion. Did severity ever repress? From Draco to Date what instance can be cited of Its repressive power—except in Draconian annihilation and capital conviction? 1 know not one, and I have studied here and there a little. I know this, however: You may subjugate a man or a woman for the time being; but repress his criminal tendon- “ IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO MEND.” cies—reform him —never, not by severity. Let the prisoner- reader tell me if I am wrong in asserting that severity never re presses, that it never will repress. As to the “Patriot”-ic editor’s “expres sions of joy” at “the return of the good old days of imprisonment for punishment only” much might be said—outside of what he imagines. But I must close. Let me say, however, that, so long as pity and punish ment stand together, no progress will be made, and you can’t make them progress. Either have the one or the other. Which one I should advocate need not here be said. Suffice it to sign myself New York City. Jed Jukes. “So Jolly English, You Know.” A recent interesting conversation held with some friends on the many points in which speakers and centers of culture differ from each other as to the use of certain words and as to certain modes of expres sion, called to mind Mr. Wilkie, who is so severe on English English in “Sketches be yond the Seas.” He described himself as saying (in reply to the question whether Chicago policeman have to use their pistols much), “1 don’t know as they have to as a matter of law or necessity, but I know they do as a matter of fact;” and we have re peatedly heard this incorrect use of "as” for “that” in American conversation. 1 have also noted in works by educated Americans the use of the word “that” as an adverb, “that excitable.” “that head strong,” and so forth. So the use of “lay” for “lie” seems to me to be much com moner in America than in England, though it is too frequently heard there also. In a well written novellette called “The Man Who Was Not a Colonel.” the words, “You was” and “Was You?” are repeatedly used, apparently without any idea that they are ungrammatical. I gin sorry to say that they are much more frequently heard in America than in England (I refer, of course, ta the conversation of the middle aud better classes, not of the uneducated). In this respect it is noteworthy that the writers of the last century resemble Amer icans of to day; tor we often meet in their works the incorrect usage in question. In America the word “clever” is com monly understood to mean pleasant and of good disposition, not as in England ingen ious and skillful. Thus, though an Amer ican may speak of a person as a clever workman, meaning ingenious and skillful, yet when he speaks of another as a clever man, he means, in nine cases out of ten, that the man is good company and well natured. Sometimes, lam told, the word is used to signify generous or liberal. In like manner, the words “cunning” and “cute” are often used by us for “pretty.” The word "mad” among us seems nearly always to mean “augry.” For “mad,” as the English use the word, we say “crazy.” Herein we have manifestly impaired the language. The words “mad” and “crazy” are quite distinct in their significance as used in England, and both meanings re quire to be expressed in ordinary parlance. It is obviously a mistake to make one word do duty for both, and to use the word “mad” to imply what is already expressed by other and more appropriate words. I have just used the word "ordinary” in “the English sense.” Among us the word is commonly used to imply inferiority. An "ordinary actor.” for instance, is a bad actor; a “very ordinary man” is a man very much below par. There is no authority for this usage in any writer of repute, and the usage is manifestly inconsistent with the derivation of the word. On the other hand, the use of the word "homely” to imply ugliness, as is usual among us, could be justified by passages in some of the older English writers. That the word in Shakes peare’s time implied inferiority is shown by the line— . “Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits.” In like manner, some authority may be found for the American use of the word “ugly” to signify bad-tempered. Words are used among us which have ceased to be commonly used in England, and are, indeed, no longer regarded as ad missible. Thus, the word "unbeknown” which no educated person ever uses, either in speaking or in writing, is still used in our common speech and by writers of re pute. And here it may be well to consider our own “dulce domum” expression “I guess,” which is often made the subject of ridicule by our English cousins, unaware of the fact Rive Gents. that the expression is good old English. It is found in works written in the last cent ury, and in many written during the seven teenth century. In fact, the disuse of the expression in Jater times seems to have been due to a change in the meaning of the word “guess.” An Englishman who should say “I guess” now, would not mean what Locke did, when he used the expression more than once in his treatise “On the Human Understanding,” or what an Amer ican means when he uses it in our own day. The English say. “I guess that riddle.” or “1 guess what you mean,” signifying that they think that the answer to the riddle, or the meaning of what they have heard, may be such and such. But when an American says, “I guess so,” he does not mean “I think it may be so,” but more nearly “I know it to be so.” Mr. Andrew Lang has written a charm ing essav upon the text, “Don’t Marry Literary Men.” The advice seems wholly unnecessary. Women do not mairy; they are married. Men do the marrying, says the Chicago Daily News. The misuse of the word “marry” is very common, yet we are surprised to find so careful a writer committing the atrocity. “Wed” is a much better word than “marry.” Rameous. On Shakespeare. 1 believe Washington Irving is responsi ble for saying that every writer makes or should make his debut in literature by an essay on Shakespeare. So here is my toll. E. P. Roe makes a character in one of his novels select the Bible and Shakespeare as the two best books in the world. I can not improve the collection, though 1 would like to extend it by adding “Sartor Resar tus” as the third. Shakespeare’s knowl edge of the world and of human nature was something wonderful. He knew more about sailors and their ways than Finimore Cooper or Captain Marryat. With jockeys and their phrases he was better acquainted than the most accomplished slang talking stable lounger of the nineteenth century. Ruskin said that there were no heroes in Shakespeare—all heroines. The genial, gentle Rosaline, the loving Portia and fil ial Cordelia certainly are lovable persons. But no less interesting are some of his he roes. The philosophical aud irresolute Hamlet; the scheming and courageous Rich ard; Shylock with his “blade and beam” and the more than devil lago, are all inter esting, not of themselves only, but because of the passions they portray. In order to derive the most benefit from the reading of Shakespeare, you should select an edition without notes. The learned commentaries in small type at the foot of the page are. ordinarily, nothing but the author’s display of superfluous learning. It matters nothing to me how long before Shakespeare’s time the stories existed; they were worthless and would now be obsolete had he not touched them with the magic wand of his genius. They were but clay: he breathed upon them, and they were im mortal. He embodied in “easy numbers” all that was best in English history and lit erature. The great Marlborough said that he knew no English history but what he learned from Shakespeare. Stratford on Avon has been a mecca to all sorts and conditions of pilgrims. An American traveler was led to exclaim, “Oh the times! oh ihe manners!” when he saw on the register for visitors the following names: Henry Ward Beecher. Tom Sayers. The pugilist was, doubless, as much pleased with the contest of the wrestlers in “As You Like It.” as was the divine with the soliloquy of Hamlet. 1 will close with a story 1 heard while in Colorado about the millionaire Tabor, who was, if I mistake not, once governor of that state. Anyhow, after building the Tabor opera house, he employed an artist to paint the drop curtain. A few days aft erward Mr. Tabor was called in to inspect the work. A portrait in one corner of the scene attracted his attention. He asked whom it represented. The artist told him that it was Shakespeare. "Shakespeare, Shakespeare,” said Mr. Tabor, "Who is Shakespeare? What did he do for Denver? Paint that portrait out and paint mine there.” The coincidence is worth noting, that on the same day that Shakespeare died in Lon don, Miguel Cervantes, the author of “Don Quixote,” died In Spain, April 24,1616. Lacoh.