Imágenes de páginas


opinion of one of America's leaders in action. Surely such grounds ought to technical education, who declares the be explicit and convincing. Surely an three consultant engineers to be among enterprise of such magnitude should not the foremost of their profession in the be imperiled on grounds that are trivial country. To indicate the esprit de corps or meager. The Outlook has tried to of this body of engineers it must suffice get from the Commissioners of Accounts here to cite a single incident. When the full text of their report, but has reground was broken for the aqueduct, ceived word that no copies are available. there was a celebration in the vicinity of It has applied to the Board of Water Peekskill. On that occasion the Mayor, Supply, but has received the astoundthe members of the Water Board, and ing information that the Board against the force, engineers of various ranks, which the charges were to be directed draughtsmen, rodmen, axmen, and had not even been considered in the disoffice-boys, gathered to hear speeches. tribution of the report, though some at Men wore the colors of the aqueduct, least of the daily newspapers had been as college men their college supplied with it. The Board has at last colors. There was a glee club. On received a single copy, after one of its the way from New York and back members had preferred first a request again the men sang songs which cele- and then a demand for it. We leave brated incidents of the undertaking as our readers to form their own opinion college songs celebrate incidents of as to this proceeding. In the meantime college life. In a few days every man The Outlook must rely upon the fairly who attended, down to the office-boys, full newspaper abstracts and quotations. received a letter from the Water Board The specific charges are two: (1) That thanking him for his personal attendance in the matter of letting the contract for and for the part he was playing in the the building of the Ashokan Dam the enterprise.

members of the Board of Water Supply Today the engineers who, moved by “ failed to take such steps to satisfy pride in their work, disregarded other theniselves of the accuracy of the stateoffers, are thinking about what steps they ments made to them by their chief shall take to seek other employment; engineer and consultants as would be trained to value excellence rather than expected of ordinary business men of show, they are chilled by the fear that experience ;" in other words, that the what they have done will fall into Board in deciding on technical questions the hands of men who will botch it acted upon the unanimous advice of for the sake of some ulterior purpose ; experts who stand at the head of their proud of their organization, they think profession. (2) That the President of they see the beginnings of disintegration. the Board had given to the business of Why? For very good cause. Their the Board “but a scant portion of his chiefs have been subjected to investiga- attention”—more specifically, that he did tion, and are awaiting promised official not go to the site of the dam and to the charges of “incompetency and miscon- headquarters of the Board as often as duct."

the Commissioners thought he ought. If there had been any revelation of The Outlook has carefully examined corruption or dishonesty, all honest men the full transcript of the testimony on would be willing to acquiesce in even which these charges are based. Not the total destruction of the organization. only are the charges themselves trivial, But dishonesty is not even charged. but the report to the Mayor from the What, then, is pleaded in justification Commissioners of Accounts in which the for the peril to this great enterprise ? charges are made grossly misrepresents

The Commissioners of Accounts have certain important portions of the evinot as yet formally preferred charges dence. We do not believe the Mayor against the Board of Water Supply; but will regard the charges seriously. The they have issued a report in which they first is merely the pitting of a lawgive notice that they will formulate yer's view of an engineering question charges and give the grounds for their against the view of a solid phalanx of

engineers. From the lowest engineer One of two partners would travel along on the aqueduct to the most expert of the line of the railway as a drummer and the consultants the view is practically would sell playing-cards at a marvelously unanimous that the contract for the dam low figure to all the hotels. Three weeks was rightly awarded ; that the lowest later his partner would follow him, and bidder was inexperienced in dam con would allay the suspicions of the wary by struction, that his bid was too low, that never having a pack of cards of his own, the acceptance of his bid would have but always buying them of the hotel for resulted in wastefulness and delay. As the game. The issue of the game was of to the second charge, the answer is plain. course never doubtful. The work of the Board of Water Supply Coming East at the close of the Civil is to be judged by its fruit and not by War, I found a different kind of gambling the number of times its members sit in going on in Wall Street. This story of their office chairs. Its achievements so the Street was told me by one of its far come near to being unprecedented; habitués. A certain stock speculator it is both unreasonable and unjust to whom I will call Mr. X. had a considerapply to such a Board the tests that are able amount of unprofitable stock which suitable for office-boys.

he wished to dispose of. He had We do not know whether some per acquaintance with the popular pastor of a sonal quarrel, some political ambition, large and fashionable congregation who or mere mania for investigation, has been was totally unable to keep a secret. The the cause of putting this Board under shrewd speculator called on his unsusfire and placing the construction of the picious friend one day and imparted to aqueduct in peril. Whatever the cause, him, in the closest confidence, some we hope that the Mayor, who deserves valuable information. The stock of the great personal cr.dit for his leadership Mining Company was certain to in the creation of the aqueduct, will put rise. “I have been buying some of it an end to the scandal and save the city's myself,” he said, “ and I advise you to project from further impairment by dis- invest in it for a rise. How much missing the charges.

money have you got?” “A thousand dollars in savings banks, but that is my little all," said the minister. “ Draw it

A Word on Gambling and buy the mining stock

. I am so

sure of it that if it fails to rise I will take During the Civil War I resided in Terre it off your hands at the price you paid Haute, Indiana. This city of fifteen for it. But remember, this is a profound thousand inhabitants was on the direct secret. Not a word to any one else." line of the great inter-State railway Surely not,” said the delighted minister, between New York, Philadelphia, and “not a word to any one.” He drew the Baltimore on the east and St. Louis in money and bought the stock. He told the southwest. Indianapolis to the east all his relatives and all his wife's relaof us and St. Louis to the west of us tives, and they told all their friends, and were great gambling centers, and gam- before the week was out the report bling through that whole section was a of the “sure thing” was all over the common vice. In my congregation there parish, and Mr. X. had sold his unprofitattended, occasionally, a very polished able stock at a very good profit. It did gentleman who was without any recog not rise ; the minister came to his counnized profession, and was currently selor with a rueful countenance. Mr. X. believed to be a professional gambler. was as good as his word, took the shares He was unquestionably familiar with the parson had purchased and paid him that profession, and gave me some inter- back his thousand dollars. But when esting information concerning it. Many the parson hesitatingly suggested that of the playing-cards of commerce, he some of his intimate friends had made once explained to me, the skillful expert purchases also, he was reminded that the could read from the back as well as from “sure thing was to have been kept the face. Gamblers hunted in couples. a profound secret. “I will keep my

Springs of Life

promise and repay you," said Mr. X., There are three morals to be drawn "but I can't take care of your friends." from these incidents and the principle

Whether these stories are true or not they illustrate. is immaterial, though I have no reason First, If you gamble with cards, be to doubt their truth. Legends serve as sure you know not only your cards but well as history the purpose of illustra- also your partner. tion ; and these stories, whether legends Second, If you gamble with stocks, or histories, illustrate the methods of the trusting on “inside” information, be gambling fraternity.

sure you understand the motive of the There may be some gamblers who man who first furnished the information. play the game fairly, but, so far as I can Third, Do not desire to get somelearn, they are very few. For it is the thing for nothing; then you will not nature of the gambling passion to breed gamble at all.

L. A. dishonesty. A truly honest bargain is by both parties to it intended to be profitable to both. If A buys a horse of B for $250, and the deal is a square one, it is made because A values the Multitudinous as are the human lives horse more than he values the $250, and which flow upon the earth, the hills of B values the $250 more than he values the Lord are infinite, and each little the horse. It is true that the deal may existence finds its source in a secret be dishonest on one side or on both. peculiar spring. Much of the trouble on The vender may palm off a worthless every hand, the strain and restlessness, horse; the purchaser may pay in coun comes from the failure to keep a path terfeit money

But if the bargain is a open and traveled back to this spring, square deal, it is one by which both par each man for his own feet. ties are supposed to be profited. In a The neglect is easy enough, and comes gambling transaction only one party can about for the most part in very virtuous profit. What one gains the other loses. ways. Such a one is working hard for One makes his money out of the other. his fellows; how can he possibly drop Gambling is simply a scheme for trans- his tasks and run away and sit down by ferring money from the pocket of one himself? Then, again, as one travels man to the pocket of another man, with down the widening world-valley, one no equivalent given in return. The encounters many hundreds of streams only semblance of an equivalent is the deeper and finer than one's own, some chance that the transfer may be made of them prating loudly enough of the in the opposite direction. The honest

The honest merits of their success. Would it not gambler is not a thief. He resembles a be a broader and humbler action to folthief in one important respect: he trans- low these streams back to their springs, fers his victim's purse to his own pocket, when the need for primal refreshment and gives him nothing in return. But comes, than to go ever tracing and rehe is unlike the thief in one equally im- tracing one's own familiar windings? portant respect: he gives, or professes As a matter of fact, there are, of course, to give, the victim a chance to get his no paths for us to other men's springs ; opponent's purse without giving for it the Wisdom which has created us has any return.

But whether the gambling seen to that interdiction. But if there is by boys pitching coppers on the side were, there could hardly be a mistake walk, or by fine ladies playing bridge, more cruel and dull on our part than the or by professional gamblers playing with effort to follow them up. It would seem cards or dice or roulette-wheel, or by that a flaming angel must stand at the speculative gamblers on 'Change playing final turn to smite us away and blind with stocks or grain, the basic motive is our daring eyes. We may drink of the always the same—the desire to get some rivers of all the world and thank God thing for nothing. And, however veiled, for the privilege; but only of one spring, that is always essentially a vicious and sordid desire.

One may learn to guess from the eyes

our own.

of the various people one meets in the times to claim their own through humilworld which of them have kept the path ity, and the world loses them. Yes, it open, which have neglected it, which is even so bad as that; the world, which alas ! have lost it utterly. The tell-tale has need of them, every one, loses them expressions range all the way from a and suffers. That they lose themselves clear shining of peace and humor to a is sad enough ; but that the world and haunting tragic restlessness, or, worse, a their fellow-men lose them is downright lethargy. There are not many—sad sin on their part. What sort of children truth to tell— who seem to follow the demands the world, human lives of what path every day. Yet there are some nature? Faint and trickling, muddy and such people. The writer once stood dull ? Away with them! No; give her beside a woman whose notable kindness joyous lives, springing each day from of heart brought her friends daily to lean the primal source, welling anew from the upon her, and heard her instantly refuse infinite, touched by the angel of peace. a sufficiently simple office of philan- Only such vigorous lives as these can do thropy.

her work for her. “Why would you not do it?” he ven- We have an abiding conviction that tured to ask, when the baffled advocate joy was meant for the children of men, had departed, and he stood alone again joy and peace, even here and now. with his friend.

Eternity will be no more begun when we She regarded him with her clear eyes are dead than it is at this moment; why, a moment, hesitated, then smiled and then, do we insist on postponing our answered:

eternal advantages ? The way to our joy Well, yes, I will tell you. I have and our peace is more simple than any found that I cannot do work like that; trouble of which we complain, and lies it cuts me off from my springs.”

close at hand: Only to be true to ourIt seems that the poor vexed earth selves, to hark us back to our springs must be glad if all her children would of life, and then to go bravely down thus relieve her of their insistent pres- through the world, doing our work well. ence awhile during each strenuous day. The primal secret is our own, but we Of doing and doing there is no end, of interpret it to the world in daily parable. planning and hoping and striving; but of simple being there is not enough always to keep the mill-wheels in motion The Spectator and bear the ships to the sea.

In a world of diversity so surprising Not many seasons ago the Spectator and so unfailingly excellent as this motley had an opportunity to observe somewhat globe (“motley's the only wear ") it fol- closely the mental processes of a little lows of course that the springs of life lie group of French teachers in a Catholic in all sorts of nooks and corners, strange private boarding-school in one of the and inexplicable enough to those who do suburbs of Paris. During the vacation not own them. What is this brother boarders were taken-chiefly teachers doing, perversely setting his feet towards from similar schools in Paris or the provthe flinty rock, and that towards the very inces, with a semi-occasional foreigner desert? Springs do not rise there; they seeking a chance to practice the language. rise in the forest, green and fragrant and It was with this aim that the Spectator cool. Ah, but the truth of the matter is had become, for a few weeks, a member that springs rise everywhere; in the of the household. The school, it should heart of New York City there still are be said, was not merely formally Cathosprings, and in the sandy plain. It is lic; its directress and senior teachers only essential that every man understand were members of an “Institut "founded his own thirst.

expressly to educate the young in the To the perfectly honest and simple- true faith; its daily life from early hearted such understanding is clear. messe to evening “prière ” was pracThey drink and remain unperplexed. tically that of a convent; and the views But the timid and doubtful refuse some- and methods of its teaching force may



fairly be taken as representative of those could not help suggesting, “ under Louis of the religious bodies whose schools the Quinze-" République Française has recently abol- She waved aside the implicationished-differing, if at all (it would seem " Ah, but in the time of Louis fair to assume), on the side of greater lib. Quatorze—" erality. The fragments of conversation which follow are chosen as among the more significant utterances of the various One afternoon, drawn on by a brightteachers with whom, from time to time, eyed little

who showed an the Spectator talked. They are tran

unusual amount of interest in things scribed here with the thought that they American, the Spectator found that he may prove, to the reader, interesting had passed from the general subject of side-lights on that vexed question of the multiplicity of sects in the United Church and State which is still rending States to the curious phase presented by France.

Christian Science. Not being himself

of that persuasion, the Spectator would It was on the morning of the 17th cf have been much put to it to produce, in July, the great national fête day on which English, a clear statement of its fundais celebrated the anniversary of the fall mental doctrines, and he smiled interof the Bastille, that the Spectator first nally at his own temerity as he rattled on received naïve enlightenment as to the in faulty French, recounting tales of reactionary spirit of the little group. It apparently miraculous cures resulting had struck him that a certain coolness, from the application of a new interpreas well as a noticeable lack of informa- tation of Biblical history. The little tion, had been displayed whenever the Frenchwoman listened with rapt attensubject of the day's festivities at Paris tion ; but when the Spectator paused, had been broached. In a sudden burst she sighed deeply, shook her head, and of confidence the true state of feeling remarked : was revealed—by the teacher, as it “ For my part, I suspect it is the devil, chanced, of highest rank and attainments not God, who works these cures.” in the institution. She had merely

“But why," asked the Spectator, paused for a moment in passing, when

“ should the devil do good ?” some casual question precipitated her “ That a greater evil may follow," she pent-up feelings.

answered, with the glibness of one who “You know,” she began, “not all the utters a stock phrase. ThenFrench like the quatorze juillet. No!

“ That is the way the Masons perform not half of them. For what does it their miracles, you know.-by the aid of stand for? The Revolution ! and the the devil.” French do not love the Revolution." On the Spectator's expressing surprise,

“ But the Bastille ?” suggested the not to say doubtSpectator. “Surely you do not wish that “Yes," she continued, “the devil is the Bastille were still standing ?”

there in person. Oh, I wouldn't believe She raised expressive shoulders. it myself; at first. But some of our

“What harm would it do us, the Bas- priests got themselves introduced into tille ? But all these strikes, all these one of the meetings. to see what hapmauvaises gens brought up without pened, and there was the devil in person, religion--! And then it was only a sitting in a chair! And when they made mob that took the Bastille. Also, la the sign of the cross, he vanished. So France is not glorious now as she was in now, of course, I know it is true !" the time of Louis Quatorze. Ah, there was order in those days and under Napoleon too-he made order. But It was on another day and with another Louis Quatorze-ah, it was then that la teacher that the Spectator introduced the France was glorious, and great, and re- subject of the Reformation. spected abroad !”

“Ah, Luther? Of course it was just “ But not so much so," the Spectator self-will and obstinacy that made him

« AnteriorContinuar »