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Somehow I always have shopping to do in the village. If it isn't a ball of string or a pencil or a postal order for one-and-six, it is pretty sure to be a shoehorn, stamps, vaseline or shaving soap. I suppose I never get my stuff in sufficient quantities; it can't be right that I should spend so great a part of my time buying footling little things like these.
However, I don't really mind buying things; what I do object to is having the weather expounded to me at length in every shop in succession. I wish they would leave it alone. The only way to be happy in our climate is to forget about it. I have tried cordially agreeing with them-but that only eggs them on. I have tried flatly contradicting them-a policy which must have borne fruit in time. had I not found that it was making me unpopular and therefore abandoned it.
Then I embarked upon a more subtle method-a blend of the other twocalculated neither to irritate nor to encourage, but rather to bewilder. And here I found success.
bleak about it. Didn't Mrs. Hughes think so? Raw, you know.
"Oh, yes," Mrs. Hughes replied unblushingly; "but there-what can you expect?"
Then I tried Kemp (nail-brushes). He was still more ready to meet me half-way, for when he had drawn attention to the balmy nature of the morning and I had retorted that I fully agreed with him, but all the same I hoped we should have no sleet, he said he hoped so too, but that was the danger. He then tried to change the subject, but I wasn't finished with him yet. I told him that I had found it very close and sultry coming up the hill, and he said he didn't wonder at it. In his opinion it was a day to keep in the shade. "Quite so," said I; "and yet I noticed quite a bitter feeling in the air. Very bracing, of course!"
When I told Mrs. Lane (luggage labels) that it was long since we had had such a sweltering, biting day she retorted that that was exactly what she had said to Lane. She had "passed the very remark." That made me feel that I wasn't making much headway. All the same the cure has taken effect. After persevering for two or three days I began to notice a change, and by now Mrs. Hughes will studiously avoid mentioning a thunderstorm that is raging at the very moment of my entrance, Kemp talks glibly about the cricket match of the previous Saturday or the Government "up in London," and
Mrs. Lane serves me in smiling silence.
I am beginning to think that much 'may be done by elaborating and extending the system. Already I have enjoyed further successes. I was travelling one day alone in a thirdclass coupé. I was determined to keep the carriage to myself, partly because I had my feet up, partly because I wanted to smoke (and it was not a smoker), but chiefly because I always want to keep things to myself. Every
one does. At the first stop the huge form of a woman with a massive basket appeared in the open doorway and began to heave itself on to the step. I leant towards her.
"Excuse me," I said confidentially, diffidently, "I suppose you didn't notice, but as a matter of fact"-I waved my hand in an explanatory manner-"this is a coupé! I am very sorry."
"Oh, I beg pardon, Sir," she replied, and departed covered with confusion. But I regard as a still greater success the time when I was caught trespassing by a most unpleasant looking man with a dog.
"Look 'ere!" he shouted truculently, as he came up to me brandishing a stick. "Are you aware that this is private property?"
I assumed my gentle, explanatory, expostulatory voice, which always commands attention.
"Yes, certainly," I said, "I know very well that it is private property"and I smiled very sweetly upon him"But then I am a private individual." He looked at me sternly for a moment.
"W'y didn' you tell me that before?" he demanded, and went his way.
THE SHAKESPEARE MEMORIAL.
Lord Lilac thought it rather rotten
That Shakespeare should be quite forgotten.
With several chaps out of the city
And F.C.G. and Comyns Carr,
Two dukes and a dramatic star,
Also a clergyman, now dead;
And while the vain world careless sped
Unheeding the heroic name
The souls most fed with Shakespeare's flame Still sat unconquered in a ring, Remembering him like anything.
Lord Lilac did not long remain
And sought some other social set
THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SITUATION.
So far as tactics are concerned, the break away of Mr. Roosevelt from Republicanism and the announcement of his new National Progressive Party ought to have greatly eased the task before the Democratic Convention at Baltimore. Mr. Roosevelt makes his appeal to "Republicans and Democrats alike in the name of our common American citizenship." His revolt against the denomination of machine politicians on the one hand, and dishonest wealth upon the other, and his demand that the common people shall be the court of final appeal in matters of government, are in themselves calculated to appeal at least as powerfully to the radical wing of the Democratic Party as to the insurgent Republicans. The clash alike of personalities and of policies within the Democratic Party, though less dramatic than in the Republican, is quite as real. There is very little else than party loyalty to hold together the white Southern aristocracy, Tammany, and the democracy of the West. So long as any remnant of the old antagonism of principle surviving from the struggles for State rights
could be warmed up for electioneering purposes, party solidarity remained almost automatic, divergence upon the Tariff helping to furnish a business basis for party opposition. But there is now no serious pretence that these historic issues furnish a true dividing line. The difference between the orthodox Republican and the orthodox Democratic tariff policy, though substantial, is not really vital. Tariff for revenue only, if attainable, would be very far removed from Free Trade in a country as yet disabled by its constitution and traditions from any adequate system of direct federal taxation.
The really urgent issues of American Government have no relations to the principles, the traditions, or the social composition of the two great parties. They are issues ripened rapidly since the Civil War by the swift industrial development of America under conditions which have made federal, state, and municipal politics highly profitable instruments in the hands of skilful, ambitious, and unscrupulous groups of business men. In the course of two
generations, the land of freedom and of equal opportunities has been converted into a land of economic privileges, conferred and sustained by the arts of political management. Railroads, lumber companies, great manufacturing and commercial combines, the concentrated power of finance, have reduced the effective liberties of the common people, absorbing more and more the possession and control of the raw resources of the land, and restraining competition
in the manufacturing,
transport, and marketing processes so as to present the most conspicuous example of plutocracy the world has ever seen. For the pursuance of these business purposes, politics in every one of its departments, legislative, administrative, and judicial, has been a Tariffs must be built necessary tool.
as feeders to Trusts; these, again, must and be protected against taxation against vexatious restrictions of the law; factory legislation, employers' liability, and all interferences with the liberty of contract by which wealthy corporations can coerce weak competitors or working men must be kept off the Statute Books, or, if admitted, must be nullified by administration that is sympathetic with business interests. All these and other related needs of plutocracy have obliged business men to keep a firm hold upon the two The normal superiorparty machines. ity of Republicanism has made most men of wealth and most powerful corporations adherents of that party, so much so that the Democrats have utilized for electioneering purposes the pre. tence that their machine is a free instrument for the realization of the popular will. The history of Mr. Cleveland's two Administrations and the general conduct of the party in Congress, however, give no real support to that interpretation. The utmost that could be said for the Democratic Party has been that its formal professions The Nation.
upon such issues as Tariff and Trusts have been somewhat more advanced, though hardly more practical than those of the Republicans.
The general accuracy of this diagnosis is borne out in the common cleavThe age seen in the two conventions. real fight in America to-day is between the conservation of powerful vested interests and the struggling aspirations of a people nourished upon princi. ples of freedom and of progress which they find themselves unable to realize in practice. Their federal constitution is utterly inadequate to the main purposes of modern government, the realization of the popular will which it intended to provide has been nullified by the machine politicians, and all endeavors to curb these abuses have been frustrated. The clear perception of the truth that a fresh alignment of parties is needed to correspond with the fundamental needs of modern politics has been struggling into consciousness in the rank and file of both parties. The tactics of the politicians of both parties have consisted in attempts to suppress this truth, and to maintain the sham fight which furnishes their profession and their livelihood. Roosevelt has at least had the courage to set up the standard of revolt, failing to break the power of the "bosses" in his party. If Mr. Roosevelt's past record of achievement gave reason to suppose that he is in reality the Moses his followers proclaim him, we should regret a Democratic nomination which might diminish his chance of success. But, as matters actually stand, the nomination of an advanced and earnest Democrat, strong enough to bear down, and able enough to outwit, the obstructionists of his party, may be as likely to serve the early ends of progress as to place a new lease of power into the hands of the hottest-headed man who has ever undertaken the guidance of a great Republic.
THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES.
So far as can be seen, the Chicago Convention ended disastrously for Mr. Roosevelt. The "Bull Moose" had left no stone unturned to oust his old friend from the customary nomination. When he feared that his efforts would be unsuccessful he took the unprecedented step of travelling to Chicago in order to canvass and speak for himself. As the proceedings dragged on, however, and the charges of theft and fraud were disproved, his followers became disheartened, and some of the Taft delegates informed an English journalist that Mr. Roosevelt was "squealing." He knew the rules of the game when he threw his hat into the ring, and should have taken his beating like a After all, it was his own machine, and the only complaint a Roosevelt boss could fairly make against it was that of the negro delegate, who cried out towards the end that the steam-roller was "exceeding the speed limit." One delicious passage in a long telegram from the Daily Telegraph's correspondent published last Saturday deserves to be put on record as the journalistic gem of the Chicago Convention:
The Colonel's rage, according to all accounts, was unspeakable. He realized yesterday morning that he was like a grizzly bear snared and trapped, and unable to escape his captors unless he chewed off his leg. The Republican party machine, which grinds slowly but very surely, was in no hurry to complete the killing. The Taftites dallied all yesterday, nominally engaged in examining cases of contested delegates, hearing evidence, and SO forth, but really pursuing the well-worn tactics of harassing and exhausting the enemy. They believed that by allowing the grizzly to stay in the trap all day and all night he would fret, fume, and roar himself into a more quiescent state, and by breakfast time to-day would be prepared to eat once again
from the hands of the officials of the Republican party.
On Saturday, when the President was
For Mr. Taft ....
For Mr. Hughes....
An hour afterwards the "bolt" took place, but several of his most respectable and influential supporters-Governor Hadley, of Missouri, Senator Borah, of Idaho, and Senator Bristow, of Kansas-took no part in the affair. However, there was a good crowd in the hall to which the Roosevelt delegates "bolted"; a new party, called the National Progressives, was formed, or is supposed to have been formed, and Mr. Roosevelt accepted the irregular nomination which was tendered to him. The Bull Moose party is its nickname, and if this rump convention does not satisfy Mr. Roosevelt, he may try to convene a larger meeting in August, perhaps in Denver.
The Democratic Convention at Baltimore opened with a split between Progressives and Conservatives, which was superficially not unlike the struggle between the adherents of Roosevelt and Taft at Chicago. But, although