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THE COMRADE

BY EDITH WHARTON

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WILD winged thing, O brought I know not whence
To beat your life out in my life's low cage;
You strange familiar, nearer than my flesh
Yet distant as a star, that were at first
A child with me a child, yet elfin-far,
And visibly of some unearthly breed;
Mirthfullest mate of all my mortal games,
Yet shedding on them some evasive gleam
Of Latmian loneliness - O even then

-O
Expert to lift the latch of our low door
And profit by the hours when, dusked about
By human misintelligence, our first
Weak fledgling flights were safeliest essayed;
Divine accomplice of those perilous-sweet
Low moth-flights of the unadventured soul
Above the world's dim garden! — now we sit,

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After what stretch of years, what stretch of wings,
In the same cage together — still as near
And still as strange!

Only I know at last
That we are fellows till the last night falls,
And that I shall not miss your comrade hands
Till they have closed my lids, and by them set
A taper that — who knows? — may yet shine through.

Sister, my comrade, I have ached for you,
Sometimes, to see you curb your pace to mine,
And bow your Mænad crest to the dull forms
Of human usage; I have loosed your hand
And whispered: 'Go! Since I am tethered here;'
And you have turned, and breathing for reply,
'I too am pinioned, as you too are free,'
Have caught me to such undreamed distances
As the last planets see, when they look forth

VOL. 106 - NO. 6

To the sentinel pacings of the outmost stars -
Nor these alone,
Comrade, my sister, were your gifts. More oft
Has your impalpable wing-brush bared for me
The heart of wonder in familiar things,
Unroofed dull rooms, and hung above my head
The cloudy glimpses of a vernal moon,
Or all the autumn heaven ripe with stars.

And you have made a secret pact with Sleep,
And when she comes not, or her feet delay,
Toiled in low meadows of gray asphodel
Under a pale sky where no shadows fall,
Then, hooded like her, to my

her, to my side you steal,
And the night grows like a great rumouring sea,
And you a boat, and I your passenger,
And the tide lifts us with an indrawn breath
Out, out upon the murmurs and the scents,
Through spray of splintered star-beams, or white rage
Of desperate moon-drawn waters - on and on
To some blue ocean immarcescible
That ever like a slow-swung mirror rocks
The balanced breasts of sea-birds motionless.

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Yet other nights, my sister, you have been
The storm, and I the leaf that fled on it
Terrifically down voids that never knew
The pity of creation - or have felt
The immitigable anguish of a soul
Left last in a long-ruined world alone;
And then your touch has drawn me back to earth,
As in the night, upon an unknown road,
A scent of lilac breathing from the hedge
Bespeaks the hidden farm, the bedded cows,
And safety, and the sense of human kind ...

And I have climbed with you by hidden ways
To meet the dews of morning, and have seen
The shy gods like retreating shadows fade,
Or on the thymy reaches have surprised
Old Chiron sleeping, and have waked him not ...

Yet farther have I fared with you, and known
Love and his sacred tremors, and the rites
Of his most inward temple; and beyond
His temple lights, have seen the long gray waste
Where lonely thoughts, like creatures of the night,
Listen and wander where a city stood.
And creeping down by waterless defiles
Under an iron midnight, have I kept
My vigil in the waste till dawn began
To move among the ruins, and I saw
A sapling rooted in a fissured plinth,
And a wren's nest in the thunder-threatening hand
Of some old god of granite in the dust

THE MATTER WITH US

BY WILLIAM S. ROSSITER

What is the matter with us?' is, in compels us to remember that at length effect, the question which has been the United States has emerged from asked many times of late in the Halls national childhood and arrived at a of Congress and in thousands of homes considerable degree of maturity. We in the cities and towns of the United endured our 'growing pains' with comStates.

placency, realizing their cause. Having This query does not relate to our grown so rapidly, however, we seem external affairs, nor to any failure to not to appreciate that our national achieve material success at home, but ailments are no longer the mere aches primarily to our daily experience, in of youth. In reality we are now subject the course of which the dwellers in all to the graver distempers which afflict larger communities (forming a decided the full-grown state. “The matter majority of the American people) find with us’ is principally population, themselves so heavily penalized by the an ailment of national maturity. advancing cost of the necessities of life, When the federation of states adoptespecially food-supplies, that much of ed the Constitution and founded a the advantage of increasing prosperity nation, the republic possessed a large - perhaps all of it - is sacrificed. geographical area and a meagre sup

The most reasonable answer to this ply of inhabitants. During the period inquiry carries us back from theorizing which has elapsed since that date, the to a common-sense point of view; it increase in number of inhabitants has

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far outstripped increase in territory countries, whether large or small, it is In 1790, when the first census of the recognized that great density of popUnited States was taken, the density of ulation carries with it definite limitapopulation was but 4.8 inhabitants per tions upon the individual. In France, a square mile (computing total area). In property-owner is not permitted to cut 1900, it was 25.1. In 1790, the density down a tree upon his own land; he may, of population in the settled area was however, climb his tree and snip off 9.4 per square mile, but in 1900 in the twigs and small branches for firewood. same area it was 80.4. In short, in num- In consequence, in large areas many ber of inhabitants we have expanded of the trees are disfigured, but they rapidly into a huge nation, but thus still remain standing and form a part far we have failed to realize the limit of the national resources. In Japan, ations which of necessity accompany human beings do most of the work immense increase. In this census year which in less densely populated coun1910, the population of the United tries is performed by beasts of burden. States approximates at least eighty- In a country so densely populated as nine million souls. How many have Japan, this work is required for the awakened to the fact that this republic support of a large element of the laboris now the fourth largest nation in ing class. In this sense, therefore, Japan numbers upon earth?

literally cannot afford to breed and Moreover, the three nations which maintain many horses and other beasts are more populous than the United of burden. States are significant: Russia, with one If a traveler asks for accommodation hundred and thirty million inhabit- in a hotel in which there are but few ants, composed principally of a dense- other guests, a generous landlord may ly ignorant agricultural peasantry; assign him even more liberal accomIndia, with three hundred millions, of modation than he requires; but if the whom much the greater part are ignor- hotel be crowded, the newcomer will be ant human beings subsisting upon compelled to share a bed with a strangthe equivalent of a few cents per er, or perchance to sit up in the office. day; and China, with possibly three Again, if a man's house is located upon hundred and fifty or four hundred mil- a ten-acre lot, he is at liberty to act as lions of persons who maintain their riotously as he pleases at any hour of existence only by methods of living the day or night, with little danger of undreamed of and utterly impossible annoying others; but if a citizen elects

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to occupy quarters in a city apartment It appears not to have occurred even house, liberty to do as he pleases is at to thoughtful Americans who have ob- once restricted, and those actions or served the conditions which prevail in sounds will not be tolerated which inoverpopulated countries that some of terfere with the convenience or comfort the symptoms there noted are likely to of others. These illustrations in a way develop in the near future in our own suggest the curtailment of individual land, and are possibly even now begin- freedom which must necessarily attend ning, since everywhere the struggle for great increase of population in the existence becomes fiercer as popula. United States. tion grows more dense.

In developing the resources of this Such change, indeed, is inevitably continent, the pioneers and their deattended by decreased individual free- scendants speedily forgot the frugality dom of action. In densely populated and the economical methods of Europe

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which had been developed there by the ninety per cent of the population of the stern necessity for preserving soil and United States in 1790 was engaged in forest and mine. Not only have the or supported by some form of agricultcitizens of the United States by inherit- ure. This means that of approximateance been reared in an atmosphere of ly three millions of people, two milindividual extravagance, but they early lion seven hundred thousand derived summoned the world to migrate to their support from the soil, and three America to aid them in exploiting their hundred thousand from other callings. resources. Our case, in fact, resembles In 1900, the agricultural element rethat of a poor man coming suddenly presented about one third of the total into a great inheritance.

population, and the remaining two Confronted at length by an increas- thirds were engaged in industrial and ing tendency to dense population, we other occupations. still seek means of continuing the It is possible to imagine the proporsame wasteful methods of living which tion of 1790 as in existence in 1910. have prevailed in the past. Nothing, Upon such a supposition the United however, is more certain than the law States of course would be a distinctivethat dense population can be success- ly agricultural nation. In that event, fully and comfortably maintained only our eighty-nine millions of inhabitants by strictest frugality, proper distribu- would be divided in the proportion of tion, and with a reasonable adjustment eighty million one hundred thousand of callings. The abject poverty and persons engaged in agriculture, and suffering of great numbers of persons in eight million nine hundred thousand England at the present time in all prob- persons otherwise occupied; but, on ability largely result from disregard of the other hand, observe that it is not the altered conditions caused by dense practicable to apply the proportions of population.

1910 to the population which existed It is frequently urged that the Unit- in 1790. If it were, the spectacle would ed States is capable of supporting a have been presented in that year of vastly greater population than at pre- two millions of persons crowded into sent lives within its borders. This as- the cities, shops, and mines of the young sertion may be admitted as true solely nation, with but one million persons upon one condition: that the agricult- living upon the farms to produce the ural areas shall be fully peopled and food-stuffs and other material required intensively cultivated by inhabitants for the support of two thirds of the popcontented with reasonable returns. In ulation. It is safe to assert that at that that event, immense increase might period so small an agricultural element occur without economic revolution; in as one third of the total number of infact, it might thus have been possible, habitants could not have produced the so vast is our area and so great are our food-stuffs required for the support of resources, to have reached our present the remaining two thirds. population and to have materially ex- These comparisons not only suggest ceeded it, without curtailing to any the degree to which the elements inhermarked degree our inherited extravag- ent in the population of the nation ance of living. But normal distribu- have been adjusted during the century tion of population between town and which has elapsed since the Constitucountry would have been absolutely tion was adopted, but clearly indicate essential.

the real problem that the people of this To the best of our present knowledge, republic are now confronting.

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