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that well-dressed people are mostly are nasty. Many persons call in a phyfools, that servants are dishonest, that sician as an expected social form, and whoever wears a ready-made tie is not habitually disregard his advice. In a gentleman, that doctors are ignora- fact, a true medicophobe will gladly muses, that eating smoked herring is pay a fee for the pleasure of flouting vulgar. But these are prejudices. Not his doctor. At every point we shall find at all; by any fair test they better de that the test of action will prove what serve the name of ultimate convictions we commonly call prejudices to be our than the ambitious articles of faith with genuine and most intimate convictions. which we began. And the test is sim- In great as in small affairs this truth ply this: on which set of convictions do holds. We know a business man who men act? Plainly on the second. Your after careful scrutiny of an enterprise believer in immortality will cheerfully was on the point of a large investment. imperil his soul through a long lifetime, Hearing casually that the promoter's your fanatic of the relativity of know- cheeks were adorned with side-whiskledge will be completely irate in discus- ers, the capitalist brushed the project sion with a dogmatist, your advocate aside. He knew that no luck could come of the unknowable, if entrusted with of association with a man who wore
, power, would conscientiously proclaim, ‘weepers.' Indeed, experience had 'The Unknowable or the sword.' taught him that such persons were not
In short, these ambitious categories merely inauspicious, but positively unare not, properly speaking, convictions trustworthy. At the risk of anticliat all, but mere simulacra thereof. They max the present writer must avow that, are emblems, not principles. We would saving the case of very ancient clergywillingly die for them, just as the pre- men, he has absolutely no confidence datory politician will honestly yearn
in the taste or morals of any person to die for his country's flag; but Heaven wearing congress gaiters. Of course keep us from the folly of living by our such a conviction, being based on a ultimate convictions! Such is the un- sound analogy between elasticity in spoken prayer of most sensible people principles and in footgear, is not to be who reserve their creeds for Sunday or confused with the more irrational sort election-day use. A rather plain-spoken of ultimate convictions. But at botperson, Geoffrey Chaucer, once wrote, tom the reason hardly comes in. We For Plato saieth, whoso can him rede,
simply feel and act in a certain way, The word mote be accordant to the dede. and that is all there is of it. We dig We should then be following two em- our last ditches where we please, and inent truth-tellers should we degrade not where any moral Vauban dictates. most metaphysical, theological, and The chaste Lucretia, it will be recalled, political formulas from their false es- because of the outrage of Tarquin, tate of convictions to that of intermit killed herself. This certainly looks like tently recurrent prejudices. To com- the working of a transcendental ultiplete the demonstration, we need only mate conviction.
mate conviction. Yet we should not show that the real ultimate convic- forget that it is quite possible that the tions are invariably acted on. You chaste Lucretia would equally have may make a Christian Scientist out killed herself if her husband had perof a Jesuit, but hardly a sausage-eater sistently required her to eat mutton, if out of a sausage-hater. Nor shall you indeed, in proper resentment of such win to friendly association with Ger- persecution, she had not killed him. mans one whose axiom it is that they Shortsighted people will feel that
this reversal, by which, according word enfranchised for walking, have thence with deed, our prejudices become our the right to name the gear in which convictions, somehow degrades human they travel. But I do not here disnature. To which the answer is, first, course of fine details. So the boot fit, that the truth is no respecter of the sole be adequate, and the heel not persons; and next, the counter-query, loftily inclined, choose your own wear, Does it degrade? On the contrary it and you shall know content. There exalts. By an instinctive altruism we be that favor rubber heels, and here dig our last ditches where they will again each man is his own arbiter; endanger few but ourselves. If the yet this, at least, is not to be forgotten theological and political creeds which or lightly overpassed: there is a tang we profess really guided our conduct, in the sharp crunch of a hard heel on New York soon would be a new Con- fair road-metal that greets not him who stantinople, with massacre hanging on goes delicately on rubber. Let temperthe presence or absence of a grammat- ament decide. ical prefix. To build your ultimate Most men walk merely to arrive. convictions too high is socially dan- To such the right flavor of walking is gerous. The man who stands on his not known; though chance may reveal notion of the substance or essence of to them the unsuspected good, and so divinity will appeal to the fagots if he kindle a longing for the proper bliss may; the man who would perish be of the walker. The true pedestrian fore eating snails or frogs' legs is con- knows that the means is itself an end. tent with a subjective superiority. In Not for him so many miles and then fact, while dissent is only an offense to begins the actual business,' but ‘so our philosophical and churchly pre many miles of utterly fulfilled conjudices, it is actually a salve to our tent'; and if at the road's end he find ultimate convictions. We pride our- some pleasant hostelry, with fire and selves in those who vulgarly breakfast food and all manner of cheer, this is on smoked herring; they are our back- but the fair setting of the stone, not ground, the conspicuous evidence of our the gem's perfect self. Not that the own gentle tastes. It might seem that walker scorns good entertainment, or some Providence had deliberately set fair weather, or congenial fellowship. our more rigid principles in the field of His feet are on the earth; he is no dethe wholly inconsequential, in order' tached dreamer; and all these things that men might differ without hating. may be accounted part and parcel of his Lest, influenced by reason, we should pleasure without disloyalty to the peact too unreasonably, a great gulf has destrian creed. wisely been established between the Walking is not merely moving two proud heights of reason and the pleasant legs rhythmically over certain intervals table-land of our ultimate convictions. of ground. It is the primal and the
only way to know the world, the deOF WALKING
liberate entering into an inheritance,
whose parts are wind and weather, sky WITH SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT SITTING
and prospect, men and animals, and all ON FENCES
vital enjoyment. The bicycle has some WALKING is fundamentally a matter advantages in point of speed, but it is of boots. Nay, friend, I do not mean a foe to observation. All carriages, top-boots, but boots in the sense of the whether propelled by horse or motor, English, who, being most perfectly destroy all feeling of achievement. The
very word 'mile' is a walker's word, gions) snakes. It is, indeed, provoca— mille passus - a thousand double
a thousand double- tive of idleness; it leads one to forget paces. So the Roman legions measured that the interlude is not the song; and their conquering advances; so the le he who sprawls may ultimately sleep. gion of pedestrians estimates its con- But the fence — and cursed be he quests of the day. “So many thousand who first conceived the hellish scheme buffets have mine own two feet given of substituting barbed wire for honest the resisting soil 'twixt sun and sun; rails! — the fence invites no such reso many thousand times have the good laxing pose. The feet on their supportmuscles of calf and thigh lent their elas- ing rail are still in contact with reality, tic force.' What has the dusty reader and it needs but a spring to be on the of figures on a dial to match with that? way again; while the seat, none too
Another element, of grave import- soft, gives perpetual reminder that the ance and unquestioned worth, is the stay must be transitory, and that wits privilege, nay, the imperative necessity, are not to slumber. To rest, and as he of sitting on a fence from time to time. rests descry, discern, and fill the menLiterature hints at this. Lewis Car- tal eye through the gateway of the roll’s ‘aged, aged man a-sitting on a physical
physical - that is his portion who sits gate' had, by the sunset of his days, upon the fence. I will not mention the at least, acquired this wisdom. Poor gain that comes from elevation, or even Keats owned to a hankering to ‘sit hint at the scenes which to have missed upon an Alp as on a throne' – al- were to have suffered loss, revealed to though the German school of critics, him who climbs even to this humble keenly sensing the discomfort which post of vantage. inevitably disqualifies a mountain pin- Only to those who will drink is the nacle for the scene of prolonged sessile water good; one does not describe bevrepose, suggests metathesis, and would erages to the thirsty: they would amend the reading to ‘sit upon an Alp rather taste. So to the uneasy loiterer as on a thorn’; adducing as collateral at home, to him who has found in gasoargument Keats's well-known admira- line only vanity and a striving after tion for the nightingale, and that bird's wind, to all who hunger for they know familiar practice of artificially stimu- not what diversion, I offer no guidelating the centres of voice-production books of the journey, seek to convey no by causing its breast to impinge upon
colors of the walker's paradise; enough a thorn or similar sharp object. Leav- to point the entrance of the way, and ing this delicate problem to the compe- give the password: 'Forward, march!' tent consideration of the wise, we may safely conclude that our first thesis is
THE VANISHING VILLAGE correct, and that to sit on a fence beside a road is of itself a satisfaction WANDERING along an oily road and an inspiration. For, be it posited there was no walk — in an attractive again, the walker walkš not to arrive, New York suburb, the other day, purbut to be in the world, to contemplate sued by chugging motor-cycles and the same, and to take sufficient leisure madly hopping this way and that at for the formation of his judgments. the honk of speeding automobiles, an To do this, he must sit. Sitting on a appalling thought struck me: is the grassy bank is not, indeed, barred, al- village, still so dear to New England, though to the unwary it brings perils becoming extinct? Will succeeding genof ants, rheumatism, and (in some re- erations know only as ancient history
its shady, sun-flecked 'green' with the Back of all this gloom lie the wellold white church, its library given by a kept homes of the commuters. “To bed loyal son, its memorial hall, its soldiers' with the owl and up with the rooster' monument and band-stand, the store is their motto; they have no time or on whose piazzas stories are swapped thought for anything outside the limits and trades consummated and village of their suburban bedroom. characters still linger? Are 'village im- The second phase in the evolution provement societies' to go the way of eliminates the centre altogether; there all grass, and is their annual house is no more 'up town' or 'down town'; cleaning no longer to summon the towns- neither is there anything in ‘common.' men to the common armed with hoe Auto-trucks from the city deliver the and rake, lawn-mower, and broom, and necessities of life; the cement paths run followed by their wives and daughters down from the front door to the car. bearing hot coffee and doughnuts; set- tracks and end as abruptly as the squirting, the whole village agog with the rels' trail at the foot of a tree; there are spirit; every worthy householder is- no neighborly cross-paths down which suing forth with a ball of knotted and one might run with — I had almost variegated twine and a paring-knife said, a shawl, but I meant an automoto straighten the grass-grown edge bile veil, about one's head, to get the of his walk, to a running accompani- recipe for hot-water gingerbread from ment of neighborly gossip?
Gran’ma Brown— the universal grandOn the common the civic spirit did its mother; or to beg 'Aunt Ellen' - aunt best — and worst? The ideas of beauty to all the babies in the town—to come might be crude, but the villagers gave
and see if the baby's cough is croupy. the best they had; they might, like Ah, no! The inhabitants stand aloof, beautiful Longmeadow, 'gothicize' as ignorant of their next-door neighbor their old church, they might put up a as a Harlemite, save that they know cast-iron monstrosity in memory of the his income also is restricted.' soldiers, and the green might break out There results only the cold comfort in an eruption of geometrical flower- of the 'model village' ordered en bloc beds of flaming geraniums and cannas; by some well-meaning philanthropist: a saloon might lurk behind an inno- Item: 1 civic centre, 1 clover green, cent front of peanuts and cigars, but 6 circles, golf-links, tennis-courts, 1 they lived according to their measure restaurant, 1 laundry, 1 school, 200 of light. The largest subscriber to the semi-detached two-family houses rentmonument set up cast-iron deer and ing at $55 a month, 200 semi-detached vases in his own yard, and his rival one-family houses at $75 a month, 50 swung a scarlet gypsy kettle in his. 13-foot-front houses at $35 a month, 50
Two phases of the park are already 17-foot-front houses'; and, oh, yes abundant: one transitional — wherein Item: 1 church, denomination to be a rudimentary "down town' still lin- specified later.' gers, but how fallen from its high es- And all laid out by a distinguished tate! a veritable poor relation, a Cin- landscape gardener, designed by an derella sitting in the ashes, a thing of equally distinguished architect, and shabby shops, of beer-saloons and pool- managed by a foundation' down to its rooms, of picture-postal booths and pea- humblest detail — the filling of the flownut-stands and flamboyant bill-boards! er-boxes, the emptying of the ash-can, A little circulating library lurks in a the ordering of the coal, the rolling of the dingy dwelling-house.
tennis-courts, and the making of laws.