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"I am extracting the humor from the “The daily paper does not always fulfil daily-paper book review," he explained. its mission, and then it is to laugh.
“The humor!" I repeated, mystified. The reviewer neglects a very necessary “You mean the tragedy."
preliminary to meritorious work: he fails “Well,” he conceded, "some of them to read enough of the book to find out are rather tragic for the man who wrote what it is all about. And it is my expethe book and who has a sort of sneaking rience that this happens more frequently idea that the whole world ought to know on the big dailies than on those in the what it's about; but it's the humor of the smaller cities and towns. He tries to thing that appeals to me just now.
cover this neglect by general comment and "Let's have the humor,” I urged. judgment of a know-it-all kind, and the
. “The last one that I saw made me rather result is sometimes amazing and certainly sad.”
amusing to the man with a sense of Ile became more serious for a moment. humor. It was a New York paper, I
"I don't want to be understood as at- believe, that spoke of Lady Baltimore as tacking the market value of the daily. the heroine of Owen Wister's story of that paper review,” he said, “or, in some name, the fact being that Lady Baltimore cases, the literary value. Certain papers is a cake and not a woman. Isn't that number among their contributors some of delightful ? Don't you think that Owen the most gifted and conscientious critics Wister himself ought to be able to scare in the country, but they are compara- up a laugh over that?” tively few. Still, even when a review is “Unquestionably," I conceded, laughwritten by the office-boy, it may do some ing myself. good. It is only occasionally that a reader “Then why should not I extract a little buys a book on the judgment of a re- humor from this?” my friend inquired, viewer, and this is especially true of nov- picking up one of several clippings that els. As a general thing, he buys a book, lay on his desk. “It is from an eastern whether praised or condemned, because daily of high rank, and relates to my what he has heard or read of it leads him latest book. As you may have gone over to think it is the kind of a story that he the book too hastily to enable you to likes. This, of course, has no reference appreciate all the beauties of this review, to those books that sell on an author's I'll give you the key to the humor after reputation, or that, because of timeliness reading it." or other favoring circumstances, create a I was about to protest that he did me momentary sensation. Aside from this, an injustice, but it occurred to me that the average reader merely wants to know this might lead him to withhold the exwhat the story is about, and this informa- planation, which would leave me in awktion can be given him by any one who has ward plight. So I said nothing, and he read it and can write a grammatical sen- read these extracts: tence. In giving this information the “A spirited story of American life, in daily papers help the readers and the which a great deal of the pretense, sham books, and I think it is largely due to them and downright dishonesty of our great that this is such a book-reading age. You government' is shown up in a light-anysee, it is much the same with books as with thing but pleasant. The plot has to do plays: that for which the talented and with a number of respectable Americans, thoughtful critics can find no possible whose
whose activities are hampered and excuse occasionally proves a big success, thwarted at every turn by the great trust while something in which they could see companies, monopolies and favored conreal merit goes to ignominious failure. It
cerns. Although a novel pure and simdepends upon the humor of the public at ple, the work is replete with sound facts. the time, and the public, taking it as a The plot is lively and bright to the end, whole, usually prefers a description to a being by all odds one of the most timely, criticism.”
interesting and thoroughly captivating “I quite understand that," I said im- novels of the year.” patiently, “but where does the laugh My friend looked at me, and I nodded come in?"
wisely. It was the only safe thing to do. "I'm coming to that,” he answered. "It is not a novel at all,” he said, “but
a book of short stories. Consequently, it “The fine skill of the author casts a has no plot. The government is men- glamour over his subject that captivates tioned incidentally in only one story, for the reader." which the imperfection of certain legisla- “The incidents are interesting enough tion helps to furnish a basis. A street in their way, but the book has only ordirailroad company that figures in one of nary literary merit.” the stories is the only possible basis for “The author has a shrewd understandthe reference to trust companies and ing of human nature. His characters are monopolies. Do you see the humor now?” drawn with a subtle comprehension of the
“Yes," I said; "it is very funny - strange and unaccountable workings of also tragic."
the human mind." “Well, it is sort of tragic to have a fel- “Nothing startling in the manner in low's work handled in that careless way,” which it is written.” he admitted. “If it were my first book, “Told with consummate skill." I would probably write a sarcastic letter “You see," he explained, looking up, to the editor of the paper. It certainly is "by coupling them I get the laugh, and humiliating to find that one's story is not by putting the nice one last I impress it even read by the man who is paid to read more strongly on my memory and am thus it, but it is possible to forget that in the able to keep in a fairly contented frame entertaining work of extracting the
extracting the of mind.” humor. Besides, you will find an anti- “It's a good idea," I admitted. "By dote for everything that hurts, and you your method, I could probably get some may console yourself with the reflection amusement from a review I saw just that the men who say the nice things are before I left home. It described a love just as likely to be right as the others. story of mine as having a groundwork When a review annoys me I always hunt of high finance.' And it didn't deal with for the reverse of that opinion, and I love among the 'four hundred,' either.” usually find it. Then I am able to laugh “There !" cried my friend delightedly. again. For instance, just before you “You're getting the right spirit. There's came in I had paired these from different another pleasant way to look at it, too." papers but all relating to the same book.' “What's that?" I asked
He read me the following “couplets," “Why, the man who sees a few conflicteach line being from a different review: ing opinions is likely to become desperate
“It is evident that the author lacks a erongh to buy the book himself, just to see sense of humor."
which is right. It's the nature of the “The story is capital and contains human animal to be curious, especially much real humor.”
when the views of others are puzzlingly at “Commonplace in the telling
variance about any certain thing. Will not add to the author's reputation. even the reviews that are most ridicu.
“No cleverer thing has been done be- lously unreliable have their value." tween covers this season."
“You are right," I said, “and here“Has the tone of an advertising after I shall be content to extract the pamphlet."
THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND
STATE IN FRANCE
ABBÉ FELIX KLEIN
AUTHOR OF " IN THE LAND OF THE STRENUOUS LIFE"
In September, 1905, THE WORLD TO-DAY published an article by Emile Combes, former Premier of France, setting forth the position of his government relative to the annulling of the Concordat. The separation of Church and State since that time has passed into a new stage and the situation has become more critical than ever. Abbé Felix Klein is one of the most influential members of the Roman clergy of France. In his present article he discusses the matter from the point of view of the broad-minded churchman. At the time of writing no decision as to the proper attitude of the Church to the “Associations Cultuelles" had been published by the Pope.
MERICANS must be taking a sincere interest in the welfare of A somewhat surprised at other religious bodies. the difficulties which
I. the Separation Law meets with in France Why the Church Objects to the Separation and especially at the If the separation had been established opposition of religious among us under the same liberal and just
men in general to the conditions as in the United States, it establishment of a régime which appears
would have met with nothing but symso natural and so in harmony with mod- pathy and approbation. Buth adverern thought, tolerance and liberty.
saries and friends of the Church were On this point and on many others, the alike equally tired of the Concordat; author of this article is in entire sympathy the former reproaching it with putting with the Americans, and he has been, the resources of the State at the service of and still is striving, to the best of his religion, the second of making religion ability, to bring his compatriots and subservient to a State which had become co-religionists to accept it, nay more, to more and more anti-Christian. Thereadopt it heartily, seeing in it a means to fore the State might have said to the the revival of religion in France.
Church: “Take back your property and the other hand, living as he does in the your liberty, respect the common law of midst of the innumerable difficulties cre- the country and expect nothing more ated by the changes introduced by the from me: neither reward nor opposition, new law, it is easier for him to under- neither favor nor hatred. I have nothing stand and explain, though without ap- more to do with you; I only recognize proving the resistance which it has free citizens, associating themselves toaroused. The subject is so vast a one, gether if they choose, and as they choose, that he will treat it only from a purely in order to practice their religion, just as Catholic point of view, being more com
others associate to cultivate science or art. petent to deal with it under that aspect. In that case, every one would have welThis does not, however, prevent him from comed the rupture of an ill-starred union, and the two contracting parties would quite incompatible with the spirit and have separated without violence or insult discipline of the Church. For my own on either side.
part, I do not believe that the evil is so But such has not been the case, and far-reaching, but stil it is the source of instead of allaying the strife, the Separa- the fundamental opposition which has tion Law has at first only aggravated the arisen, and which still exists, so much so, feeling of mutual hostility. And this dis- that seven months after the promulgation content can not be completely explained of the law, and only five before the delay by simply attributing it to the prejudice granted to the different religious bodies and narrowness of the members of the to conform to it has expired, the Catholic Reactionary party. True, they have group, which exceeds in number any done all they can to bring into relief the other (that being the religion of nineerrors and disadvantages of the law; at tenths of France) has so far made no the same time, these wrongs do exist; and attempt to enter into the new organizaif they are not enough to discourage the tion, and does not even yet know for cermore enlightened Christians, one may tain if it will submit to it. easily understand that they suffice to Thus, slighted by the State, which has exasperate others, and to furnish a serious taken no account either of her position or pretext to the so-called “Resistance." her discipline, the Church has again seen
The Church's first grievance is that she herself despoiled in a most odious manhas been entirely ignored by the State. ner. In 1790, the National Assembly and The Condordat was a bi-lateral contract, afterwards Napoleon, agreed in the name signed by the respective heads of the of France to grant salaries to all the French nation and of the Catholic ministers of religion as a compensation Church. This is a historic fact, and for the property which the Church had even if considered regrettable, still one relinquished under this express condition. was bound to take it into account. Now The State has now broken this solemn it happens that the stronger of the two engagement without offering any serious contracting parties has broken the com- compensation. It has not even left the pact, without any negotiations with the religious bodies the real ownership of feebler one, without even giving any the churches. It has only granted the notice of the rupture.
use of them on conditions fixed by Again, in establishing the new order of itself and at any time liable to be things, the Church's claims have been revoked. It has been decided that in entirely ignored: Whilst in America, the two years' time the government will law continually refers to the Church's take over the bishops' houses, and in five governing body, if there be one, and years the rectories and seminaries. recognizes the right of the bishops to But what will most surprise Americans themselves administer, if they choose, the (always so ready to respect the wishes of property of the diocese, in trust, in fee a benefactor) is, that the Church is simple, or as a corporation (as is the case robbed of all the property bequeathed to in Chicago) or again (as in the case of her by private individuals, with the New York) to act as trustees with the authorization of the State, for charitable vicar-general, je rector and two laymen and educational purposes. Nothing seems chosen by the three former, the French more closely connected with religion than law does not even name the bishops, and instruction and philanthropy, the aid it has created, without consulting them, given to orphans, to the poor and sick, quite an arbitrary system of "associa
associa- and in general, all that tends to elevate tions cultuelles," or local committees of the minds and console the material and worship, of which it fixes the number moral griefs of humanity.
The new of members and determines the rules French law has deprived the religious for their administration. It is this corporations of all the grants which they which has given rise to the objections had originally received for this noble urged against the associations cultuelles
They are obliged to hand them by Catholics, and to that appearance over themselves to lay establishments, and of schism which causes a great num- in the event of a refusal, the State will ber of them to declare the law to be make the transfer. But there is more
than this; in future they will not be by the Correctional Court, all of whose allowed to engage in these works of char- members are appointed by the governity, as their activity must be strictly con- ment! To understand the danger of such fined to the maintenance and exercise of clauses, it suffices us to remember that religious worship: it is for this reason divorce being now legalized in France, a they bear the restricted title of associa- penalty might easily be applied to any tions cultuelles, or corporations of wor- Catholic priest who should insist on the ship.
indissoluble character of the sacrament But will these corporations thus lim- of marriage. ited to the exercise of their religion, and And this idea of marriage will furnish despoiled of the greatest part of their us with the conclusion of the first part of former resources, be free in future to our study. The Concordat might in fact acquire any property and to administer be compared to a conjugal union in which it as they choose ? Certainly not; their the State represented the husband and property will be limited and will all have the Church the wife. To-day they are to be invested in government securities, separated; but the separation has simply which will thus be entirely under its con- consisted in the husband banishing the trol, With the exception of a reserve wife from the home, keeping all the forfund, exclusively destined to the support tune for himself and preventing her from and decoration of the Church, they can acquiring any other, in his managing the only possess property three times that of little income which he allows her to gain, their annual expenses, if these expenses and in exercising a jealous watch over all exceed $1,000, and six times that if less her words and actions. Such a separation than that sum. As if in justification of is no separation at all. this measure M. Briand, the reporter of
II. the Parliamentary Commission, alleged that the State of New York also limits the What is the Wise Policy for the Church? property of religious corporations, men- The American reader can now well tioning the sum of $12,000, whereas the understand all the protest and resistance limit is $300,000, which is a slight differ which the French Separation Law has ence! In order that they may not exceed evoked. He will also comprehend why we these narrow limits, the associations cul- have appealed to the liberal example of tuelles must give a regular account of the United States, and why our opponents their receipts and expenses to the officials have refused to attach any importance to of the financial departments of the State. such an example, being ready to say with If they are not found in accordance with M. Briand in his famous report: “Perthe law, the trustees are liable to punish- haps the Americans in their turn will ment by fine, and the tribunals can dis- know something of the clerical question solve the association. These regulations which they now regard, with a rather may be read in articles 21, 22 and 23. superficial disdain and with the confiFurther on, the articles 34, 35 and 36 dence of a young and partly inexinclude less astonishing clauses perienced nation, as occupying too large against the ministers of religion. One a place in the political pre-occupations of might think that after the separation, as the Old World.” In so speaking, he forthese no longer receive any advantage got that the English colonies in America from the State, they would be regarded knew and practiced religious intolerance as simple citizens, and as such subject to for more than a century, but that they ordinary tribunals. But it is quite other- abandoned these errors the moment they wise. For the crime of speaking against felt the need of concord in order to the magistrates or the laws in a church become a great nation. We Frenchmen they will incur special penalties of fine have need of the same union, not to and imprisonment, penalties for which become, but to remain, a great nation. the association will be held responsible, Imperfect as is our separation law even if the rector has acted without con- other religious bodies, both Protestants sulting it; and instead of being judged and Israelites, have at once submitted to by an ordinary jury, as other citizens are it. Many Catholics are violently opposed in similar cases, the priest will be judged to it, and the clamor of their resistance at