« PreviousContinue »
How was this Socialist victory possi- possible expression to their protest. They ble ? Was it, in fact, a Socialist vic- found the Socialists ploughing with the tory? In my letter of a year ago I Liberal heifer, cutting a much wider fursaid that the cry of “ Bread-usury” row, too, than the rightful owner, and so would be raised by the party, and its holding out the promise of exterminating speakers would everywhere attack the the weeds more speedily and effectively. new tariff law as designed to enhance the Hence, a vote for Socialist candidates price of the laboring man's necessary would be the heaviest body blow against food. Such, indeed, was the case ; the the Government that they could deliver; burden of the Socialists' speeches was and so they voted. That party was thus everywhere the tariff ; they and their the only one that came out of the elecenemies are agreed as to that. Apart tion with a marked accession of strength. from this they made some political capi- They gained twenty-one seats, raising tal out of their treatment by the courts their force in the Reichstag to eightyand the Government, the restrictions one members; and they would have one upon the liberties of the working popula- hundred and twenty-five if the districts tion in the matter of their organizations, were apportioned according to populaand the association of these for common tion. action; out of army conditions, mal The election then demonstrated anew treatment of privates, and the sentences and with overwhelming force that Soinflicted by military courts ; finally, out cialism is a great elementary movement of the Emperor's speeches against the in the life of the German people. What Socialists, which they regarded as an un will come out of it? Did June Sixteenth warrantable interference by the Crown register its high-water mark, or was it in the political controversies of the peo- the point at which the dike began to ple. All live, present-day matters, — crumble before the inrushing flood ? Can nothing anywhere about the Utopia of the rising tide be stemmed in time to the Socialists, a state with all industries save the State ? Where and how are nationalized and everybody made happy the resisting walls to be built? Such under a system of collectivism. Thus are the anxious questions that people betheir surprising success was hardly a gan to ask themselves last June. victory of Socialism, but rather of radical While this perturbed state of the pubLiberalism. Somebody has aptly char- lic mind was at its height an event ocacterized it by paraphrasing Disraeli's curred which partly relieved its tension. well-remembered bon mot : the Socialists The yearly convention of the Social Decaught the Liberals bathing and stole mocracy was held in Dresden in Septheir clothes.
tember, and presented such a repulsive Under this view the election affords a picture of dissension and distrust in the sort of bitter-sweet solace for the three party as to restore in a measure the little radical parties, which are being equanimity of over-anxious souls. The ground to powder between the upper Socialist leaders, the laurels of their June and nether millstones of the Reaction victory still fresh upon their brows, greetand Socialism. Indeed, it is recognized ed one another there with such ejaculaon all sides that the Socialist vote was tions as “lies!” “perfidy unparalleled !” swollen to its huge volume partly through One "comrade” was denounced as “deepthe assistance of electors who do not ly degraded morally;" and Herr Bebel, dream of adopting the creed of that party. the fiery Boanerges of the party, was Large numbers of citizens were deeply forced openly to admit,“ We were never disgusted with political conditions in the more divided than now.” Then, too, the Empire, and wanted to give the strongest stringency of party discipline, brought
out in the debates where it was shown As to the final issue of the Socialist that Socialist writers had to apply to the movement nobody at present can form National Committee for permission to an authoritative judgment; but condiprint articles in bourgeois newspapers, tions undoubtedly point to its ultimate was pointed to by the foes of Socialism
The party has now shown its as a tyranny that must ultimately grow ability to win support from the peasantintolerable and disrupt the party. ry; it has swept into its ranks vast num
However, while the Dresden Conven- bers of petty tradesmen and independent tion reassured some minds, it was a dis artisans. It is spreading among the tinct disappointment to others. Some smaller Government officials; and many progressive politicians and university pro- retired army officers, fretting over what fessors had hoped that the Socialists, in they regard as the premature terminaview of their accession of new followers tion of their careers, quietly embrace from various sections of the urban and Socialism. The crowded state of the rural population, would depart from their professions, too, makes for the spread of old policy of narrowly representing the that doctrine; and the Universities, with interests of the proletariat and put their their 37,000 students, are yearly swellmovement upon a broader basis. That ing the ranks of the discontented intelhope was dashed at Dresden. The Re- lectual proletariat which lightly takes to visionists were again voted down by Socialist views. A recent inquiry brought an overwhelming majority ; Bebel, who out the fact that thirty-one per cent of again proved himself the soul of the par- the physicians of Berlin have incomes of ty, swept the Convention away with his less than $750 from their practice and declaration of undying hostility to the
all other sources. Now, a man living existing order of society ; and his resolu- under these hard conditions is sure to tions, reiterating that the Socialist move think earnestly upon the social problem, ment is a class conflict, were emphatically and it is almost certain that he will think indorsed. Hermann Sudermann, always radically. Thus the crowded profesa pronounced Liberal, thus confessed his sions supply the material from which disappointment over the outcome at Dres- Socialism continually recruits its intelden : “Since the Dresden Convention lectual leaders. the middle-class bourgeoisie is without Moreover, the foes of Socialism have hope, without a future.”
apparently learned nothing from June The strife in the party as exhibited at Sixteenth, and continue to turn water Dresden was regarded in some quarters upon its wheels. In the Reichstag a Conas foreshadowing its speedy dissolution; servative leader suggested a law for the but the united front presented by it a disfranchisement of all Socialists professfew weeks later in the elections for the ing to be republicans and revolutionists. Prussian Diet demonstrated anew the The Chancellor, indeed, rejected the idea ability of the Socialists to bury their of special measures of repression, and antheoretical differences and go to work. nounced his intention to enforce existing The Revisionists, under the leadership laws against open attack, and to extend of Bernstein, continue to pound away at social reform legislation; but he thought it the Marxist groundwork of the party's necessary to give the following warning creed, and perhaps they will crumble it to Socialists : “ The State will defend itin time — after Bebel is gone ; but their self. Who is the State ? If you once faith in State collectivism remains intact, resort to action you will soon find out." and harmony at this cardinal point will In other words, the final argument is doubtless keep the party united and on a the sword. Also, the Chancellor's anwar footing for all practical tasks. nouncement that no Government official
who is a Socialist would be retained in the advance of Socialism have both tendthe service of the State will prove but a ed in the same direction, so far as their blow in the water; for a discreet silence influence upon the Government is concan be practiced by the official, as well cerned ; the latter, namely, has been as by the soldier. The latter is forbidden forced to ally itself more closely with the by the regulations to confess himself a Conservatives and the powerful CleriSocialist ; indeed, a perturbed Conserva- cals ; and these latter parties have grown tive leader reminded the Chancellor that more disposed to bury their differences the time was coming when the army
could of religious creed, in order to interpose no longer be relied upon to act unitedly a common front against the rising tide against that party in an emergency. of Socialism on the one hand, and intel.
The election has started a remarkable lectual freedom on the other. That the agitation in the four Liberal parties of spirit of the age must be resisted and the the Empire. The impotence of German principle of authority upheld are comLiberalism, through its unhappy divi mon articles of political faith with these sions, was never more apparent than parties; and they are known to cherish now; and the outcome of the elections designs against the common schools, as has forced it to serious questionings as well as against those bulwarks of Gerto its future. There is something ex many's intellectual liberty, the Universiceedingly pathetic in the disappointment ties. of many of the best minds of Germany, Threatened thus from right and left, like that of the late Professor Mommsen, the Liberals are beginning to ask themover the decline of Liberalism and the selves what they can do to bring their apathy of the masses. In answer to an principles again into favor. The idea editor who asked for an expression of his of reuniting their scattered fragments is views upon the result of the elections, the abroad in the land; the watchword of old historian wrote: “ To me it seems a Great Liberal Party has been sponthat the battle is definitively lost. taneously given out in many quarters; I am too old and weary to give expres even in the ranks of the National Libsion publicly in the press to absolute erals the idea of union has taken hold, and hopelessness.”
is fermenting vigorously. When, howDecimated by the advance of Social ever, the attempt is made to formulate ism, and weakened by their own fac a common creed for the new party, the tional quarrels, the Radical Liberals see enormous difficulties in the way of union their modicum of political influence slip- become painfully apparent. The Naping from them ; whereas the National tional Liberals, for example, are mostLiberal Party, the controller of the Em- ly high protectionists, being the party pire's destinies a generation ago, has of the great manufacturers; the radical more and more lost its Liberal principles, groups, on the other hand, are freeand succeeded in checking its numerical traders. On other important matters, decline only by meekly voting for the like appropriations for the army and measures of the Government. The three navy, the parties are equally at variance.
the Radical People's However, a modest beginning toward Party, the Radical Union, and the South reunion was made last autumn, when German People's Party were nearly as Pastor Naumann's little National Social strong as the Socialists in the old Reichs- Party was absorbed by the Radical tag; now they are not half so strong; Union. This move has deeply offended and even including the National Liberals Eugen Richter, the leader of the Radithey only slightly outnumber the Social- cal People's Party, who is a stiff Liberal ists. The weakening of Liberalism and of the old school, and who boasts that
he has not changed his opinions for for- hensive lest conditions in the army are ty years. Dr. Barth, the leader of the even worse than revealed by these senUnion, realizes that no party can make sational cases. It was but natural that headway in Germany which stands in this public concern should be reflected in the way of the national defense, and the recent Reichstag debates, and the which opposes social reform legislation; speakers of all parties except the Conwhile Richter, with his group, opposes all servatives tried a tilt at the army adminincreases of army and navy, and still oc- istration, which, of course, gave earnest cupies toward social reform the old stand- assurances that the evils complained of point of laisser-faire. Barth, too, enthu would be rooted out. siastically espouses the idea of reuniting It is interesting to note that literathe Liberals, while Richter regards this ture has already seized upon this new asas a visionary plan, and coldly says, pect of the army for treatment. Hitherto “ Perhaps a great Liberal party will be the officer had figured in fiction and on possible after some decades." All things the stage mainly as an agreeable social considered, therefore, it seems certain figure, irresistible to young maidens' that the Great Liberal Party will remain hearts; now the more tragical note is a pious wish.
caught. Baron von Schlicht has recentDr. Barth has also started a new move- ly printed nine novelettes under the colment in the radical groups in favor of lective title, Ein Ehrenwort, with the an alliance with the Social Democracy, following bill of fatalities : five officers and has argued his case with great force. resign under compulsion, five shoot themHis own party indorsed the idea in a selves, and one is killed in a duel. The modified form, and so did the South Ger- most widely read book of the year was man Radicals; but the Richter group will Beyerlein's Jena oder Sedan ? which none of it, and evidently the voters are casts doubt upon the efficiency of the averse to an alliance with the Socialists. army because of the spread of immoraliThe latter, on their part, have given the ty and luxury therein. It is significant, plan a cold reception; and apparently too, that active corps commanders are there is no encouragement for German writing in the magazines against luxury Liberalism in this direction.
in the army, and urging the return to the The army was, last year, again the sub- good old simple ways. Another book, ject of much discussion and much con- far less important as literature, but hardly cern. The country has been treated less sensational than the one just menwithin six months to one sensation after tioned, was Lieutenant Bilse's Aus einer another in the shape of military trials Kleinen Garnison. It would scarcely for the maltreatment of soldiers. On a have attracted any attention if it had not recent date a lieutenant was sentenced been made the basis of a court-martial for 698 instances of maltreating his men, for the author, at which the astonishing and a non-commissioned officer for 1520 fact was brought out that his realistic instances. These and numbers of other descriptions of moral decay in the social cases of the kind have made an exceed- life of a small garrison battalion were ingly unfavorable impression upon the largely photographic copies from real country; and the public mind is appre- life.
William C. Dreher.
THE RETURN OF THE GENTLEWOMAN.
It is true she has not wholly left us, have profited by the modern processes but her presence has grown rare, and at of life and learned how to defend hertimes she seems vanishing, as fringed self against evil days. gentians have a way of doing in favorite The fashion of this world passeth, meadows, where once there were blue and it was no doubt decreed from the bestretches of them, until a summer comes ginning that a number of things should when the most diligent searcher is only cease to exist, that there should be a passrewarded by a scattered half-dozen. ing of the spare room, of the front door
To-day every New England town pos- yard, of the polite art of letter-writing, sesses localities in whose still stately of the pleasant companionship of the mansions lived families spoken of as horse in drives through town and coun“ best.” These “ Best Families” hav- try, of that receptacle, once so essential ing diminished and faded away, their a part of a woman's dress, the convenient dwellings stand with closed blinds, or, pocket. The Gentlewoman is not a fashit may be, have developed into homes ion of this world. She is of that world for the aged, orphan asylums, schools,' that was and is and ever shall be. places where people lodge and board. But when she comes again, what will Here and there a house retains its origi- be the conditions ? Will she serve tea nal character, and its mistress goes se as of old in delicate heirloom china ? renely in and out. She is surrounded Will her pleasant rooms, hung with anby souvenirs of the past and the flowers cestral portraits, look into a well-kept of her garden, is much given to hospital garden, rose-planted, and shaded by anity and the reading of good books, uses cestral fruit trees ? Possibly, since the the most charming English we have ever title she bears implies wealth of years, heard, and has on all subjects views that and hence opportunities of inheriting are wise and witty and, withal, consider things having the charm of years. ate and charitable. In brief,
- a Gen- Still the immediate ancestors of the tlewoman.
Gentlewoman of the future are no longer But it is like the half-dozen fringed home-makers in the sense that their own gentians in the meadow. Only now and ancestors Many of them are then does one find her.
birds of passage, flitting from one point There is a descriptive word of dreary to another, collecting memories and eximport formerly applied with freedom to periences in greater numbers than housea Gentlewoman in such moments of ad. hold treasures or plants in gardens. versity as involved the loss of friends They board ; they live in apartments ; and fortune. In this sad situation one they spend six months here and six was apt to call her “decayed,” exactly months there; they give away their old as if one were speaking of a fallen house gowns and coats and hats, instead of or a ruined castle, instead of a sweet packing them in attic chests to be taken and gracious soul that would always be out half a century later for use in chagreater than anything that could happen rades and tableaux and private theatrito it.
cals. Or if too much occupied, or not Heaven be thanked, this word, in her sufficiently well-informed concerning the connection, is becoming obsolete and not need of their neighbors to distribute inlikely to be associated with her in the telligently of their abundance, societies future. The modern Gentlewoman will stand ready to do this for them, societies