Our Philadelphia/Chapter 13
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Philadelphia and Literature (Continued)
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CHAPTER XIII: PHILADELPHIA AND LITERATURE—CONTINUED
I HAD glimpses into other literary vistas, but mostly from a respectful and highly appreciative distance. How I wish I could recapture even as much as the shadow of the old rapturous awe with which any man or woman who had ever made a book inspired me!There was reason for awe when the man was Dr. Horace Howard Furness, the editor of Shakespeare, and if Philadelphia knew its duty better than to draw attention to so scholarly a performance by a Philadelphian, scholars out of Philadelphia, who were not hampered by Philadelphia conventions, hailed it as the best edition of Shakespeare there could be. I must always regret that in his case I succeeded in having no more than the glimpse. Most of my literary introductions came through my Uncle who, though he knew Dr. Furness, saw less and less of him as time went on, partly I think because of one of those small misunderstandings that are more unpardonable than the big offences—certainly they were to my Uncle. Dr. Furness' father, old Dr. Furness the Unitarian Minister, meeting him in the street one day, asked him gaily, but I have no doubt with genuine interest, how his fad, the school, was getting on. My Uncle, who could not stand having an
DR. FURNESS'S HOUSE, WEST WASHINGTON SQUARE
JUST BEFORE IT WAS PULLED DOWN
enterprise so serious to him treated lightly by others, retorted by asking Dr. Furness how his fad the pulpit was getting on. The result was coolness. The chances are that Dr. Furness never realized the enormity of which he had been guilty, but my Uncle could neither forget his jest nor forgive him and his family for it. And his heart was not softened until many years afterwards, when in far Florence he heard that Dr. Furness wished for his return to Philadelphia that he might vindicate his claim, in danger of being overlooked, as the first to have introduced the study of the Minor Arts into the Public Schools.
Mrs. Wister was another Philadelphia literary celebrity whose work had made her known to all America by name, the only way she was known to me. It was my loss, for they say she was more charming than her work. But to Philadelphia no charm of personality, no popularity of work, could shed lustre upon her name, which was her chief glory: literature was honoured when a Wister stooped to its practice. On her translations of German novels, Philadelphians of my generation were brought up. After Faith Gartney's Girlhood and Queechy and The Wide Wide World, no tales were considered so innocuous for the young, not yet provided with the mild and exemplary adventures of the tedious Elsie. Would the Old Mam'selle's Secret survive re-reading, I wonder? The favourites of yesterday have a way of turning into the bores of to-day. Not long ago I tried re-reading Scott whom in my youth I adored, but his once magnificent heroes had dwindled into puppets, their brilliant exploits into the empty bombast of Drury Lane and Wardour Street. If Scott cannot stand the test, what hope for the other old loves? I risk no more lost illusions.
From no less a distance I looked to Mrs. Rebecca Harding Davis who, with Mrs. Wister, helped to supply the country with fiction, in her case original, while her son, Richard Harding Davis, was on the sensational brink of his career. And again from a distance I looked to Frank Stockton, with no idea that he was a Philadelphia celebrity—very likely every other Philadelphian was as ignorant, but that is no excuse for me. I had not found him out as my fellow citizen when I saw much of him some years later in London, nor did I find it out until recently when, distrustful of my Philadelphia tendency to look the other way if Philadelphians are distinguishing themselves, I consulted the authorities to make sure how great or how small was my knowledge of Philadelphia literature. From all this it will be seen that in those remote days I was very much on the literary outside in Philadelphia, but with the luck there to run up against some of the giants.
Into the vista of the poets chance gave me one brief but more intimate glimpse. In a Germantown house—I am puzzled at this day to say whose—I was introduced one evening to Mrs. Florence Earle Coates and Dr. Francis Howard Williams, both already laurel-crowned, at a small gathering over which Walt Whitman presided. In his grey coat and soft shirt I remember he struck me as more dressed than the guests in their evening clothes, but I remember he also struck me as less at home in the worshipping parlour than in the bootblack's corner. The eloquence of his presence stands out in my memory vividly, though I have forgotten the name of the host or hostess to whom I am indebted for enjoying it, and I think it must have been then that I began to suspect there was more of a literary life in Philadelphia than I had imagined. I had no opportunity to get further than my suspicion, for it was very shortly after that J. and I undertook to carry out the plans we had been making on the old bench by the river in Bartram's Garden. Walt Whitman I never saw again, and of the group assembled about him nothing for many years.I came into closer contact with writers to whom literature and journalism were not merely a method of expression, but a means of livelihood. Philadelphia, with its magazines, as with so much else, had shown the way and other towns had lost no time in following and getting ahead. New York was in the magazine ascendant. The Century and Harper's had replaced Graham's and Godey's Lady's Book and Peterson's. But Lippincott's remained, and though the Editor, after his cruel letter of refusal, never deigned to notice me, it was some satisfaction to have been in actual correspondence with an author as distinguished as John Foster Kirk, the historian of Charles the Bold. When Our Continent was labouring to revive the old tradition of Philadelphia as a centre of publishers and periodicals, I got as far as the editorial office—very far indeed in my opinion—and there once or twice I saw Judge Tourgee, who had abandoned his reconstructive mission and judicial duties for an editorial post in Philadelphia, and who at the moment was more talked about than any American author, his Fool's Errand having given him the sort of fame that Looking Backward brought to Bellamy: ephemeral, but colossal while it lasted. Curiously, I recall nothing of the man himself—not his appearance, his manner, his talk. I think it must have been because, for me, he was overshadowed by his Art Editor, Miss Emily Sartain; my interest in him eclipsed by my admiration for her and my envy of a woman, so young and so handsome, who had attained to such an influential and responsible post. I thought if I ever should reach half way up so stupendous a height, I could die content. Louise Stockton, Frank Stockton's sister, and Helen Campbell were on the staff, in my eyes amazing women with regular weekly tasks and regular weekly salaries. I might argue for my comfort that there was greater liberty in being a free lance, but how wonderful to do work that an editor wanted every week, was willing to pay for every week!—wonderful to me, anyway, who had just had my first taste of earning an income, but not of earning it regularly and without fail. My Uncle wrote more than once for Tourgee; J. and I contributed those articles which were further excuses for our walks together: Judge Tourgee, to his own loss, thinking it a recommendation for a contributor to be a
THE GERMANTOWN ACADEMY
Philadelphian as he would not have thought had he known his Philadelphia better. Our Continent was too Philadelphian to be approved in Philadelphia or to be in demand out of it. One symbol of literary respectability the town had in Lippincott's, and one was as much as it could then support. Our Continent came to an end either just before or just after J. and I set out on our travels. There were other women in journalism who excited my envy. Mrs. Lucy Hooper's letters to the Evening Telegraph struck me as the last and finest word in foreign correspondence. I never, even upon closer acquaintance, lost my awe of Mrs. Sarah Hallowell who was intimately associated with the Ledger, or of Miss Julia Ewing, though her association with the same paper had nothing to do with its literary side.
Now and then I was stirred to the depths by my glimpse of writers from other parts of the world. It was only when a prophet was a home product that Philadelphia kept its eyes tight shut; when the prophet came from another town it opened them wide, and its arms wider than its eyes, and showed him what a strenuous business it was to be the victim of Philadelphia hospitality. It was rather pleased if the prophet happened to be a lord, or had a handle of some kind to his name, but an author would answer for want of something better, especially if he came from abroad. No Englishman on a lecture tour was allowed to pass by Philadelphia.
Immediately on his arrival, the distinguished visitor was appropriated by George W. Childs, who had undertaken to play in Philadelphia the part of the Lord Mayor in the City of London and do the town's official entertaining, and who was known far and wide for it—"he has entertained all the English who come over here," Matthew Arnold wrote home of him, and visitors of every other nationality could have written the same of their own people passing through Philadelphia. You would meet him in the late afternoon, fresh from the Ledger office, strolling up Chestnut Street of which he was another of the conspicuous figures—not because of any personal beauty, but because he did not believe in the Philadelphia practice of hiding one's light under a bushel, and had managed to make himself known by sight to every other man and woman in the street; just as old Richard Vaux was; or old "Aunt Ad" Thompson, everybody's aunt, in her brilliant finery, growing ever more brilliant with years; or that distinguished lawyer, Ben Brewster, "Burnt-faced Brewster," whose genius for the law made every one forget the terrible marks a fire in his childhood had left upon his face. Philadelphia would not have been Philadelphia without these familiar figures. Childs seldom appeared on Chestnut Street without Tony Drexel, straight from some big operation on the Stock Exchange, the two representing all that was most successful in the newspaper and banking world of Philadelphia: their friendship now commemorated in that new combination of names as familiar to the new and changing generation as Cadwallader-Biddle was to the old and changeless. Between them it was the exception when there was not an emperor, or a prince, or an author, or an actor, or some other variety of a distinguished visitor being put through his paces and shown life in Philadelphia, on the way to the house of one or the other and to the feast prepared in his honour. At the feast, if there was speaking to be done, it was invariably Wayne MacVeagh who did it. As I was not greatly in demand at public functions, I heard him but once—a memorable occasion which did not, however, impress me with the brilliance of his oratory.
Matthew Arnold, the latest distinguished visitor, was to lecture, and I had been looking forward to the evening with an ardour for which alas! I have lost the faculty. Literary celebrities were still novelties—more than that, divinities—in my eyes. Among them, Matthew Arnold held particularly high rank, one of the chief heroes of my worship, and many of my contemporaries worshipped with me. Youth was then, as always, acutely conscious of the burden of life, and we made our luxury of his pessimism. I could spout whole passages of his poems, whole poems when they were short, though now I could not probably get further than their titles. There had been a dinner first—there always was a dinner first in Philadelphia—and a Philadelphia dinner being no light matter, he arrived late. The delay would have done no harm had not Wayne MacVeagh, who presided, introduced him in a speech to which, once it was started, there seemed no end. It went on and on, the audience growing restless, with Matthew Arnold himself an object of pity, so obvious was his embarrassment. Few lecturers could have saved the situation, and Matthew Arnold would have been a dull one under the most favourable circumstances. I went away disillusioned, reconciled to meeting my heroes in their books. And I could understand when, years later, I read the letters he wrote home, why the tulip trees seemed to have as much to do as the people in making Philadelphia the most attractive city he had seen in America.Another distinguished visitor who lectured about this period came off more gaily:—Oscar Wilde, to whose lecture I had looked forward with no particular excitement, for I was young enough to feel only impatience with his pose. After listening to him, I had to admit that he was amusing. His affected dress, his deliberate posturings, his flamboyant phrases and slow lingering over them as if loth to let them go, made him an exhilarating contrast to Matthew Arnold, shocked as I was by a writer to whom literature was not always in dead earnest, nor to teach its goal, even though it was part of his pose to ape the teacher, the voice in the wilderness. And he was so refreshingly enthusiastic when off the platform, as I saw him afterwards in my Uncle's rooms. He let himself go without reserve as he recalled the impressions of his visit to Walt Whitman in Camden and his meeting with the cowboy in the West. To him, the cowboy was the most picturesque product of
THE THE STATE HOUSE FROM INDEPENDENCE SQUARE
America from whom he borrowed hat and cloak and appeared in them, an amazing spectacle. And I find in some prim, priggish, distressingly useless little notes I made at the time, that it was a perfect, a supreme moment when he talked to Walt Whitman who had been to him the master, at whose feet he had sat since he was a young lad, and who was as pure and earnest and noble and grand as he had hoped. That to Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde seemed "a great big splendid boy" is now matter of history.
I know that Philadelphia entertained Wilde, and so I fancy him staying with George W. Childs, dining with Tony Drexel, and being talked to after dinner by Wayne MacVeagh, though I cannot be sure, as Philadelphia, with singular lack of appreciation, included me in none of the entertaining. I saw him only in Horticultural Hall, where he lectured, and at my Uncle's. This was seeing him often enough to be confirmed in my conviction that literature might be a stimulating and emotional adventure.
Many interesting people of many varieties were to be met in my Uncle's rooms. I remember the George who, like Lowell and Poe of old, had come to Philadelphia for work: Lathrop rather embittered and disappointed, I thought; Mrs. Lathrop—Rose Hawthorne—a marvellous woman in my estimation, not because of her beautiful gold-red hair, nor her work, which I do not believe was of special importance, but as the daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne and therefore a link between me in my insignificance and the great of Brook Farm and Concord. I remember editors from New York, impressive creatures; and Members of Parliament, hangers-on of the literary world of London; and actresses, its lions, when in England:—Janauschek, heavily tragic off as on the stage, for whom my Uncle's admiration was less limited than mine; and Miss Genevieve Ward, playing in Forget-Me-Not, her one big success, for she failed in the popularity to repeat it that comes so easily to many less accomplished. How timidly I sat and listened, marvelling to find myself there, feeling like the humble who shall be exalted in the Bible, looking upon my Uncle's rooms as the literary threshold from which I was graciously permitted to watch the glorious company within.
I had gone no further than this first, tremulous ardent stage in my career when my Uncle deserted his memorable rooms never to return, and J. and I started on the journey that we thought might last a year—as long as the money held out, we had said, to the discomfort of the family who no doubt saw me promptly on their hands again—and that did not bring me back to Philadelphia for over a quarter of a century. Of literary events during my absence, somebody else must make the record.When I did go back after all those years, I was conscious that there must have been events for a record to be made of, or I could not have accounted for the change. Literature was now in the air. Local prophets were
"THE LITTLE STREET OF CLUBS," CAMAC STREET ABOVE SPRUCE STREET
acknowledged, if not by all Philadelphia, by little groups of satellites revolving round them. Literary lights had come from under the bushel and were shining in high places. Societies had been industriously multiplying for the encouragement of literature. All such encouragement in my time had devolved upon the Penn Club that patronized literature, among its other interests, and wrote about books in its monthly journal and invited their authors to its meetings. During my absence, not only had the Penn Club continued to flourish—to such good purpose that J. and I were honoured by one of these invitations and felt that never again could Fame and Fate bring us such a triumphant moment, except when the Academy of Fine Arts paid us the same honour and so upset our old belief that no Philadelphian could ever be a prophet in Philadelphia!—but Philadelphia had broken out into a multitude of Clubs and Societies, beginning with the Franklin Inn, for Franklin is not to be got away from even in Clubland, and his Inn, I am assured, is the most comprehensive literary centre to which every author, every artist, every editor, every publisher who thinks himself something belongs to the number of one hundred—that there should be the chance of one hundred with the right to think themselves something in Philadelphia is the wonder!—and in the house in Camac Street, which one Philadelphian I know calls "The Little Street of Clubs," the members meet for light lunch and much talk and, it may be, other rites of which I could speak only from hearsay, my sex disqualifying me from getting my knowledge of them at first hand. And there is a Business and Professional Club and a Poor Richard, bringing one back to Franklin again, in the same Little Street. And there are Browning Societies, and Shakespeare Societies, and Drama-Reforming Societies, and Pegasus Societies, and Societies for members to read their own works to each other; and more Societies than the parent Society discoursing in the woods along the Schuylkill could have dreamed of: with the Contemporary Club to assemble their variously divided ends and objects under one head, and to entertain literature as George W. Childs had entertained it, and, going further, to pay literature for being entertained, if literature expresses itself in the form of readings and lectures by those who practise it professionally. The change disconcerted me more than ever when I, Philadelphia born, was assured of a profitable welcome if I would speak to the Club on anything. The invitation was tentative and unofficial, but the Contemporary Club need be in no fear. It may make the invitation official if it will, and never a penny the poorer will it be for my presence: I am that now rare creature, a shy woman subject to stage fright. And I cannot help thinking that, despite the amiability to the native, the stranger, simply because he is a stranger, continues to have the preference, so many are the Englishmen and Englishwomen invited to deliver themselves before the Club who never could gather an audience at home.
DOWN SANSOM STREET FROM EIGHTH STREET
THE LOW HOUSES AT SEVENTH STREET HAVE SINCE BEEN TORN DOWN AND THE WESTERN END OF THE CURTIS BUILDING NOW OCCUPIES THEIR PLACE
And Philadelphia has recaptured the lead in the periodical publication that pays, and I found the Curtis Building the biggest sky-scraper in Philadelphia, towering above the quiet of Independence Square, a brick and marble and pseudo-classical monument to the Ladies' Home Journal and the Saturday Evening Post, and if in the race literature lags behind, what matter when merit is vouched for in solid dollars and cents? What matter, when the winds of heaven conspire with bricks and mortar to make the passer-by respect it? I am told that on a windy day no man can pass the building without a fight for it, and no woman without the help of stalwart policemen. In her own organ of fashion and feminine sentiment, she has raised up a power against which, even with the vote to back her, she could not prevail.
And Philadelphia is not content to have produced the first daily newspaper but is bent on making it as big as it can be made anywhere. If I preserved my morning paper for two or three days in my hotel bedroom, I fairly waded in newspapers. On Sundays if I carried upstairs only the Ledger and the North American, I was deep in a flood of Comic Supplements, and Photograph Supplements, and Sport Supplements, and every possible sort of Supplement that any other American newspaper in any other American town can boast of—all the sad stuff that nobody has time to look at but is what the newspaper editor is under the delusion that the public wants—in Philadelphia, one genuine Philadelphia touch added in the letters and gossip of "Peggy Shippen" and "Sally Wister," names with the double recommendation to Philadelphia of venerable age and unquestionable Philadelphia respectability.
And I found that the Philadelphia writer has increased in niuubers and in popularity, whether for better or worse I will not say. I have not the courage for the role of critic on my own hearth, knowing the penalty for too much honesty at home. Nor is there any reason why I should hesitate and bungle and make myself unpleasant enemies in doing indifferently what Philadelphia, in its new incarnation, does with so much grace. I have now but to name the Philadelphian's book in Philadelphia to be informed that it is monumental—but to mention the Philadelphia writer of verse to hear that he is a marvel—but to enquire for the Philadelphia writer of prose to be assured that he is a genius. There is not the weeest, most modest little Philadelphia goose that does not sail along valiantly in the Philadelphia procession of swans. The new pose is prettier than the old if scarcely more successful in preserving a sense of proportion, and it saves me from committing myself. I can state the facts that strike me, without prejudice, as the lawyers say.
One is that the last quarter of a century has interested the Philadelphia writer in Philadelphia as he had not been since the days of John Watson. Most Philadelphians owned a copy of Watson's Annals. I have one on my desk before me that belonged to J.'s Father, one must have been in my Grandfather's highly correct Philadelphia house, though I cannot recall it there, for a Philadelphian's duty was to buy Watson just as it was to take in Lippincott's, and Philadelphians never shirked their obligations. They probably would not have been able to say what was in Watson, or, if they could, would have shrugged their shoulders and dismissed him for a crank. But they would have owned the Annals, all the same. Then the Centennial shook them up and insisted on the value of Philadelphia's history, and Philadelphians were no longer in fashion if they did not feel, or affect, an interest in Philadelphia and its past. After the Centennial the few who began to write about it could rely upon the many to read about it.Once, the Philadelphian who was not ashamed to write stories made them out of the fashionable life of Philadelphia. Dr. Weir Mitchell inaugurated the new era, or the revolt, or the secession, or whatever name may be given it with the first historical novel of Philadelphia. It is fortunate, when I come to Hugh Wynne, that I have renounced criticism and all its pretences. As a Friend by marriage, if such a thing is possible, I cannot underestimate the danger. Only a Friend born a Friend is qualified to write the true Quaker novel, and I am told by this kind of Friend that Hugh Wynne is not free from misrepresentations, misconceptions and misunderstandings. This may be true—I breathe more freely for not being able to affirm or to deny it—but, as Henley used to say, there it is—the first romantic gold out of the mine Philadelphia history is for all who work it. Since these lines were written the news has reached me that never again will Dr. Mitchell work this or any other mine. I cannot imagine Philadelphia without him. When I last saw him, it seemed to me that no Philadelphian was more alive, more in love with life, better equipped to enjoy life in the way Philadelphia has fashioned it—the Philadelphia life in which his passing away must leave no less a gap than the disappearance of the State House or the Pennsylvania Hospital would leave in the Philadelphia streets. If Dr. Mitchell's digging brought up the romance of Philadelphia, Mr. Sydney George Fisher's has unearthed the facts, for Philadelphia was the root of the great growth of Pennsylvania which is the avowed subject of his history. And the men who helped to make this history have now their biographers at home, though hitherto the task of their biography had been left chiefly to anybody anywhere else who would accept the responsibility, and my Brother, Edward Robins, Secretary of the University of Pennsylvania, has written the life of Benjamin Franklin, without whom the University would not have been, at least would not have been what it is. And in so many different directions has the interest spread that my friend since Our Convent Days, Miss Agnes Repplier, has taken time from her
THE DOUBLE STAIRWAY IN THE PENNSYLVANIA HOSPITAL
studies in literature and from building a monument to her beloved Agrippina to write its story. When she sent me her book, I opened it with grave apprehensions. In the volumes she had published, humour was the chief charm, and how would humour help her to see Philadelphia? I need not have been uneasy. There is no true humour without tenderness. If she had her smile for the town we all love, as we all have, it was a tender smile, and I think no reader can close her book without wanting to know still more of Philadelphia than it was her special business in that place to tell them. And that no vein of the Philadelphia mine might be left unworked, Miss Anne Hollingsworth Wharton has busied herself to gather up old traditions and old reminiscences, dipping into old letters and diaries, opening wide Colonial doorways, resurrecting Colonial Dames, reshaping the old social and domestic life disdained by historians. The numerous editions into which her books have gone explain that she has not worked for her own edification alone, that Philadelphia, once it was willing to hear any talk about itself, could not hear too much. And after Miss Wharton have come Mr. Mather Lippincott and Mr. Eberlein to collect the old Colonial houses and their memories, followed by Mr. Herbert C. Wise and Mr. Beidleman to study their architecture: just in time if Philadelphia perseveres in its crime of moving out of the houses for the benefit of the Russian Jew and of mixing their memories with squalor. Of all the ways in which Philadelphia has changed, none is to me more remarkable than in this rekindling of interest out of which has sprung the new group of writers in its praise.
Nor were the Philadelphia poets idle during my absence. Dr. Mitchell had not before sung so freely in public, nor had he ranked, as I am told he did at the end, his verse higher than his medicine. Mrs. Coates' voice had not carried so far. Dr. Francis Howard Williams had not rhymed for Pageants in praise of Philadelphia. Mr. Harrison Morris had not joined the Philadelphia choir. Mr. Harvey M. Watts had not been heard in the land. I have it on good authority that yearly the Philadelphia poets meet and read their verses to each other, a custom of which I cannot speak from personal knowledge as I have no passport into the magic circle, and perhaps it is just as well for my peace of mind that I have not. Rumour declares that, on certain summer evenings, a suburban porch here or there is made as sweet with their singing as with the perfume of the roses and syringa in the garden, and I am content with the rumour for there is always the chance the music might not be so sweet if I heard it. I like to remember that the poets on their porch, whether their voices be sweet or harsh, descend in a direct line from the young men who wandered, discoursing of literature, along the Schuylkill. And Philadelphia's love of poetry is to be assured not only by its own singers but by its care, now as in the past, for the song of others. Horace Howard Furness, Jr., has taken over his father's task and, in so doing, will see that Philadelphia continues to be famous for the most complete edition of Shakespeare.
There had been equal activity during my absence among the story-tellers. Since Brockden Brown, not one had written so ambitious a tale as Hugh Wynne, not one had ever laughed so good-humouredly at Philadelphia as Thomas A. Janvier in his short stories of the Hutchinson Ports and Rittenhouse Smiths—what gaiety has gone out with his death! Not one had ever seen character with such truth as Owen Wister,—if only he could understand that as good material awaits him in Philadelphia as in Virginia and Wyoming. And John Luther Long is another of the story-tellers Philadelphia can claim though, like Mr. Wister, he shows a greater fancy for far-away lands or to wander among strange people at home.
There is no branch of literature that Philadelphia has not taken under its active protection. Who has contributed more learnedly to the records of the Inquisition than Henry Charles Lea, or to the chronicles of the law in the United States than Mr. Hampton L. Carson and Mr. Charles Burr, duly conscious as Philadelphia lawyers should be of the Philadelphian's legal responsibility? Who can compete in knowledge of the evolution of the playing card with Mrs. John King Van Rensselaer or rival her collection? Who ever thought of writing the history of autobiography before Mrs. Anna Robeson Burr? The time had but to come for an admirer to play the Boswell to Walt Whitman, and Mr. Traubel appeared. When Columbia wanted a Professor of Journalism, Philadelphia sent it Dr. Talcott Williams. When England seemed a comfortable shelter for research there was no need to be in a hurry about, Mr. Logan Pearsall Smith showed what could be done with an exhaustive study of Dr. Donne, though why he was not showing instead what could be done with the Loganian Library, where the chance to show it was his for the claiming, he alone can say. When such recondite subjects as Egyptian and Assyrian called for interpreters, Philadelphia was again on the spot with Mrs. Cornelius Stevenson and Dr. Morris Jastrow. And for authorities on the drama and history, it gives us Mr. Felix Schelling and Dr. McMaster,—but perhaps for me to attempt to complete the list would only be to make it incomplete. Here, too, I tread on dangerous ground. It may be cowardly, but it is safe to give the tribute of my recognition to all that is being accomplished by the University of Pennsylvania and its scholars—by Bryn Mawr College and its students—by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania—by other Colleges and learned bodies—by innumerable individuals—and not invite exposure by venturing into detail and upon comment. It is in these emergencies that the sense of my limitations comes to my help.At least I am not afraid to say that, on my return, I
CARPENTER'S HALL, BUILT 1771
fancied I found this side of Philadelphia life less a side apart, less isolated, more identified with the social side, and the social side, for its part, accepting the identification. The University and Bryn Mawr could not have played the same social part in the Philadelphia I remember. Perhaps I shall express what I mean more exactly if I say that, returning with fresh eyes, I saw Philadelphia ready and pleased, as I had not remembered it, to acknowledge openly talents and activities it once made believe to ignore or despise—to go further really and, having for the first time squarely faced its accomplishments, for the first time to blow its own trumpet. The new spirit is one I approve. I would not call all the work that comes out of Philadelphia monumental, as some Philadelphians do, or Philadelphia itself a modern Athens, or the hub of the literary universe, or any other absurd name. But I do think that in literature and learning it is now contributing, as it always has contributed, its fair share to the country, and that if Philadelphia does not say so, the rest of the country will not, for the rest of the country is still under the delusion that Philadelphia knows how to do nothing but sleep.