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The McGill 

Fortnightly Review 

An Independent Journal of Literature and Student Opinion 

Vol. II No. 2 PRICE 10 Cents Wednesday, November 17, 1926 



CONTENTS 



EDITORIAL 

The Oldest Song Leo Kennedy 

The Lively Arts Myth Leo Edel 

The Will to Live Philip Page 

The Wise Fool Philip Page 

Sonnet F. R. S. 



The Office of Governor-General of Canada 
R. de W. Mackay 



At Three Ages Philip Page 

Afterthoughts on the Russian Ballet G.H.S.C. 

XXX x 

The Moment and the Lamp A.J.M.Smilh 

Of Bookmen Leo Kennedy 

J azz Tea Greshamite 

BOOKS 



EDITORIAL 

A Labour Club within the walls of McGill Uni- 
versity! This sounds incredible, but it seems to be 
true. At least the correspondence columns of the 
McGill Daily have given light to some very well 
indited suggestions for the formation of such a club. 
And we are very glad that the club itself has now been 
organized. It it becomes permanent, it will be a living 
answer to the persistent accusation that at McGill 
there is no diversity of thought among the students, 
that they are content to remain submerged in the 
dullness of bourgeois complacency. 

As is pointed out, the idea of a Labour Club is not 
in the least original, nor shoul d it be even startling. 
Labour Clubs are commonplaces at most English 
universities and in many American universities. The 
Labour Club at Oxford is particularly well known, 
and we have all heard of the League for Industrial 
Democracy, which is an organization embracing 
laborite groups in a large number of colleges in the 
United States. In bestowing our blessing on the 
young organization, may we express a wish that, 
under the soothing spell of cigarette smoke and French 
pastry, it will never lose the youthfulness and acri- 
mony which it ought to possess. Even the great Ram- 
say MacDonald became unduly respectable. 

* * * * 

A T the corner of Sherbrooke and Union Avenue 
may be seen two magnificent specimens of what 
the sign-painter considers to be McGill’s ath- 
letic manhood. With faces in which Arrow-collar feat- 
ures struggle to support the strength of a Hercules 
and the determination of a Hannibal, they have just 
attempted to convert a touch in the manner ren- 
dered obsolete by this year’s foot-ball rules. One lies 
at a spendid full-length upon the scarce-trodden grass, 
his uniform unspotted, his hair neatly brushed. The 
other, his kick being finished, stands with one foot 



in the heavens as though beseeching the gods of foot- 
ball to grant him this last favour. The ball itself has 
disappeared into the sky, and the spell-bound ob- 
server, following the trajectory, finds himself gazing 
upon a large package of British Consols. 

Some prudish souls take umbrage at this McGill- 
Macdonald bill-boarding. Their ingratitude astounds 
us. The smoke of our ancestors is the basis of our 
culture; each cigarette carelessly lighted made possible 
our higher mathematics, each pipe-full of their tobac- 
co was a potential 20th century B.A. Are we to show 
ourselves ashamed of so airy, so ethereal a pedigree? 
No, a thousand times no. Rather would we suggest 
that our crest be placed upon each package of these 
wholesome aids to reflection, and that the space now 
devoted to golf or bridge scoring be adapted to the 
needs of the note-taking undergraduate. 

* * * * 

E ARLY in this term a certain amount of criticism 
was heard of the excessive prices which had to 
be paid for various textbooks. Whether or not 
such criticism was well founded, it suggests a plan 
that might soon be realized at McGill, namely the 
formation of a University book-shop. We are quite 
large enough now to make such a venture certain of 
financial stability, and its value to the students would 
be unquestionable. The standard texts could be kept 
in stock; second-hand books could be dealt with in 
a special department; the higher forms of current 
literature and latest authoritative works on academ- 
ic subjects might even be carried with profit. The 
shop would provide a stimulus to the formation of 
libraries amongst students; who knows what sums 
might not be deflected from such bottomless pits as 
the dance halls and the Pig? In time the accumula- 
tion of profits might be such as to warrant the forma- 
tion of a University press. When that happy day 
dawns, when we start giving out as well as taking in, 
McGill will have added to her stature in very truth. 



10 



The McGill Fortnightly Review 



M ANY students will learn with considerable satis- 
faction that the Red and White Revue of this 
year is to take the form of a musical comedy, 
the old form thus being tacitly recognized as not 
worthy of repetition. In last year’s production the 
hand was McGill’s hand, but the voice was too often 
the voice of Loew’s. With a musical comedy as the 
aim it should be possible to eliminate all the cheapness 
and nastiness which seem to be thought necessary 
in the skits of a revue. The writers who will compose 
this year’s libretto, however, will be, we suppose, 
very much the same as those who were responsible 
for the previous brand of humour and it will be in- 
teresting to see whether the change in the nature of 
the performance effects a corresponding change in 
its general tone. If no improvement results we shall 
be compelled to withdraw the statement once made 
in our columns to the effect that the Red and White 
Revue was not a true reflection of our University life. 

We sincerely wish Messrs. Little and Legate, who 
are in charge of the production, every success in their 
efforts to offer the public of Montreal something better 
than last year. 



# * * * 



W E would again invite from our readers literary 
contributions on any topic and in any form 
that they may care to choose. Manuscripts 
should be sent to The Managing Editor, McGill 
Fortnightly Review, 282 St. Antoine Street, Montreal. 
Tlnnsed articles will be returned. 



The Oldest Song 

BECAUSE ycur maiden kiss stirred old desire 
When banished memory fumbled at a door; 

The woman heart that seemed a lesser thing 
Called gravely on the wind from a far shore: 

I have come home Irom my dim wanderings 
With tattered sails upon an evening sea 
Seeking the solemn wisdoms we had thought 
Hovering beyond our hand, an hour away. 

I had lost mind in cloudy wastes of thought 
Finding philosophies old mockeries, 

Bruising your freshness on a stony place 

And then the fluttering of small white hands 

A scented sigh recalls forgotten things, 

Whispers: “Great dreams are but dreams after all 
Your stars are far, and years creep on apace; 

Grey dusts and silver moonlight cloud your eyes, 
And Love stands laughing on a little hill 
Plays once upon a reed and fleets away ” 

So am I come again to your still feet 
Finding rare wisdom in new happiness; 

Lady, with wide eyes and an old song: 

You do not know .... but you are Lyonesse. 

Leo Kennedy 



The Lively Arts Myth 

Leo Edel 

He sang to them about their own importance — 

The Music from Behind the Moon 

T WO years have elapsed since Mr. Gilbert Seldes, 
dramatic critic of T he Dial, wrote his provocative 
book The Seven Lively Arts. It is hardly likely 
that the work was a jeu d’esprit for Seldes appraised 
with Roman solemnity the arts which we had never 
treated seriously. This he did to follow consistently 
Pater’s text which he set before him at the outset: 

. But beside those great men there is a certain 
number of artists who have a distinct faculty of their 
own by which they convey to us a peculiar quality 
of pleasure which we cannot get elsewhere ; and 
these too have their place in general culture.” 

And so Mr. Seldes assumed the task of bringing to 
Charlie Chaplin, A1 Jolson, Krazy Kat, Irving Berlin, 
George Gershwin and George M. Cohan adequate 
name and authority. With the seriousness of a pedantic 
critic he dissected jazz and ragtime, vaudeville, 
burlesque, the circus, the comic strip and the moving 
pictures. His first premise, that the lively arts are a 
source of amusement, that they provide much fun 
and laughter, yes, and even sentimental tears, for 
millions, and are therefore useful, is almost granted 
matter. But Mr. Seldes’ great mistake lay in presum- 
ing that they are worthy of the same standards of 
criticism as the fine arts and should receive serious 
treatment, because they are arts, though admittedly 
lively ones. 

Out of The Seven Lively Arts has been born a myth — 
a legend which has competely enshrouded Mr. Seldes’ 
original ideas. As soon as it became apparent to the 
lively artists that their efforts were being treated 
with academic gravity they began to take themselves 
and their work seriously. Seldes thus involved himself 
in a complete paradox from which he can only extricate 
himself with difficulty. 

Mr. Paul Whiteman was, perhaps, the first to 
build upon Seldes’ foundations. With keen foresight 
he gathered about him a group of clever musicians 
and with all the skill at his command he presented 
his famous concert in New York, to which he appended 
the pretentious title of An Experiment in American 
Music. The concert is now history and remains a 
substantial link in the myth of the lively arts. The 
audience listened to a pompous little man who spoke 
with much deliberation of a type of music they had 
never considered with any seriousness, and they 
heard typical jazz music, perhaps more scrupulously 
scored than usual for the percussion instruments. 
Mr. George Gershwin had assisted Mr. Whiteman 
and had written what must be regarded as an occasion- 
al work, the Rhapsody in Blue. Here jazz stepped 
from its customary position into the classical frame- 
work of the rhapsody. But the clothes mattered 
little. It was still jazz. 

More recently Mr. Whiteman has published a 
book, Jazz, in which he re-iterates his belief that 
that type of music is a distinct American contribu- 
tion to world culture. He follows Seldes’ steps. But 
the situation has been altered somewhat. Jazzmusik 



The McGill Fortnightly Review 



11 



(the German word is so expressive!) which Seldes 
admitted to be “lowbrow” and delightful, has become 
to Whiteman a serious art. To him it stands on the 
pedestal of respectability. Therefore he treats it 

with respect. In the wake of this come the announce- 
ments of a concert to be given this winter in New York 
by George Gershwin. He is advertised as a great 
exponent of modern music. Stravinsky, Prokofieff, 
Milhaud are forgotten. Gershwin it will be remembered, 
pleased with his successful rhapsody later wrote a 
Concerto in F which again was jazz at its best behav- 
iour. 

I have dealt with the lively art of jazz in particular 
because the tendency which prompted the exaltation 
of this type of music has not been so noticeable in 
the case of the other lively arts, except perhaps in 
the moving pictures. Charlie Chaplin, the slapstick 
artist, the man who, though vulgar in many ways 
reveals flashes of a brilliant comic genius, has tried 
to bring his work to a higher level. He has yet to 
realize the danger of this, for an art that is admittedly 
“lowbrow” cannot be placed beside “highbrow” arts 
and satisfy its public. 

And so Mr. Seldes’ original thesis has become a 
myth and has been mutilated. It will be remembered 
that Seldes himself went to extremes. In his book 
we find that “80 per cent of the music heard at the 
Metropolitan is trivial in comparison with good jazz.” 
Here lies the cream of the jest for Seldes, who so vehe- 
mently denounced the buncombe of the fine arts 
and pink teas, who protested against the rhapsodies 
of delight gurgled by plump matrons over tea cups 
amid the plashing of sugar lumps when they discuss 
art, has himself become the subject of their discussion. 

In the room the women come and go 

Talking of Michelangelo. 

It is obvious that Michelangelo made no effort to 
reach this position. He wrought his works, and their ex- 
quisite beauty, together with the fact that he eventually 
came down to the masses, led to his sacrifice on the 
altar of the tea table. Not so with Mr. Seldes. He 
screamed his defence of the lively arts from the house- 
tops and so is now a martyr on the very shrine he 
criticized. 

The fallacy thus lies in the original and most danger- 
ous step which Mr. Seldes took. He treated the lively 
arts with unmerited seriousness, and now lies entangl- 
ed in a myth which has been spun thickly about him. 
And should he cut one thread the whole structure 
will come tumbling down about him. 



The Will to Live 



I’D like to take the cool clear road 
A bullet tunnels through the brain 
And throw aside a body’s load 
Of tiredness and pain, 

But that the trifling circumstance 
Would only give, I know by God, 

Nice people one more splendid chance 
To say: we always thought him odd. 

Philip Page 



The Wise Fool 



I WOULD not be a noble knight and go on errantry, 

Albeit of renown in all the world for gallantry, 

For petticoats and pretty ways were never to my mind, 

And how among those noble dames good comrades 
should I find. 

Being a fool, I sit on a knoll afar from serious folk 

Telling my soul to a jolly star, laughing at that great 
joke 

God made when he filled the world so round with 
priest and sage and lover, 

The joke that only the fool has found, though children 
might discover. 

I would not pray like a holy man before the chapel 
door, 

Or take me on the cowl to preach Christ’s gospel to 
the poor, 

And be hanged on a gallows tree like the crazy clerk 
John Ball, 

With lean legs dangling through void space over the 
city wall. 

I think the world’s the madhouse of this universe 
of yours; 

Thither folk crazed past curing come from the popu- 
lous stars: 

Some few there be who pass the gate with mind of 
saner vision, 

But such few wear the habit of the fool and find deri- 
sion. 



Least would I leave the faery ways to cast aside my 
youth, 

Seeking among the learned ones the Jack o’ Lantern 
Truth, 

Until with age the back is bent, until the eyes go 
blind, 

And there is hunger in the heart and darkness m the 



So will I take my cap and bells in yellow cloth and 
green 

Aloof among the flatterers before the king and queen: 
Comrades there be for younger men, and hemp cord 



for the holy, 
And spectacles for 
folly. 



learned ones, but I will keep my 
Philip Page 



Sonnet 

(Written on a May morning) 

I DO not know what I shall wear today, 
For I have stood long hours before the glass 
Snaring the little frisky thoughts that pass 
Over my mind’s hillsides, like hares at play, 
And following, as each became my prey, 
The tiny gleams of laughter and surprise 
Reflected in my strange, familiar eyes. . 

I do not know what I shall wear today. 



Why not bare arms and legs that gleam in the sun, 
A fillet of leaves in my hair, flowers in masses 
Of startling hues on my body, grass on my feet? 

By all the old gods of Christendom 
I think this would be good for the upper classes 
Whom one meets on Sunday morning on Sherbrooke 

iStreet. 
F. R. S' 



12 



The McGill Fortnightly Review 



The Office of Governor- General 
of Canada 

R. de W. Mackay 

O NE of the most puzzling problems of present 
day politics in Canada is the determination 
of the exact position which the Governor- 
General holds in the Government of the Dominion. 
Owing, perhaps, to a curious oversight on the part 
of the “Fathers of Confederation,” or perhaps to 
the circumstances at the time of Confederation, the 
Governor-General’s position is not defined at all in 
the B.N.A. Act. He has been delegated a few powers 
and prerogatives; but who he is, or what his author- 
ity is, are questions left unanswered in our Consti- 
tution. Or perhaps the Fathers of Confederation 
implied or tacitly assumed that the then existing 
Governor-General of the two Canadas would continue 
to administer the Government of the newly created 
Canada. Or in other words they looked upon the 
whole confederation not as a union but rather as an 
annexation of the Maritimes, and subsequently the 
Western Provinces, to the Canada of that day. It 
may be, too, that, even now, this tacit assumption 
of the delegates at the Quebec conference may have 
some bearing on the problem of Maritime rights in 
the east, and on the claims of the Progressives in the 
west of Canada. 

So vague and indefinite, indeed, is the position of 
the Governor-General, that it is difficult to discover 
when the term Governor-General was first applied 
to the governor of a colony. While the term Governor- 
General seems to have been in common use in British 
North America since 1763, the first time when this 
term could be correctly used in a truly official sense 
was after the Act of Union of the Two Canadas in 
1840. In any case it is the office of Governor-General 
of Upper and Lower Canada created by this Act 
which still survives as the office of Governor-General 
of the larger Canada created by the B.N.A. Act, 
1867. 

Indeed the whole British Constitution is a strangely 
mystical sort of thing, so much so that a great 
statesman has been led to say “Elle n’ existe pas.” 
But Talleyrand was not right. Our Constitution does 
exist, partly written; partly unwritten: “it finds its 
beginnings in the lore of the past, it comes into being 
in the form of customs and traditions, it is founded 
upon common law; it is made up of precedents, of 
Magna Chartas, of petitions and bills of rights; it 
is to be found partly in statutes and partly in the 
usages and practices of Parliament itself.” And 
though our Canadian Constitution has embodied 
many of these customs and conventions in statutory 
expression, it remains still so largely dependent upon 
conventions, is expressed so scantily in written form, 
that it is peculiarly susceptible to changes. 

And so from the mists of the past has been handed 
down to us the indefinite term prerogative. In its 
primary sense prerogative meant all those rights 
and powers vested in the person of the ruling monarch, 
and which he exercised wholly at his own discretion, 
without being required to consult his chief advisers. 
This, for example, was the prerogative power as it 
existed under William the Norman. The whole of 
British constitutional history, however, since the time 



of William has been a development by which these 
powers have gradually been taken away from the 
ruling monarch, now by charter, now by statute, 
now by custom, and finally by concensus of opinion, 
until what was then an absolute monarchy has now 
become a limited monarchy and the prerogative has 
taken on an entirely new meaning and has become 
in the words of Blackstone, “the discretionary au- 
thority of the executive,” that is, of the King-in- 
Council. Since too the King now absents himself 
from all Cabinet meetings, his absence deprives him 
of a voice in the determination of the policy pursued, 
his ministers are held responsible for every act of 
the Crown, and the command of the Crown is no 
excuse for mistakes. This is the real meaning of the 
maxim, “The King can do no wrong”. In other words, 
it is the ministry and not the Crown itself that is 
responsible for the exercise of the prerogative. The 
King summons, prorogues and dissolves Parliament, 
but for each of these acts which he does in his official 
capacity some one is responsible. To such an extent 
is this theory now carried, that Lord Aberdeen has 
said that no doubt the Sovereign has the right to 
refuse a dissolution on her own responsibility, but 
he points out also that if her ministers asked for dis- 
solution as an alternative to resignation, her refusal 
would be tantamount to a dismissal, and their suc- 
cessors in the ministry would be responsible and have 
to defend her actions in Parliament. Apparently 
this was the attitude of the Canadian people at the 
recent election, as they seem to have held Mr. Mei- 
ghen largely responsible for the Governor-General 
having refused Mr. King a dissolution. Notwith- 
standing these limitations, however, the Crown is 
entitled to interest itself in all matters of public in- 
terest and ask for information on any subject, and 
the King’s ministers, conversely, are also entitled 
to his fullest confidence and that he should not take 
advice from others, unknown to them, nor act with- 
out their advice, nor refuse them his support. 

It may, however, at this point be of some interest 
to enquire more carefully and exactly into the nature 
of the office of Governor-General of Canada. The 
Governor-General is appointed by the Sovereign 
on the advice of the Secretary of State for the Col- 
onies, and after consultation with the Government 
of the Dominion. The office is constituted by letters 
patent under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom, 
and the appointment of the individual Governor- 
General is made by commission under the sign man- 
ual and signet, and is accompanied by Royal In- 
structions. It is obvious, then, that the Governor- 
General is by fiction of law the person of the King 
in Canada and can only perform those duties and 
prerogatives which the King himself would exercise 
if present in person, at Ottawa. He holds, therefore, 
in all respects the same position in Canada as the 
King does in Great Britain, and certainly could not 
exercise powers to which the King is not entitled. 
He has, in Canada, a ministry as capable of advising 
him as has the King in Great Britain, and is there- 
fore bound by their advice. So, too, the Governor- 
General is entitled to take a close interest in politi- 
cal events and is entitled to the fullest confidence of his 
ministers, to be informed of any important decisions 
taken by his Cabinet and to discuss business with 
the utmost freedom. He can point out objections, 
give advice, deprecate measures, secure important 
alternatives, but always at the price of remainirg 



The McGill Fortnightly Review 



13 



behind the scenes. Indeed, placed by his office above 
the strife of parties holding office by a tenure less 
precarious than the ministers who surround him — 
having no political interest to serve but that of the 
community, whose affairs he is appointed to adminis- 
te r 7~his opinion cannot fail, when all cause for sus- 
picion and jealousy is removed, to have great weight, 
while he is at liberty to constitute himself in an es- 
pecial manner the patron of those larger and higher 
interests — such interests, for example, as those of 
education, of moral and material progress in all its 
branches — which, unlike the contests of party, unite 
instead of divide the members of the body politic. 
Officially received into Canada by the booming of 
guns, the clamour of bells, brilliant decorations and 
the acclaim of a tremendous crowd, the social side 
of his régime cannot be other than popular, if car- 
ried out in a dignified and unostentatious manner. 
By his informal receptions and addresses he brings 
himself and his office in close contact with the people, 
at the same time acquiring a wide and deep knowledge 
of the country, and realising with sympathetic un- 
derstanding the ideals and aspirations of the people 
he has come to rule. 

The Governor-General who interests himself in 
Canadian affairs and wins the approval of the people 
can afford to interest himself also in politics. But 
his influence can only at best be that of suasion, sym- 
pathy or moderation. He has always some vestige 
of prerogative power. In no case is he absolutely a 
figure-head with only nominal power, since nothing 
is absolutely fixed in the British Constitution and 
new powers crop up to cope with each new circum- 
stance. So under some special conditions the Governor- 
General may have a discretionary prerogative. As 
a general rule, the discretionary prerogative of the 
Governor-General as to dissolution of Parliament 
has been placed unreservedly at the disposal of the 
Government, but under special circumstances he 
may have the right to refuse dissolution. Whether 
the circumstances of the last election warranted the 
Governor-General’s action is a question not of con- 
stitutionality but of fact, and though he may now 
be declared in the right he may tomorrow be ex- 
post facto declared to be wrong. Indeed this paradox 
seems to be inherent in every office under the British 
Constitution. The question of dissolution always, 
from the nature of the case, presents the Governor- 
General with a possibility of differing from his minis- 
ters with success, since one party holds the govern- 
ment but is pressed by the other to appeal to the 
people. The Governor-General has, therefore, a 
difficult task, not merely in deciding to accept minis- 
terial advice but in declining to accept it. If he acts 
on their advice he may easily find himself quite as 
unpopular as if he had refused to do so, and indeed 
the Governor-General is expected to do what is best 
for the country, a course by no means normally at 
all simple or easy. Though Queen Victoria was not 
of the opinion that the prerogative of dissolution 
rested on ministerial advice, she issued a most power- 
ful dictum condemning its frequent use. “The power 
of dissolving Parliament is,” she declared, “a most 
valuable and powerful instrument in the hands of 
the Crown, but one which ought not to be used with- 
out advice except in extreme cases and with a cer- 
tainty of success. To use this instrument and be 
defeated is a thing most lowering to the Crown and 
hurtful to the country.” Now whether Lord Byng 



has either exceeded his powers or has used his leg- 
itimate powers “in an extreme case and with a cer- 
tainty of success” is an alternative that can only 
be decided by the future, for though it would seem 
that the Governor-General who has just retired has 
been condemned for his actions by the recent elec- 
tions yet he may in future time be declared to have 
acted in the best interests of Canada. And, in any 
case, his bilateral responsibilities must be recognised, 
and he must be given all due credit for his attempt 
to reconcile the faithful discharge of his responsibil- 
ities both to the Imperial Government and to the 
Dominion Government, a duty by no means easy 
at this critical stage in the evolution of the British 
Empire. 



At Three Ages 

1 

WHEN I was six years old or so, 

I can remember in the night 
Dust on the moonbeams to and fro 
And the floor shining white. 

The floor was shining white and bare, 
Tiptoe across the boards I strayed: ’ 

The eye of God was everywhere, 

And I was terribly afraid. 

I did not know that God was dead 
And could not spoil the faery play: 

So I crept frightened back to bed, 

And shivered where I lay. 

2 

At twenty I was not afraid: 

I thought it singularly odd 
That men by women undismayed 
Could still be terrified of God. 

Now when I see a steeple 
Under a Sunday sky, 

I envy homely people 

For the faith that they live by; 

For buried in the heart beneath 
The carrion of the years, 

Are still the ancient sorceries, 

Occult and savage fears. 

3 

Should I then grudge, now nearly forty, 
Those who are not yet short of breath 
The strange immense vitality 
Which makes them unafraid of death? 

I like their blasphemies; I like 

Them best the ones who preach sedition, 

Threaten to call a Cosmic Strike, 

And go with Satan to perdition. 

Callow it may be, but not drear, 

Nor drab and desolate and dirty 
At twenty, though it does seem queer 
To one well over five and thirty. 

Philip Page 



14 



The McGill Fortnightly Review 



Afterthoughts on the Russian Ballet 
G. H. S. C. 



East and West meet in the Russian Ballet. Display, 
brilliance, sensuousness, with unity and simplicity 
of design make it unique. It is the imagination of the 
East rendered intelligible to Western eyes. 

It is this love of bright colours, its delight in the 
stuff of which the world is made, which give the ballet 
its appeal in an age where the means have been con- 
fused with the end and too much use made of things 
for them to be enjoyed. 

The emasculation of our imaginations is painfully 
apparent in what has been described as our eye and 
ear entertainments. Ziegfeld discovering to the twen- 
tieth century the charm of perfect physique and seeking 
to interpret that single idea by mass production. Nor 
are our other producers in any better case. To see 
one revue is to see them all. And though entertainment 
we must have and these spectacles must be regarded 
as achieving a certain success their shortlived exist- 
ences betray their banality. It is interesting to note 
that where there has been some return to first prin- 
ciples, as for example in Chu Chin Chow where colour 
and design were employed to make what was really 
a simplified Russian Ballet, there was an immediate 
and unprecedented success. This particular piece 
ran for five years. 

The implications of the ballet go to the roots ol 
our conception of Art and therefore of life. Music is 
usually regarded as the prototype of the Arts, as the 
Arts, as the only pure Art form both in content and 
manner. It expresses experience completely in its 
own terms — knows nothing of other modes — and 
derives its form from its own inner necessities. 

Form and colour are to the eye what music is to 
the ear. The simplest expression of an art based on 
these would be an arrangement of colours depending 
on their relationship and interdependence for their 
effect. Two considerations render this conception 
insufficient. One is that our ideas of form are complete- 
lv and inevitably associated with a visible everyday 
world. Form in the abstract though conceivable has 
little or no appeal. The Cubists have ultimately had 
to relate their abstract conceptions of mass and light 
to accepted representations. And this consideration 
applies equally to colour as colour alone. 

The second point is that such a conception only 
permits of one unchanging combination. Music allows 
of a continuity of expression, of rhythm. To arrest 
the combination of colours mentioned and achieve 
a fixed form would be to eliminate this possibility. 

The ballet is free of both these limitations; it employs 
recognisable and known forms and gives them that 
movement which is life. 

From this it is but a step to the plastic expression 
of emotion — to the drama without words. And it is 
here that the reason for borrowing from music — another 
art form- becomes apparent. Music gives substance 
and intimacy to the emotions depicted, otherwise 
void of warmth. 

Shortly the ballet is the dance. The oldest and most 
fundamental of human expressions — the relief through 
re-creation in movement of our sense of living. And 



the dance reflects in its form the synthesis implied 
by this sense. 

The mixed nature of its artistic form relates the 
ballet to such forms of expression as the opera and 
the cinema. 

The opera has long been in an impasse and is from 
its nature incapable of further advance. Its primary 
difficulty is to show the development of situation 
through such a highly conventional medium as singing. 
And this it has been unable to do. Only when a situa- 
tion is known and appreciated can it be celebrated 
in a song. Opera has consequently become a series 
of climaxes joined by the simplest and most obvious 
of connections. 

Neither the ballet nor the cinema are faced with 
this incompatibility in their elements. Both are fund- 
amental in idea. In neither case have their possibilities 
been fully grasped. They are both arts of the future. 

The development of colour photography and of 
the reproduction of natural sounds will place the cin- 
ema in an intermediate position between the drama 
and the novel. Borrowing from each, and tending 
with its superior power of representing everyday life 
to supplant the former. Analysis of situation and in- 
tellectual pleasure will still be left to the novel but 
almost everything now presented by the popular cir- 
culating library would be more enjoyably expressed 
by the moving pictures. 

The appeal of the ballet is more purely aesthetic. 
But beauty is the more vital need today. And when 
interpretative dancing comes in to its own we may 
hope to regain something of the worth of the world — 
of its first rapture. 



XXX 

IS a tree kinder 
Than a doormat 
With frayed edges? 

Kinder than the little worn corners 
Trodden all to pieces? 

Kinder than the black marks 
Where the boots rubbed? 

I have seen housemaids beating doormats, 

Ugly old housemaids with red hands: 

Housemaids do not beat trees. 

Neither do dogs sleep in trees. 

But I have seen dogs sleeping on doormats, 

Big dogs, puppy dogs and warm black spaniels, 
And when flies come 
They snap at them. 

Trees have only birds, and insects, and crawly things. 
There is no vulgarity in these. 

Only poetry, and evolution, and innumerable legs. 

But in doormats there is much 

Vulgarity 

Humanity 

Futility 

Dust, bootmarks, and sunlight. 



X. 



The McGill Fortnightly Review 



15 



The Moment and the Lamp 

THERE is a beacon on a mountain top 
That in a certain instant flings a flame 
Across a public sky that might have been 
But roof and walls of divers human hearts 
Had not it been the lining of a brain. 

You ask what signal in the changing star? 

The meaning of the palpitating flame? 

Ah, were there wizards in the gaping throng 
Or dapper alchemists about the place 
There might be comprehension in the sky. 

But as it is, it is enough to know 
That in the flicker of a candle flame 
We could, were any skilled enough to read, 

And having read, were bold enough to speak, 
Fathom the dido of the universal flux, 

Matching the moment and the momentary lamp. 

A. J. M. Smith 



Of Bookmen 

Leo Kennedy 

T HERE is a saying once current in Babylon, that 
you may judge a Bookman by the back of his 
neck. For that matter you may judge all that 
walk in the world by their necks. Such an one hath 
a red bulging over white linen — he is a successful stock- 
broker or a commissionaire. Such an one hath a fair 
nape, smooth and scented — he is an invoice clerk or 
gentleman of the dance. But do you meet that worthy 
upon whose neck place a lawn mower might run to 
advantage — then is it a good hour to sing Golier, or 
Fal-la-la, or some psalm that you know, for you have 
come to the glad end of all reason, to that strange 
specimen the Bookman. 

If one is an adept at that novel business the Black 
Bottom; if one can sing Gilbert and Sullivan to an 
accompaniment; if one can do things with hats and 
cards and rabbits, or render sounds upon a harpsi- 
chord most sentimental — it is good. And if one take 
these accomplishments to the doors of the rich, there 
will be smiles of grave pleasure and possibly cham- 
pagne. But does one have store of bookishness in head 
and a furze upon the neck, then will the kings and 
lords of that place attend open-mouthed and take 
one’s reprimand or nod of approval with grateful 
meekness. 

This appeal is but to the lewd facet of the Book- 
man’s character; his prowess as a king-chider is small 
beer to his delight in the work of his choice. The 
reading of some book is work to him, for he will weigh 
and measure and compare. He invariably writes a 
review of it in his head. Then he will go with his hat 
on anyway to another Bookman; they will get very 
hot and flustered and call each other fakir, swine, or 
poetaster because of this book. They are both very 
happy thus, and admire each, each very much. 

So it was always, and the world was a good place. 
But latterly I have hear tell of some Bookmen with 
shaven napes. It is all very strange 



Jazz Tea 

Greshamite 

In the days when, for my sins, I studied Economic 
History I was informed by a now forgotten professor 
that bad money drives out good. Gresham’s law 
always seemed rather silly to me; in my own experience 
nothing but debts come to replace the good money 
which evaporates so easily. But in other realms the 
law is unfortunately only too accurate, particularly 
in the realm of institutions. One by one the good 
ones go, one by one they alter for the worse, succumb- 
ing to the vulgarity, the ‘mob-ness’, the efficiency of 
our unlovely age. At McGill the smokers have become 
pep-rallies, the cheering crowds have become rooters, 
the rattle-shakers have become a band. The last 
students’ meeting opened with the reverential singing 
of Hail Alma Mater and closed with the McGill yell. 
And now —the Jazz Tea has come to stay. 

Friendly reader, ponder on this extract 'from the 
Daily of November 1 1th— Armistice Day, mind you. 
GEOFF SIMPSON 

TO ENTERTAIN 

AT JAZZ TEA 

This afternoon at 4.30 all the cake-eaters in 
McGill will have a chance to enjoy another 
jazz tea in the Union Cafeteria. 

Geoff Simpson, who has been entertaining 
at the Capitol during the week will provide 
entertainment. 

So this is McGill! 

Time was when tea at the Union provided the 
badgered student with just that form of intellectual 
recreation and rest which is the truest expression of 
a real Lniversity life. He met his friends, he sipped 
his tea, he called Shakespere a bore, he discussed 
McGill. No one bothered him, no one interrupted 
him. Nothing was poured into him (except food and 
drink). For a brief space in his stuffed existence he 
was allowed to be an individual, to think for himself, 
to express himself. Quite clever remarks were some- 
times made in the Union between the hours of four 
and six of an afternoon. 

Now. . .now., now. Dear reader, I cannot write 
coherently of what takes place in the Union now. 

Brrrrrr. run-ti-tum-ti I wonna go home 

rattle rattle rattle bangy bang . . . . Shesmybaby 
Adda boy Geoff ... .turn- ti-tum-ti-t urn. Masses of 

students. Every chair and table crowded. No conversa- 
tion, no wit, only noise, noise, noise. More pumping 
in from the outside: musical lectures, without the 

bother of notes. Rum-ti-tum-ti Hurraaaaaay. 

Rah Rah Rah.. . .No dancing even, no movement 
to relieve the bursting senses, no whirling girls about 
\ou sticks, you stones, you worse than senseless 
things. . . Masses of students, sitting still, staring 
at nothing, rum-ti-tum-ti-tum. The mills of God 
grind slowly, but its not for knowledge that we come 

to college Steppomt Geoff. Noise. Crowds. Cake- 

eaters. McGill 

Thank you, gentle reader, I feel better now. But 
it gives one a bit of a shock, you know, when you’ve 
always been rather fond of a cup of tea and a pipe, 
a book on the table and a friend opposite you. And 
it makes you wonder whether the Union was given 
to McGill in order that students might be saved the 
expense of going to The Capitol. 

Autre temps, autre moeurs. 



16 



The McGill Fortnightly Review 



BOOJCS 

THE CABALA 

{ Thornton Niven Wilder, New York : Albert & Char- 
les Boni, 1926 . $ 2 . 50 .) 

V AN Vechten’s cats, his actual personalities, 
his musical references and his total neglect 
of quotation marks are all evident in Mr. Wild- 
er’s first important work. One finds., as in Mr. 
Van Vechten’s works, that the book is built up on 
the description of the idiosyncrasies of a few individu- 
als. These individuals form an almost intangible 
whole called the Cabala, a group living near Rome 
who “ . . . . find a pocket of archaic time in the middle 
of a world that has progressed beyond it” and are 
concerned with ‘‘one duchess’ right to enter a door 
before another; the word order in a dogma of the 
Church; the divine right of kings, especially of Bour- 
bons.” 

There is about the whole work the atmosphere 
of Edith Dale’s Italian villa, and one reads with keen 
interest of Marcantonio’s struggle against dissipation, 
of Princess Alix d’Espoli’s unrequited love and of 
the old Cardinal who with one disgusted push throws 
from his table The Golden Bough, Ulysses, Appearances 
and Reality, Proust, Spengler, and Freud and thus 
dismisses the literature of the first quarter of our cent- 
ury. 



THE OLD ADAM by Cicely Hamilton 
THE TENDER PASSION by Hubert Griffith 
THE BARBER AND THE COW by D.T. Davies 
THE MARBLE GOD and other One- Act plays. 
{ Basil Blackwell : Oxford. 3s. 6 d. each) 

T HE British Drama League Library is a splendid 
institution inasmuch that it places fine plays 
in the hands of the public at a trivial charge. Of 
four new volumes of plays, three are particularly 
worthy. The Old Adam, a fantasy of the delicate 
politics and subsequent war between two small “King- 
doms” with the inevitable love interest as relish, 
reaches a delightful climax when the employment 
of some mysterious ray renders useless the mechanical 
weapons of both countries, and the young men fare 
out to kill each other with steel, a mode not fashionable 
in these days. The Tender Passion is of the shopworn 
genus Problem Play; an unconvincing bundle of 
dialogue between a Lord and his Lady; painfully 
ineffective; one lady and gentleman, undersexed; 
and one lady and gentleman inclined the other way. 
O yes, there is a butler of the Jeeves variety, sans 
the intelligence. In The Barber And The Cow by D.T. 
Davies, a good comedy of local Welsh politics, the 
antics of two fractious choir conductors, an amorous 
barber and a bed-ridden cow, is carried with con- 
siderable cleverness through a natural sequence. 
The characters are very truly drawn, the play moves 
easily, and Mr. Davies is a rare craftsman. 

The one-act plays collected under the title of The 
Marble God are well assorted. The House with the 
Twisty Windows is presented in a cell of the Communist 
prison at Petrograd during the ‘Red Terror.’ It involves 
a case of mistaken identity, a weaver of fairy tales 



arrested as an Anti-Revolutionist, the ‘Irish Hans 
Anderson’ soothing his fellow-prisoners with a tale 
of a Leprechaun, and the final Sidney Carton self- 
sacrifice — an old theme done differently. 

A.J. Talbot has burlesqued the literary and dramatic 
critic of all time in a skit Incorrigible, that should 
make this gentleman smile at his own foibles. Aubrey 
Smythe falls in a clap of thunder and remembers 
some early re-incarnations. Oliver Smith abused 
Bunyan; Frobisher Smith tells Shakespere of his 

“Blow winds, and crack your cheeks!” O, stop, 

stop! Can’t you see how artificial all that is?. .Tut- 
Tut-Smit calls Moses no writer and Moses breaks 
his head with the tablets. Recovering, Aubrey Smythe 
leaves the stage, no whit reformed. The Marble God 
is more fine comedy by Stephen Schofield. Mr. 
Schofield presents the situation of a mourned-as- 
dead husband who returns to a wife in love with 
another, to say he has married a second time. 



POEMS WRITTEN IN THE EIGHTEENTH 
CENTURY EDITED by KATHLEEN 
W. CAMPBELL 
{Oxford. Basil Blackwell, 1926 . 

The Percy Reprints, IX) 

T O one who has not made a deep study of the 
eighteenth century this volume will be a revel- 
ation as well as a delight. We have here distilled 
the peculiar essence of the Age of Artifice, Ombre 
and Reason. Its beauty is at the opposite pole to 
the moving beauty of the romantics — the appeal 
is solely to the intellect — but it is as surely an apex. 
As we read the crisp precisions of Swift, Gay, Prior, 
Byrom, Green, Churchill and the rest, the scornful 
lines of Blake and Keats are seen to approach nearer 
the natural belittling of an immediately preceding 
epoch than the profound truth we have hitherto taken 
for granted. While the appeal of some of these poems 
is to the treasurer of trivia, there are many which 
are lifted to the rarest heights by their just* and ex- 
quisite wit. It is the lingering sharpness of the tribe 
of Donne, declining, it is true towards urbanity and 
good humour. This is a fault, no doubt — but why 
carp at a swan for not being a peacock .... especially 
when we had thought it a goose? 



UPSTREAM 

{Ludwig Lewisohn. Modern Library $ 1 . 00 ) 

T HIS autobiography first appeared in the spring 
of 1922 but is now made available in a cheap 
edition. The author writes with the utmost 
of frankness and sincerity of a spiritual experience 
which was “upstream” all the way to a sensitive, 
idealistic temperament. 

There is considerable bitterness throughout the 
book, especially in his experience as university pro- 
fessor during the war, and he is keenly critical of 
American life and character, in which he sees “no 
stirring, no desire to penetrate beyond fixed names 
to living beings, no awakening from the spectral de- 
lusions amid which they pursue their aimless business 
and sapless pleasure.” 

The book has color, charm, grace, finish, eloquence. 
It is the work of a man who can write.