The Modest Immigrant
IT is now nearly fifty years since Mr. Lowell wrote his famous essay, "On a Certain Condescension in Foreigners"; an essay in which justifiable irritation prompted the telling of plain truths, and an irrepressible sense of humour made these truths amusing. It was well for Mr. Lowell that he was seldom too angry to laugh, and he knew, as only a man of the world can know, the saving grace of laughter. Therefore, though confessedly unable to understand why foreigners should be persuaded that "by doing this country the favour of coming to it, they have laid every native thereof under an obligation," he was willing in certain light-minded moods to acquit himself honourably of the debt. When a genteel German mendicant presented a letter, "professedly written by a benevolent American clergyman," and certifying that the bearer thereof had long "sofered with rheumatic paints in his limps," Mr. Lowell rightly considered that a composition so rich in the naïveté common to all Teuton mendacities was worth the money asked. When a French traveller assured him, with delightful bonhomie, that Englishmen became Americanized so rapidly that "they even begin to talk through their noses, just like you do," the only comment of our representative American was that he felt ravished by this testimony to the assimilating powers of democracy.
Nevertheless, it is well in these years of grace to reread Mr. Lowell's essay, partly because of its sturdy and dignified Americanism, and partly because we can then compare his limited experiences with our own. We can also speculate pleasantly upon his frame of mind could he have lived to hear Mrs. Amadeus Grabau (Mary Antin) say, "Lowell would agree with me,"—the point of agreement being the relative virtues of the Pilgrim Fathers and the average immigrant of to-day. When the dead are quoted in this fashion and nothing happens, then we know that, despite the assurances of Sir Oliver Lodge, the seal of silence is unbroken. Were the proud souls who have left us, able and willing to return, it would not be to reveal the whereabouts of a lost penknife, but to give the lie to the words which are spoken in their name.
The condescension which Mr. Lowell observed and analyzed was in his day the shining quality of foreigners who visit our shores. Immigrants were then less aggressive and less profoundly self-conscious than they are now, and it is the immigrant who counts. It is his arrogance, not the misapprehension of the tourist, or the innocent pride of the lecturer, which constitutes a peril to our republic. We can all of us afford to smile with Mr. Lowell at the men and women who, while accepting our hospitality, "make no secret of regarding us as the goose bound to deliver them a golden egg in return for their cackle." That they should not hesitate to come without equipment, without experience, without even a fitness for their task, seems to us perfectly natural. Perhaps they have written books which none of us have read, or edited periodicals which none of us have seen. Perhaps they have known celebrities of whom few of us have heard. It does not matter in the least. From the days when Miss Rose Kingsley came to tell us the worth of French art (does not the ocean roll between New York and Paris?), to the days when Mrs. Pankhurst came to tell us the worth of womanhood (does not the ocean roll between Boston Common and Hyde Park?), we have listened patiently, and paid generously, and received scant courtesy for our pains. "I find it so strange," said an Englishman to me three years ago, "to see my wife lecturing over the United States. It is a thing she would not dream of doing at home. In fact, nobody would go to hear her, you know."
But lectures are transient things, forgiven as soon as forgotten. Even the books which are written about us make no painful bid for immortality. And though our visitors patronize us, they seldom fail to throw us a kind word now and then. Sometimes a sweet-tempered and very hurried traveller, like Mr. Arnold Bennett, is good enough to praise everything he thinks he has seen. Before August, 1914, it was not the habit of our guests to scold or threaten us. That privilege had hitherto been reserved for the alien, who, having done us the honour of accepting citizenship, wields his vote as a cudgel, bidding us beware the weapon we have amiably placed in his hands.
Signer Ferrero, an acute and friendly critic, pronounces Americans to be the mystics of the modern world, because they sacrifice their welfare to a sentiment; because they believe in the miracle of the melting-pot, which, like Medea's magic cauldron, will turn the old and decrepit races of Europe into a young and vigorous people, new-born in soul and body. No other nation cherishes this illusion. An Englishman knows that a Russian Jew cannot in five years, or in twenty-five years, become English; that his standards and ideals are not convertible into English standards and ideals. A Frenchman does not see in a Bulgarian or a Czech the making of another Frenchman. Our immigrants may be as good as we are. Sometimes we are told they are better, that we might "learn a lesson" from the least promising among them. But no one can deny that they are different; in many instances, radically and permanently different. And to make a sow's ear out of a silk purse is just as difficult as the reverse operation. Mr. Horace Kallen has put the case into a few clear conclusive words when he says, "Only men who are alike in origin and spirit, and not abstractly, can be truly equal, and maintain that inward unanimity of action and outlook which makes a national life."
To look for "inward unanimity" among the seething mass of immigrants who have nothing more in common with one another than they have with us, is to tax credulity too far. The utmost we can hope is that their mutual antagonisms will neutralize their voting power, and keep our necks free from an alien yoke. Those of us who have lived more than half a century have seen strange fluctuations in the fortunes of the foreign-born. In 1883, when the Brooklyn Bridge was finished, the Irishmen of New York made a formal protest against its being opened on Queen Victoria's birthday, lest this chance occurrence should be misconstrued into a compliment to England. In 1915, a band in Saint Patrick's parade was halted, and forbidden to play "Tipperary" before Cardinal Farley's residence, lest these cheerful strains should be misconstrued into an insult to Germany. The Reverend Thomas Thornton, speaking to the Knights of Columbus, prophesied mournfully that the time was at hand when Catholic voters in the United States would be "reduced to the condition of tribute-paying aliens." Men smiled when they heard this, reflecting that the Irish officeholder had not yet been consigned to oblivion; but the speaker had seen with a clear eye the marshalling of strange forces, destined to drive the first comer from authority. Some weeks later, the "Jewish Tribune" boasted that the angry protest voiced by Catholics against the sending of Signor Ernesto Nathan as commissioner to the San Francisco Fair had been "checked in its infancy" by the power of the Jewish press.
It is all very lively and interesting, but where does the American come in? What place is reserved for him in the commonwealth which his heroic toil and heroic sacrifices moulded into what Washington proudly called a "respectable nation"? The truth is contemptuously flung at us by Mary Antin, when she says that the descendants of the men who made America are not numerous enough to "swing a presidential election." And if a negligible factor now, what depths of insignificance will be their portion in the future? I heard told with glee—the glee which expresses pure American unconcern—a story of a public school in one of our large eastern cities. A visitor of an investigating turn of mind asked the pupils of various nationalities, Germans, Polacks, Russian Jews, Italians, Armenians and Greeks, to stand up in turn. When the long list was seemingly exhausted, he bethought himself of a nation he had overlooked, and said, "Now let the American children arise!" Whereupon one lone, lorn little black boy stood up to represent the native-born.
It is hardly surprising that these foreign children, recognizing the strength of numbers, should take exception to our time-honoured methods of education. Little boys of a socialistic turn of mind refuse to salute the flag, because it is a military emblem. Little boys of a rationalistic turn of mind refuse to read the Bible,—any portion of the Bible,—because its assertions are unscientific. Little Jewish boys and girls refuse to sing the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," because of its unguarded allusions to Bethlehem and Calvary. Indeed, any official recognition of the Deity offends the susceptibilities of some of our future citizens; and their perplexed teachers are bidden to eliminate from their programme "any exercises which the pupils consider objectionable."
A few years ago I was asked to speak to a large class of immigrant working-girls, for whose benefit philanthropic women had planned evening classes, dexterously enlivened by a variety of entertainments. I was not sure whether I ranked as useful or amusing, and the number of topics I was bidden to tactfully avoid, added to my misgivings; when suddenly all doubts were dispelled by the superintendent saying sweetly, "Oh, Miss Repplier, you were asked to speak for forty minutes; but I think your address had better be cut down to twenty-five. The girls are eager for their ice-cream."
I said I sympathized with so reasonable an impatience. Even at my advanced age, I prefer ice-cream to lectures.
"Moi, je dis que les bonbons
Valent mieux que la raison."
But what did not flatter me was the clear understanding that my audience listened to me, or at least sat tolerantly for twenty minutes (I curtailed my already cur-tail'd cur), because their reward, in the shape of ice-cream, was near at hand. Just as some manufacturers provide baths for their employees, and then, recognizing the prejudices of the foreign-born, pay the men for taking the baths provided, so the good ladies who had served me up as a mental refreshment for their protégées, paid the girls for being so obliging as to listen to me.
Miss Addams has reproached us most unjustly for our contemptuous disregard of the immigrant; and Mrs. Percy Pennybacker, president of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, has been wrought to such a pitch of indignation over what she considers our unwarranted superciliousness, that she writes fervidly in the "Ladies Home Journal," "I love my country; I adore her; but at times I hope that some great shock may cause us to drop the mantle of conceit that we so proudly wrap about us."
This well-wisher is in a fair way to see her desires realized. We may be left naked and shivering sooner than she anticipates. If concessions to the Irish vote failed to teach us humility,—perhaps because the Irish have a winning way of overriding barriers ("What's the Constitution between friends?"), other immigrants are less urbane in stripping us of our pride. "A German," said Mr. Lowell feelingly, "is not always nice in concealing his contempt"; and if this was his attitude in 1868, to what superb heights of disdain has he risen by 1916! A German ambassador has derided diplomatic conventions, and has addressed his official communication, over the head of the Administration, to German voters in the United States, sparing no pains to make his words offensive. German officials have sought to undermine our neutrality and imperil our safety. In the opening months of the war, a German professor at Harvard, who for years has received courteous and honourable treatment at the hands of Americans, threatened us insolently with the "crushing power" of the German vote; and bade us beware of the punishment which twenty-five millions of citizens, "in whose homes lives the memory of German ancestors," would inflict upon their fellow citizens of less august and martial stock. The "Frankfurter Zeitung" published a cheering letter from an American Congressman, assuring a German correspondent that his countrymen know how to make themselves heard, and expressing hearty hopes that Germany would triumph over her "perfidious" rival.
Is it any wonder that, stimulated by these brilliant examples, the average "German-American" should wax scornful, and despise his unhyphenated fellow citizens? Is it any wonder that he should turn bully, and threaten us with his vote,—the vote which was confided to his sacred honour for the preservation of our country's liberty? A circular distributed before the Chicago elections in 1915 stated in the plainest possible words that the German's first allegiance was to imperial Germany, and not to the Republic he had sworn to serve:—
"Chicago has a larger German population than any city in the world, excepting Berlin and Vienna; and the German-, Austrian-, and Hungarian- Americans should, at this coming election, set aside every other consideration, and vote as a unit for Robert M. Sweitzer. Stand shoulder to shoulder in this election, as our countrymen in the trenches and on the high seas are fighting for the preservation of our dear Fatherland. The election of a German-American would be a fitting answer to the defamers of the Fatherland, would cause a tremendous moral effect throughout the United States, and would reëcho in Germany, Austria, and Hungary."
The "moral effect" of this appeal was not precisely what its authors had anticipated. Men asked themselves in bewilderment and wrath what the dear Fatherland, any more than dear Dahomey or the beloved Congo, had to do with the Chicago elections? They have been putting similar questions ever since.
Some months later, the German-American Central Society of Passaic, uniting itself with the German-American National Alliance, called for assistance in these glowing words:—
"Come all of you German societies, German men, and German women, so that united offensively and defensively [zum Schutz und Trutz verein] with weapons of the spirit, we may help our beloved Germany onward."
"Weapons of the spirit!" If this means prayer and supplication, the matter lies between the petitioner and his God. If it means exhortations, pamphlets, and platform oratory, the champion of Germany stands well within his rights. But the next paragraph drops all figures of speech, and states the real issue with abrupt and startling distinctness:—
"We ask for your speedy decision with respect to your acquiescence, in order to permit of an effective participation and lead in the spring campaign of 1915."
In plain words, the spiritual weapon with which the German-American proposes to fight the battle of Germany is the American ballot. When the franchise was granted to him, or to his father, or to his grandfather (whichever did this country the honour of first accepting citizenship), a solemn oath was sworn. Allegiance to a foreign government was forever disowned; fealty to the government of the United States was vowed. He who uses his vote to further the interests of a European state is a perjured man, and that he should dare to threaten us with the power of his perjury is the height of arrogant ill-doing. That such a question as "What is the proportion of votes which the Germans of your section control?" should be asked by German agents, and answered by German newspapers, affronts our nation's honour, soils a sacred trust by ill-usage, and tears our neutrality to rags.
When the Lusitania was sunk, and the horror of the deed shamed all Christendom, save only those strange residents of Berlin who received the news with "enthusiasm," and "joyful pride," the first word tactfully whispered in our ear was that, while we might regret the drowning of Americans, we were impotent to resent it. And this impotence was to be a concession to the foreign vote. God only knows of what material Germany thought we were made,—putty, or gutta-percha, or sun-baked mud? Certainly not of flesh and blood. Certainly not with hearts to bleed, or souls to burn. Every comment vouchsafed by the German press placed us in the catalogue of worms warranted not to turn.
The contempt which the German "is not always nice in concealing" shines with a chastened lustre in the words and deeds of other foreign-born citizens. They accept the vote which we enthusiastically press upon them, regarding it as an asset, sometimes of marketable value, sometimes serving a stronger and more enduring purpose, always as an esteemed protection against the military service exacted by their own governments. They do not come to us "with gifts in their hands,"—to quote Mr. Lowell. They are for the most part destitute, not only of money, but of knowledge, of useful attainments, of any serviceable mental equipment. Mr. Edward Alsworth Ross, who is not without experience, confesses ruefully that the immigrant seldom brings in his intellectual baggage anything of use to us; and that the admission into our electorate of "backward men"—men whose mental, moral, and physical standards are lower than our own—must inevitably retard our social progress, and thrust us behind the more uniformly civilized nations of the world.
Meditating on these disagreeable facts, we find ourselves confronted by sentimentalists who say that if we would only be kind and brotherly, the sloping foreheads would grow high, the narrow shoulders broad, the Pole would become peaceable, the Greek honest, the Slav clean, the Sicilian would give up murder as a pastime, the Jew would lose his "monstrous love of gain." Enthusiastic promoters of the "National Americanization Committee"—a crusade full of promise for the future—have talked to us so much and so sternly about our duty to the immigrant, our neglect of the immigrant, our debt to the immigrant, our need of the immigrant, that we have been no less humiliated than bewildered by their eloquence. Mr. Roosevelt alone, of all their orators, has had the hardihood to say bluntly that citizenship implies service as well as protection; that the debt contracted by the citizen to the state is as binding as that contracted by the state to the citizen; that a voter who can not speak English is an absurdity no less than a peril; and that all who seek the franchise should be compelled to accept without demur our laws, our language, our national policy, our requisitions civil and military. This is what naturalization implies.
That saving phrase, "It is the law," which made possible the civilization of Rome, and which has been the foundation of all great civilizations before and since, has little weight or sanctity for our immigrants. They resent legal interference, especially the punishment of crime, in a very spirited fashion. When Mr. Samuel Gompers defended the McNamaras and their "social war" murders before a subcommittee of the United States Senate, he said with feeling that the mere fact that these men should have come to look upon dynamite as the only defence left them against the tyranny of capital, was a "terrible charge against society." It was an appeal very pleasantly suggestive of the highwayman, who, having attacked and robbed Lord Derby and Mr. Grenville, said reproachfully to his victims, "What scoundrels you must be to fire at a gentleman who risks his life upon the road!"
If Cicero lowered his voice when he spoke of the Jews, fearing the enmity of this strong and clannish people, the American, who is far from enjoying Cicero's prestige, must be doubly cautious lest he give offence. Yet surely, if there is an immigrant who owes us everything, it is the Jew. Even our spasmodic and utterly futile efforts to restrict immigration always leave him a loophole of escape, because he controls the National Liberal Immigration League.
It is our custom to assume that the Russian Jew is invariably a fugitive from religious persecution, and we liken him in this regard to the best and noblest of our early settlers. But the Puritan, the Quaker, and the Huguenot sacrificed temporal well-being for liberty of conscience. They left conditions of comfort, and the benefits of a high civilization, to develop the resources of a virgin land, and build for themselves homes in the wilderness. They practised the stern virtues of courage, fortitude, and a most splendid industry. Had the Pilgrim Fathers been met on Plymouth Rock by immigration officials; had their children been placed immediately in good free schools, and given the care of doctors, dentists, and nurses; had they found themselves in infinitely better circumstances than they had ever enjoyed in England, indulging in undreamed-of luxuries, and taught by kind-hearted philanthropists,—what pioneer virtues would they have developed, what sons would they have bred, what honours would history have accorded them? If our early settlers were masterful, they earned the right to mastery, and the price they paid for it was endurance. To the sacrifices which they made, to their high courage and heroic labours, we owe law, liberty, and well-being.
It is because the Jew has received from us so much, and given us so little, that his masterfulness affronts our sense of decency. When the Jewish Anti-Defamation League boasts—perhaps without warranty—that it has taken "the first and most important step in excluding the 'Merchant of Venice' from the curriculum of the grammar and high schools of this country, by having the play removed from the list of requirements laid down by the Collegiate Entrance Requirement Board," we feel that a joke has been carried too far. Nobody can seriously associate the "Merchant of Venice" with a defamation of the Jewish character. Heaven knows, the part played by Christians in that immortal drama has never left us puffed up with pride. Nevertheless, being less thin-skinned, or perhaps more sure of ourselves, we have grown attached to the play, and should not relish its banishment by the decree of aliens.
And what if our Italian immigrants should take exception to the character of Iago, and demand that "Othello" should be excluded from the schools? What if the Sicilians should find themselves wounded in spirit by the behaviour of Leontes (compared with whom Shylock and Iago are gentlemen), and deny us the "Winter's Tale"? What if the Bohemians (a fast-increasing body of voters) should complain that their peddlers are honest men, shamefully slandered by the rogueries of Autolycus? If all our foreign citizens become in turn as sensitive as Hebrews, we may find ourselves reduced to the fairy scenes from the "Tempest" and the "Midsummer Night's Dream."
Another victory claimed by the "Jewish Tribune" is that the Associated Press has been made to feel that the words "Jew" and "Hebrew" should be avoided in connection with criminals. "The religious denomination of malefactors should not be referred to. It is now generally understood by newspapers that it is just as improper to describe a malefactor by stating that he is a Jew, as it would be to describe such a person as a Catholic or a Methodist."
Does this mean that the Jew no longer claims any racial distinction, that he has no genealogy, no pedigree, no place in history, nothing by which he may be classified but church membership? Is the simple dictionary definition, "Jew. An Israelite; a person of the Hebrew race," without any significance? We may call a Greek pickpocket a Greek, or a Polish rioter a Pole, or an Italian murderer an Italian; but we may not call a Jewish procurer a Jew, because that word refers only to his attendance at the synagogue. May we then speak of a scholar, a musician, a scientist, a philanthropist, as a Jew? Only—by this ruling—as we might speak of one as a Catholic or a Methodist, only in reference to his "religious denomination." If he chances to be unsectarian, then, as he is also raceless, he cannot be called anything at all. If the word "Jew" be out of place in the police courts, it is equally out of place in colleges, learned societies, and encyclopædias.
It will be remembered that, after the publication of "Oliver Twist," a bitter protest was raised by English Jews against the character of Fagin, or rather against the fact that the merry old gentleman is alluded to frequently as a Jew. The complainants said—what the "Jewish Tribune" now says—that the use of the word as an indicatory substantive was an insult to their creed. Dickens, who had never thought of Fagin as having any creed, who had never associated him with religious observances of any kind, was puzzled and pained at having unwittingly given offence; and strove to make clear that, when he said "Jew," he meant an Israelite, and not a frequenter of the synagogue. Years afterward he made a peace-offering in the person of Riah, who plays the part of a good Samaritan in "Our Mutual Friend," and who is to Fagin as skimmed milk to brandy.
It is worthy of note that whenever any strong and noble emotion grips our Jewish citizens, they speedily forget their antipathy to the word "Jew." For years past they have objected to the use of the word by charitable associations, even when there was no hint of criminality to shame it. They have asked that visiting nurses should not report service to Jewish homes, or Jewish patients. Homes and patients should be placed upon record as Russian or Polish,—whichever the case might be. The race was specifically denied. The Semite was sunk in the Slav. But when there came a cry for help from the war-stricken Jews of Europe, the Jews of America responded with exalted enthusiasm. Jew called to Jew, and the great tie of kindred asserted itself supremely. It was not as co-religionists, but as brothers-in-blood, that New York millionaires, who had never entered a synagogue, stretched out their hands in aid. Women stripped off their jewels, and offered this glittering tribute, as they might have done in the fighting days of Israel. Young and old, rich and poor, gave with unstinted compassion. Gentiles contributed generously to the fund, and Christian churches asked the coöperation of Christian congregations. To some Jews the thought must have occurred that America had not dealt harshly by her immigrants, when they could command millions for their impoverished brethren in Europe.
Therefore it behooves the men and women who have been well received, and who have responded ably to the opportunities offered them by our country's superb liberality, to be a little more lenient to our shortcomings. We confess them readily enough; but we feel that those whom we have befriended should not be the ones to dwell upon them with too much gusto. There are situations in the world which imperiously dictate urbanity. "Steadily as I worked to win America," writes Mary Antin, "America advanced to lie at my feet,"—a poodle-like attitude which ought to disarm criticism. When this clever young woman tells us that she "took possession of Beacon Street" (a goodly heritage), and there "drank afternoon tea with gentle ladies whose hands were as delicate as their porcelain cups," we feel well content at this swift recognition of energy and ability. It is not the first time such pleasant things have happened, and it will not be the last. But why should the recipient of so much attention be the one to scold us harshly, to rail at conditions she imperfectly understands, to reproach us for our ill-mannered children (whom we fear she must have met in Beacon Street), our slackness in duty, our failure to observe the precepts and fulfil the intentions of those pioneers whom she kindly, but confusedly, calls "our forefathers."
It is the hopeless old story of opposing races, of people unable to understand one another because they have no mutual standards, no common denominator. Mary Antin is perfectly sincere, and, from her point of view, justified, in bidding us remember that among the Harrison Avenue tenants, "who pitch rubbish through their windows," was the grocer whose kindness helped to keep her at school. And she adds with sublime because unconscious egotism, "Let the City Fathers strike the balance." But Elizabeth Robins Pennell is also sincere, and, from her point of view, justified, when she says with exceeding bitterness that, if Philadelphia blossomed like the rose with Mary Antins, the city would be but ill repaid for the degradation of her noble old streets, now transformed into foul and filthy slums. Dirt is a valuable asset in the immigrant's hands. With its help he drives away decent neighbours, and brings property down to his level and his purse. The ill-fated Philadelphian is literally pushed out of his home—the only place, sighs Mrs. Pennell, where he wants to live—by conditions which he is unable to avert, and unwilling, as well as unfitted, to endure.
It is part of the unreality of modern sentimentalism that we should have a strong sense of duty toward all the nations of the world except our own. We see plainly what we owe to the Magyar and the Levantine, but we have no concern for the Virginian or the Pennsylvanian. The capitalist and the sentimentalist play into each other's hands, and neither takes thought of our country's irrational present and imperilled future. We go on keeping a "civic kindergarten" for backward aliens, and we go on mutely suffering reproach for not advancing our pupils more rapidly. In the industrial town of New Britain, Connecticut, the foreign population is nine times greater than the native population, which is a hideous thing to contemplate. Twenty nationalities are represented, eighteen languages are spoken. The handful of Americans, who are supposed to leaven this heavy and heterogeneous mass, take their duties very seriously. Schools, playgrounds, clubs, night-classes, vacation classes, gymnasiums, visiting nurses, milk-stations, charitable organizations, a city mission with numerous interpreters, a free library with books and newspapers in divers tongues, all the leavening machinery is kept in active service for the hard task of civic betterment. Yet it was in New Britain that an immigrant was found who, after sixteen years' residence in the United States, was not aware that he might, if he chose, become a citizen; and this incident, Mary Antin considers a heavy indictment against the community. "It makes a sensitive American," she writes passionately, "choke with indignation."
It makes an exasperated American choke with angry laughter to have the case put that way. The ballot is not necessary to safe, decent, and prosperous living. A good many millions of women have made shift to live safely, decently, and prosperously without it. If it is to be regarded as an asset to the immigrant, then his own friends, his own people, the voters of his own race, might (in the welcome absence of political bosses) be the ones to press it upon his acceptance. If it be considered as a safeguard for the Republic, we cannot but feel that this highly intelligent alien might be spared permanently from the electorate.
For the first nine months of the war, when Italy's neutrality swayed in the conflicting currents of national pride and national precaution, and no one could foretell what the end would be, a young Italian gardener, employed near Philadelphia, suffered dismal doubts concerning the expediency of naturalization. He was a frugal person, devoid of high political instincts. He did not covet a vote to sell, and he did not want to pay the modest cost of becoming an American citizen. He preferred keeping his money and staying what he was, provided always that Italy remained at peace. But the prospect of Italy's going to war disposed him to look favourably upon the safeguard of a foreign allegiance. Being unable to decipher the newspapers, he made anxious inquiries every morning. If the headlines read, "Italy unlikely to abandon attitude of neutrality," he settled down contentedly to his day's work. If the headlines read, "Austria refuses guarantee. Italy sending troops to northern frontier," he became once more a prey to indecision. Then came the May days when doubt was turned to certainty. Italy, long straining at the leash, plunged into the conflict. Thousands of Italians in the United States stood ready to fight for their country, to give back to her, if need be, the lives which they might have held safe. But one peace-loving gardener hurried to Philadelphia, applied for his naturalization papers, failed utterly to pass the casual tests which would have secured them, grew frightened and demoralized by failure, appealed desperately to his employer, and, with a little timely aid, was pitched shivering into citizenship.
If ever there comes a cloud between the United States and Italy, this doughty "Italian-American" will, I am sure, be found fighting with "weapons of the spirit" for the welfare of his adored and endangered "Fatherland."