NEWS, VIEWS, AND OPINIONS.
•in article in the '•Atlantic*' ieeks to throw the white shirt from the proud poMtion it occupies in every gentleman's wardrobe, and succeeds in doing so to the extent of saying some very hard things about It. If a man, while dressina in the morning, begins to ask him6e U why, in the words of the wnTer, he j5 going to put bands ol" spotless whiteness and unbearable stiffness about his De ck and wrists, and before his chest a rigidly starched linen plate, he will probably become indignant under a sense of tyrannical oppression, and decide not to encase himself in this manner. But the ordinary man is unlikely to bother himself -wit-t conundrums of the kind. If he is in the habit of wearing a white shirt je would find himself intolerably uncomfortable and would feel conspicuously "undrersed" on venturing about his business in a shirt of any other variety. "Regarded from a disinterested point of view, moreover, it is not certain that the contentions of the article can be justified by fact--,. F'">r the custom of wearing a white shirt, adds the writer, there is no reason at all drawn from hygiene or usefulness.. As to the hygiene of the matter, the white shirt must at least be changed more frequently than the not very fastidious person would change a coloured shirt of soft material. Utility can be proved by the aid of the moralist. Particularly in detective romances, the male characters! of fiction, be they of the snappy, pushful type, make a point of pencilling rapid notes on their shirt cuffs. The practice, is oc-casionally-met within real life, and could he extended if an enterprising manufacturer would bring out his shirts with the upper parts of the cuffs neatly ruled into engagement tablet form. After a career of encouraging usefulness the "Simple. Life," as a movement, seems to be perishing of exhaustion. But in the United Plates, whence were imported the first principles of the Pimple Life, the departed creed has been replaced by another, and. we venture to think, a" nobler one. It is called the "New Life," and it has made a beginning in the unlikely locality of Chicago. In that city an address to a mass meeting by a local clergyman resulted in the. formation of a league to which 11,000 young people are pledged; and if their practice wears as well as their principles, the influence which will radiate from this solid band of endeavourers should make itself felt througb the civilised world. Their first principle is to "lead the joyous life." If the "New Lifer" is to do this he must be prepared to "Quit kicking, and go to work with a word of good cheer"; and he must also fall in line with the rule, "Don't go to work late; don't leave off ten minutes early." That is simple enough until one has practised it: and there are many other, elevating tenets, of which "Be honest in business" and "Be urbane" ought not to' he stumbling blocks. But the rule which is most racy of the soil is. "Shake bands like a man, not like a giraffe." Do that, and your future as a "New Lifer*' is assured. New Zealand has already accomplished' much in the way of licensing reforms, but even if the most fanatical Prohibitionist attained bis wildest ideal for the Dominion, it, would be trifling in comparison with the effect of the Chinese Anti-Opium Edict if the latter is thoroughly carried out. Fancy trying to alter at a stroke the habits of four hundred million people! It would be like prohibiting the sale of tea and tohaeco in Europe. The problem raised hy the edict is not rendered any easier by the proposal of the United States— which does not seem to have any special call to meddle in the matter —that the entire question of the opium trade shall he submitted to an International Conference. The Chinese Government have difficulties enough over the business without any outside intervention. For they find, as might have been expected, that it is much easier to make ordinances than to get them, obeyed, especially when they run counter to rooted habits and long tradition. Even the Vermillion Pencil cannot frighten the stolid Celestial beyond a certain limit; particularly as the high officials who are ordered to carry the edict into effect are often themselves the most con-firmed slaves to the drag. Another awkward circumstance is that most of the antiopium remedies sold contain a large amount of morphia, which is much more deadly to the system than the condemned poppy-seed- Many people hold that opium in moderation does no great harm; but nobody doubts that morphia and cocaine are virulent poisons. To cure the opium smoker by turning him into a morphiomaniac reminds one of the Colonial Sunday drinkeTs who have taken j to methylated spirits to avoid breaking the law. Alfred de Vigny protested that poets should be fed by the nation since they contributed to the graces of life. Had he lived until this century, says a writer in I an English paper, he would have had no j reason for complaint. Poets are feted. [ Poets read their poems to assembled j ladies, and receive their rapturous applause. Governments take notice of them. In France, at all events, there are prizes innumerable open to them, a Prix Sully-Prudhomme. and the rest. Poets are encouraged as never before, and yet, perhaps, there is less poetry. "Maybe poetg ought not to be encouraged—the I Russian attitude towards the teaching ot art. Can you have the divine afflatus and still draw rentes? It is very difficult. Do the kind heart, and simple faith go out with the coming in of coronets and Norman blood? Possibly. There is a tendency that poets shall become too optimistic, too pleased with the world, including themselves. Gone the days of gentle melancholy so propitious to the muse And if the State were to give further encouragement to the poets, agriculture would te neglected, the learned professions emptied, the arts of war unpractised: eveer.vonp would be a poet. And there mighr itiil be no poetry. One point, however, is missed in the foregoing argument—the advisability of diseriminaf'on. It is not the true poet who is impervious to snubs, but the pretended one.' Nothing seems to suppress a man who trunks he ran write poetry, yet succeeds; °aly in turning out indifferent rhymes. ! Such a wretch will save his money until | he is grey-headed, if necessary so to be | able to publish his effusions at his own j expense. Encouragement should be given i to poets, because, while it is welcome to j rhe genuinely inspired, the bard of egye- j gious impostors would be equally persistent without ir. Anyway, whatever) France may offer, there'is little gain for! "W poet in the Colonies. Perhaps poets I will have in form a trades union before j »<•?. get t_e.ii: due in Sew. Zealand. I
Mr ; Keir Hardie was informed by a working 'man in Portsmouth in January that "my wife would like to kiss you," and, either because the object of her admiration manifested no objection, or because be could not promptly think of a gallant way out of it, she promptly stepped forward and did it. Public life will take on a new terror, if thU sort of thing is to become a feature oi it, and there are ominous signs that it may. Was not Mr. Bryan besieged by a whole* crowd of Democratic ladips duvrng the Presidential contest, and " Hobsonised "—as they call it there, in memory of the fate ol Lieutenant Hobson, the Santiago hero! The present Home Secretary, we renimber was similarly cheered by a young enthusiast of the other sex in the course of one of his Leeds elections. But, if ever the Suffragettes get their way, the prospect will become really terrible. Everyone knows how a duchess bought a vote with a kiss, but with women voters eager to give the platonic kiss of political friendship to male candidates, and vice versa, the situation will be far worse than in the old Eatanswil days, when the Plumkeys and Fizkins had to kiss only babies. Parliament might even have to make the receipt or administration of a kiss by a candidate a corrupt practice. v"t hen 'Mr. Runciman some little time ago referred to the pernicious literary influence of newspapers, we pointed out (says the "Daily Graphic) the corrective to which the public can always resort, speaking in warm terms of the stately, limpid prose of Blue-books and other Government publications. With much regret the praise must be withdrawn. The exquisite standard heretofore maintained has fallen. The Young Author can no longer be advised to foster style by studying Blue-books. The newspaper reader, mentally outraged by the pernicious prose of his daily sheet, no more can soothe himself with Departmental returns.'' In a word, the Board of Trade has dropped into slang —it has made use of a pernicious expression—it has called paltry dealers in cheap articles of adornment "fakers." "Fakersi" Out of a profound sense of duty to letters and far more in sorrow than in anger, we must show up this thing in all its hideous nakedness by printing it without inverted commas. Fakers! What Mr. I Runciman will feel we merely shudder to think; our concern is lest now a start has been made—or, the Board of Trade would say, now the bung is out of the barrel—other Departments and their Ministers may follow suit. Vitiated though we are by tbe pernicious literary influence of the trade we follow, we tremble at the thought that Mr. Lloyd-George in his Budget statement may talk of "spondulicks" or "oof"; or that Mr. Asquith may darkly threaten the Lords with catching it in the neck if they don't watch ! it. These may seem exaggerated fears; but after "fakers" one feels thnt the Government may at any moment leave English, as the Board of Trade would say, in the cart. Fakers! In narrating the various legendary accounts of the origin and history of the Coronation Stone, Mr. George Watson, of Oxford, in a paper before the Scottish Ecclesiological Society, dealt with the Scottish coronation ceremonial, and showed that from a very simple Celtic function it developed into a very formal ceremony. It was not till 1249, when Alexander 11. was crowned, that the stone was mentioned in trustworthy record, when it was put outside the hi.irh i I altar in Scone Abbey Church, and was then faken for coronation. Edward I. , carried off the stone in 1290, and it I I was aiterwards set in a cbair for the ' l celebrant priest in St. Edward's Chapel, Westminster Abbey. This chair had I I since been used as tbe coronation chair I for the English Kings. Geological evidence showed that the slone was such | las was found in Argyllshire, Perthshire, j i and Forfarshire, which settled the the- ■ ories put forward that it orginally came j \ from Egypt. It was prophesied as early |as 1324 that whoever carried the stone ' I with them would obtain wide dominions, j i The existence of that prophecy, it was I said, led to the assent of the people i of Scotland to the Union of the Crowns. I The stone was 'taken to England hy j Edward the First in 129(5. Contempor- , ary English and Irish writers regarded i the accesson of James IV. n 1603 as the I fulfilment of the prophecy. In the course of an interesting letter to the secretary of the Imperial Merchant Service Guild, Admiral Lord Charles Beresford says: "You are quite right in stating that I have the very keenest interest in the mercantile marine, its officers, and men. and all that appertains to its welfare and good. The British | Empire depends upon the two great sea I services for its existence—on the one hand, the mercantile marine for the rapid and punctual delivery of waterborne commerce, including the all-im-portant item of food, and on the other, the military shipping for policing the seas, and preserving intact the line of communication for the mercantile marine |in war. The closer we get together in this community of interests, the better : for the Empire. Good co-operation and I efficient signalling is perhaps one of t.he most important methods by which closer connection can be brought about. AU in ! the Royal Xavy thoroughly recognise the loyal and a;ble way in which the mercantile marine carries out its duties, , often under extremely difficult and dangerous circumstances, and appreciate the excellent manner in which the mercantile marine has taken up the question of signalling between the two great servics." An important discovery has been made by Professor Sayce of the true site of the ancient city of Meroe, about three miles from Kabushia Station, near Shendi, which is half-way between Khartoum and Atbara. On visiting the Temples at Xao-a, twenty-five miles inland from the Nile, at the place which C'aillard in 1821 declared to be Meroe, the Professor was not convinced owing to the absence of any signs of remains of old habitations. After visiting the Pyramids, near Kabushia, and copying many of the inscriptions, the Professor hunted round for some signs of a ruined city, which he feit sure must be somewhere near. • These he discovered on the morning of January 16th quite close to the river, and due west of the Pyramids. He found the great wall of the inner defences, and the remains of the Temple of Anion, mentioned in Strabbo; also part of the Avenue of Rams leading up to the Tern- j pie, and a statue of a king, life size, be- I sides scarabs, seals, pottery, etc., which | date from B.C. 700 to A.D.* 300. An im- I portant slab with Greek inscriptions was also unearthed. It ""."ill be sent to the Khartoum Museum. j The fixing of the true site of Meroe is of the utmost importance from an archaeological point of view, because the I buried cities of ancient Ethiopia men-1 tioned by early historians can be approximately determined by their known distance from Meroe.
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