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SPRING CLEANING.

That is an operation that is in progress in most houses just now. Tho man discovers in many ways that lie is a superfluity in the home. Women in mob caps, dressed in outworn habiliments, and driving mysteriously-constructed besoms that look as if they had clothed themselves surreptitiously in skirls or petticoats, are in supreme possession. They are in pursuit of dust and dirt. Carpets are off the rooms, and tilings are all topsy-turvy. When yon gat up in the morning you wonder if there has been a fire in the house, as the halls and rooms have been stripped of their coverings, and nothing but tho buckets and brushes and the bare boards are visible. You may count yourself fortunate if you get your meals in the kitchen, or, indeed, if you get them at all. Protests are in vain. If they provoke a reply it is not complimentary to your intelligence. If the man ventures to say that bo sees no reason for this unusual upsetting of things he may be told that his contentment with what is characterised as tho “disgraceful dirt' 1 of the place is just what might be expected from him. But time and the hour, as Shakespeare rominds us, “ run through the roughest day.” And Spring Cleaning comes to an end. The master, or perhaps we should call her the mistress, says triumphantly : " There now, does not everything look nice and smell sweot and clean 1” But the ordinary man feels acquiescence to bo a weakness; so, like tho proverb, ho does not say much, but thinks a lot. In his own mind, however, he does feel that there is an improvement in the condition of things. There is an air of purity and of that peace which flows from it, which is a rich gain. A sense of gratitude to the knights of the broom ami the scrubbing-brush begins to stir within him ; and, although the native, masculine pride might not permit him to express it. yet he will he ready in his heart to agree with. Luther ; What you do in your house is worth as much as if yon did it for our Lord Cod

up in Heaven. . . . It looks like u great thing when a monk renounces everything, and goes into a cloister, carries on a life of asceticism, fasts, watches, prays, etc. On tho other hand, it looks like a small thing when a maid winks and < leans and does ether housework. Rut because ("tod's command is there. a small work must he praised as a service of Ood far surpassing the holiness and asceticism of all monks and men. These he brave words and well deserved. * * • m * -» aRut is n.n tliis business ot Spring Cleaning an allegory'' Is it not a parable of life, both individual and material? The woman’s logic that Lite house needs a, periodical overhaul is justified by the result. It is the same with life. It, too. roipiires a clean up now and again. Take the body, foe instance. It gathers in it accumulations of rubbish. A great part of the food that we eat is mere dirt that has to he expelled somehow. lint Nature’s ordinary agents for this purpose are often unequal to the task. Hence the doctor and the chemist- are necessary. Wo go to them to reinforce the powers that make for the health of the body. This is the significance of the tinny of invalids that drifts annually to the sanatoria of the world. Thousands of people, with apparently, nothing bettor to do, habitually over-eat and over-drink themselves. They breakfast on three or four courses, while dinner is a banquet to which their earlier meals serve only as an introduction. With the eatable? are wines, spirits, and liqueurs, I’ndpr this treatment, the overloaded physique" becomes 'logged to the breaking-down point, and onr fashionable folks rush off to Vi-hv, or Carlsbad. or Wiesbaden. Or to llotovun or 1 larmier; or, when they cannot afford, to go to either of these places, to the local physician nnd the humble pill or package of Epsom salts. It. would be infinitely better if we could get. a sort of Spring Cleaning that once for all would make a complete sweep of the false theories that render such things necessary. Some day we shall get this, but meanwhile the periodical cleaning out of the body inu,-t go on. *******

Rut the body is not the most important part of ns. There is that mysterious thing which we call the soul. We till know it. but nobody can toll exactly what it is. We think of it as including mind, reason, will, conscience, and the seat- of the emotions. The body is or ought to be. the servant of the soul; but the position i? sometimes reversed, with disastrous effects to both. The soul’s food is different from the body’s, but it falls into the same errors, with direr results. A great writer was recently discussing ’’ The soul’s feeding grounds.’' It is a very important subject. The future of men and nations depends upon a right selection of these. A wrong one may mean irretrievable disaster. And just as we have men and women taking their bodies for a Spring Cleaning to this or that " cure,” so we have sick and misfed or over-fed souls doing the same thing. This is the, rationale of revivals. “ retreats." churches, religion. They are all means devised to minister to ” a mind dis-

" eased, to pluck from the memory a “rooted, sorrow, and to cleanse the stuffed “ bosom of the perilous stuff that weighs “ upon it.’’ History is full of these Spring Cleanings of the soul. The greatest of them was the irruption of Christianity into the world. Fires are good, but they produce slag, which has to be cleared away, or it would destroy its parent. It is the same with the human soul. There come great crises that light tip the pure tires of spiritual enthusiasm, and set men and women ablaze for truth and goodness. But then as that generation passes another succeeds that retains the ash without the flame. Ami so it comes about that the free ages actually enslave those that follow. When Jesus arrived in this world Ho found it— t.0., His part of it—all clogged, up under the clinkers of Phariseoism. Then came the Spring Cleaning of Pentecost, and the soul of .man had a new lease of life ami power. And so all down the ages these Spring Gleanings can be traced. Readers of history will remember another one in the Florence of Savonarola. They will recall “The Pyramid of Vanitirus” described in ‘Romoia.’ They will recollect howq under the piercing preaching of the great prophet-martyr, the citizens collected together into the Piazza their lutes, vaiu books, immodest pictures and dresses, rouge pots, perfumes, powders, gambling' apparatus, and lewd incentives of every kind, and made a bonfiro of them all. Another Spring Cleaning this, but by no means the last. And if we ask the reason we may get it suggested to vis by Nathaniel Hawthorne in one of hie quaint allegories. He telia how people, weary with their tomfooleries, resolvad to make an end of them. And so, just os in Florence, they gathered together their incitements to evil—drink, books, pleasure, drosses, etc. —and put a torch to them. Companies of thieves, drunkards, and murderers stood by bewailing .their fate and that their occupation was gone. Tho Devil came to com-^

fort them. “You need not be disturbed,” said his Satanic Majesty, “ bo- “ cause these wiseacres, while they have “cast as much into the fire, have not “cast in the one thing which is the “ primary an-cl perpetual cause of all—“the human heart.” Precisely. As long as it is what it is the Spring Cleaning of the soul will remain an enduring necessity.

*•*•*•***■» And as with the individual life -so with the collective, and so with that of the society and the nation. These, too, require and experience periodic Spring Cleaning. We referred a moment ago to the feeding grounds of the soul. The great problem at this moment is to secure the Empire’s food supply. How this bread problem lies behind and explains all the movements of the world. It was tills that drew Jacob down to Egypt, and thence emerged the great Jewish race, which has given a conscience and laws to the civilised world, It explains the migrations of the Hindus, the Greeks, and the Persians. It was the torch that lighted the fires of the French Revolution. It was the Corn Laws that threw up Bright and Cobden, and delivered Great Britain from social disruption. It accounts for all the great migrations going on to-day, for the peopling of America, for the colonising of Canada, and for our own presence in this Dominion. Yes, at bottom the* food problem is the problem of the world. * * * x- if- * *

But as wo have indicated, it is the feeding of the soul that is the supreme issue. For the soul is master of the body, and carries it whither it will. Is not this the very problem that we are fighting out in this horrible war? At bottom, it is a fight for food and a fight because- of food. It is a fight because of food on account of tho feeding gounds where Germany has been pasturing her soul. What these feeding grounds have been wo know. The last great Spring Cleaning Germany had was the Reformation. That cleared up the conscience and the heart of multitudes. Then came—after a long while—tile usual result. The spirit of the free ages vanished, and nothing was lett except the body: but tho body without the spirit is dead. How dead it was we did not know till its infecting carcass was brought to light by the destroyo-s of Gorman idealism. Wc are familiar now with their principal names—such as Haeckel, Trietschkc. H aupt innnn, Hans Delbruck. and Nietzsche. Ami we are also familiar with their deeds. Their t-oa.ch.ing ma-rcncs on the spear points o{ the. German army of 10-day. It can he read luridly in tho flames oi Liege and Louvain, in the ruthless bombs of Zeppelin's airships, and on tho trampling down of defenceless women and children. The hooks of these men have been the feeding ground of Germany’s soul for the last half-century, and the end is not yet. TV TV -Jf -Jf *X‘ vf It has been suggested by a. writer on the subject with which wc have been dealing that Spring Cleaning may he a dangerous process where o'd buildings are concerned. 3011 begin with your pail and your brush, with a little pktstering and tinkering here and there, only to discover that something quite different front water and whitewash is required ; that, in fact, tho building is rotten to the foundation, and will have to come down. At the beginning Luther had i.o thought of being a revolutionary. He wanted to clean up a- hit the venerable building in which he had been horn and roared. But he found ete long be had taken on a bigger contract than a little, soap and water could achieve. And so too often it litis been since. When the Boer War was looming on tho horizon, tho kite Mr Chamberlain said that, it would bo all over in three month©, but. it took nearly ten times three months before it, was finally settled. When Germany launched the world into the present terrible conflict its issues were not clearly discerned at. first-. Great Britain thought that she had to do with a foe that would ‘‘play tho game”; but the Allies have since discovered that- they niv> contending against a recrudescence of barbarism. They aro fighting a battle against a revival of paganism masquerading under the modern name of culture, and animated by the ethics of the tomahawk and scalping knife of the savage. This is no ordinary Spring Cleaning that has been sprung upon the nations. This whole, vast, and imposing •tincture labelled ” Gorman Culture" needs more than. soap and water can accomplish. It is rotten to tho foundations, and must he trodden into the dust. Tho Allies understand that now. and are determined to make an end of it—once and for ever. ******* But when onr Spring Cleaning is over, and we, are settled down again in our regenerated rooms, we j feel ever eo much better. The air is i fresher, the place more wholesome, and the outlook joyous. We take hack our glowing superlatives, and subscribe not unwillingly to tho picturesque optimism of those who bore the heat and burden of tho brush and bucket.. It is tho same after a. great national Spring Cleaning. How the United States oet out on a new career of liberty and power when it wiped the black, bloody stain of slavery from its escutcheon 1 And may we not expect that it will bo the same when we have finished up with Germany. There will bo a newworld not only geographically, but mentally' and spiritually as well. And may not we in this now world hope that never again shall million© he slaughtered to gratify (he vanity and ambition of Kaisers and War i/or-ds? May we not also hope that the poet’s fine vision may go into fulfilment? 1 saw tho conquerors riding by Splashing through loathsome flood© of war; The Crescent leaning o’er its hosts. And the barbaric scimitar; . . . And Alexander like a god, Who sought to wield the world in one ; And Cmsar, with his laurel wreath ; And leaping, full of hell the ITun, And leading like a ©tar the van. Heedless of npstretched arm and groan, Inscrutable Napoleon went, Dreaming of empire, ami alone. Then all they perished from the earth As fleeting shadow© front n glass, And, conquering down tho centuries. Canto Christ, the .Swordloss, tiding on an a.-e.

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Bibliographic details

SPRING CLEANING., Evening Star, Issue 15650, 14 November 1914

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2,326

SPRING CLEANING. Evening Star, Issue 15650, 14 November 1914

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