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ria Street, he would go that very afternoon. He would enter Buckingham Palace, and lay before the King the misery of his people. He would call upon the King to sweep away the present rotten Parliament, and appoint a new one, the sole duty of which should be to examine and remedy the grievances of the poor. Let those who wished to serve the country and earn their daily bread follow him into his Majesty's presence.

It was a notable proposal, reminding one of so much in another revolution than ours; and, in its contempt of Parliament and Cabinet, agreeing so closely with a line of thought that some of our political thinkers are only now beginning to suggest. But the dockers listened in imperturbable silence, as to the prattling of a child in time of affliction. It ran off their minds like water. It was like a wireless message that struck no key. Who could get past the bayonets to approach the King? What kind of special parliament could he appoint? Eloquence is all very well, but when the orator waved his arms and set off apparently in the direction of Buckingham Palace, a smile and some improper words followed him, but no human soul.

So, in the growing heat, the crowd stood silent, waiting. Swelling the numbers and increasing the heat of pressure, processions with banners arrived from various quarters further east. They were the square banners of the British working man, supported by two side poles and one along the top, allegorical with clasped hands, feminine embodiments of virtue, armorial bearings of dolphins and ships, as became the watermen, bargemen, lightermen, stevedores, dockers, and carmen of our ancient port. Some were tattered, like flags that have braved the battle and the breeze. one were inscribed two verses, of which the first ran thus:


The seed ye sow another reaps, The wealth ye find another keeps, The robes ye weave another wears, The arms ye forge another bears.

Yes; that was it. There lay the root of all the grievance, "Sic vos non vobis"; it was the eternal and continuous complaint of workers, who are also and always the poor. That verse struck the root of the trouble. You might talk of James Thomas and his refusal to join the Union. James Thomas did not matter much. He was only the occasion. Those words on the banner-they were the cause. "The occasion of revolts may be small," said the old philosopher; "the cause is never small." And here was a revolt-a revolt against conditions no longer to be endured. "Sic vos non vobis"-that was the cause.

Gazing at the banners, and conversing almost silently in short and improper language, the great crowd waited. It was long past noon, and many dropped, for they had stood there since early morning, and food was scarce. At last the Strike Committee arrived, and amid general stir and crowding, Godfrey, the carman, took his stand as chairman upon the wall. "Five to two points we have won. The odds are five to two on," he cried, exulting in Sir Edward Clarke's decisions, and the crowd shouted applause, though all knew the fact before. One by one, for five minutes each, he called up the well-known leaders-great names suddenly made, as happens in all war: Harry Gosling, handsome, gray-haired, quiet, and urging determination, so that the settlement might be final; Ben Tillett, the Napoleon of strikes, short, big-chested, energetic in every movement, very Napoleonic in face and manner, and singularly unlike the English working man, a revolutionist in nature, passionate in eloquence and appeal; Jemmy Anderson, the stevedore, a large and well-set man, carefully

dressed, with white shirt and blue tie, fit for the coming visit to the Board of Trade; Harry Orbell, the born secretary and organizer of the party, urging to peace, but peace with honor; Ted Leggatt, the humorist, full of memories of the great days of old when, in the famous strike for the "docker's tanner," he had stood side by side with "Jack Burns" on that self-samne coping aud denounced the capitalist and the Government; and then at the end, a woman, a Mrs. Boyce, speaking alone among the host of men, for this was a woman's question too.

So each spoke the allotted five minutes, and each was answered by the determined shout of all that clothcapped audience. But what was the upshot of all they said? Apart from side-issues of police and soldiers, apart from the case of James Thomas (which hardly came in) and of some similar cases (on which there might have been some mistake), the upshot of it all was the charge of bad faith against the employers. What was the good of all those agreements last August, if the terms were not to be observed? The men had struck, they had suffered, they had been smoothed down, they had concluded agreements signed by both sides. They had kept their agreements, but point by point the employers-the worser sort of employers-had shuffled out. They had cut down wages, or refused the extra wage for overtime; they had paid "ship" work at the same rate as "quay" work; they had stopped the pay for dinner-hour, and altered the "times of call," so that men were kept hanging about the dock gates for hours in vain, or only got a short day in the

The Nation.

end; and they paid for oversea traders at the same rate as for coasters. Here were proofs of bad faith, and no one could deny them. You may bear overwork, you may bear low pay; but bad faith is not to be endured. That is the injustice that turns the coward's blood to flame. All else can be endured, but injustice never. The agreements of last August had been hurried. The strikers, in their anxiety for peace and work, had hustled the leaders into premature concessions. They had listened too readily to the smooth words of the Right Honorable John Burns, their old leader, who had gone up in the world till he was out of sight. Never again. There must be no hurry this time, no hustling of the men who fought their cause. This time the settlement must be final.

So they spoke, eloquently, and amid applause. That was the upshot of it all, as far as the immediate occasion went. But underneath all the speeches one heard the deeper note of the ultimate cause. Why should the men and women who do the work of the kingdom hardly escape starvation, while some two or three millions go through life rich, comfortable, wellhoused, and never hungry beyond a pleasing appetite for dinner? Can no fairer sharing-out of decency and good conditions be in some manner arranged? "The seed ye sow another reaps"; "Sic vos non vobis"—are those old sayings among the eternal laws of God and Nature? Or, if not, how shall they be revised? Those are now the questions of Tower Hill, and, indeed, of all the world.


I was really pleased when my wife decided to write a novel, not because I had any reason to entertain a very deep regard for her literary abilities, but because it has always seemed to me that the practice of novel-writing should be reserved for the fair sex as a safe and suitable outlet for the flights of imagination to which they are undeniably prone.

I listened to the first two chapters wearing an expression, practised before the glass, of melancholy but affable sobriety which I calculated would be most acceptable to my wife; but as she proceeded I began, to my great astonishment, to experience a sense of indefinable disquiet. It was not till we were in the middle of chapter iii. that enlightenment pierced through my uneasy placidity and I understood. As she read, in fact, a sudden picture flashed across my mind of a little boy in a sailor suit wrenching his hand from his nurse and dashing across the road to disport himself in the delicious feathery spray of a passing water-cart. To understand the true relevancy of this it must first be explained that the little boy was myself, and, secondly, that this escapade was only one of many which my nurse utilized as the basis of romances luring and alarming in character. Thus almost every night my nurse would tell me of the doings of another little boy, of the awful judgments that befell him and of the indescribably evil workings of his mind. True, this little boy bore a different name from mine, he even wore kilts instead of sailor suits; but I knew --and, knowing, my tongue was tied. To defend the actions or even the motives of the kilted fellow was to let the cap fit-to admit part-ownership of his depraved little mind. Never shall I forget the sense of impotent misery

with which these romances inspired me, and now gradually, in chapter iii., it was being borne in upon me that those same youthful sensations were reproducing themselves in my manly breast.

My wife's novel, entitled, "Just a Wife," pivoted, as might be expected, round a lady of that vocation, and expanded upon the sufferings and trials that she experienced at the hands of a soulless husband. The husband was, so the novelist was at pains to assure the incredulous reader, at heart an honest, kindly fellow, but lacking in all the subtle and essential qualities which would have enabled him to appreciate the delicate machinery of (I quote) his wife's finely-poised, sensitive mentality. It is true that his name was Hector, that he had black curls and wore a red tie; but, oh, in other respects, with what savagery did the fellow pursue his distorted mimicry of me! My wife laid down chapter iii. with a sigh and gave me a searching glance.

"Well, dear?" she said.

I cleared my throat.

"The psychology is remarkable," I suggested.

"Of the wife or the husband, do you mean?" inquired my wife sweetly. "The husband hasn't got any," I said.

"Oh, yes, he has." She gave a peculiar little smile. "He's very human really, you know."

"Then perhaps you've exaggerated him a little," I ventured.

"I don't think so," said my wife sadly; "I'm afraid not. He was quite a good fellow, you know, but he just didn't understand."

"Well, it was rather a tough job for him to understand that woman," I observed aggressively.

"He certainly found it so," agreed

my wife; "that was just the trouble." "For instance," I proceeded, "if she had explained to Hector that she had invited her mother and sister to stay purely with the object of giving him pleasure I don't believe that terrible scene would ever have occurred."

"When one does a thoughtful and unselfish action," returned my wife reproachfully, "one doesn't want to go and spoil it by explaining how thoughtful and unselfish it was."

That was rather a poser. "Well then," I pursued, "when she tidied up his papers she never let him know that she had stayed at home to do it, instead of keeping a most delightful engagement, solely because she thought he would be too tired to do it himself when he came home. Hector was ratty about that because he simply thought that she had been suffering from a tidying-up mood and had been officious."

My wife eyed me suspiciously. "You plead his cause very well," she said coldly.

I pulled myself together. Very narrowly had I missed fitting on the cap!

"Of course I've no patience with the fellow," I protested. "Great cumbersome unimaginative lout! but still I think you have a little bit neglected to give his point of view."

"I have tried to give the impression that he was just a creature of instinct," explained my wife.

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Left to myself, I drew up a chair to the fire and lighted a cigarette. For several moments I had been conscious that right at the back of my mind lay something-a vague recollection, an experience, a pigeon-holed discovery, I knew not what, that it was essential I should straightway lay my hands upon. Slowly, beautifully, the smoke curled up and hung in a little haze before my eyes. Somehow I must find that elusive thing.

Ah! What was that little boy in a sailor suit saying to his nurse? "If you tell me a story, Nannie, I'm going to tell you one, too." And the story? It told of a nurse who spoke crossly to little boys for no reason, who did up buttons that were too tight for them, who put soap in their eyes out of pure cussedness, who scratched them with needles that she wore in her apron. These and a thousand other instances of inhumanity went to furnish the stories which that little boy had eventually hit upon as the only possible device for self-defence and retaliation. I had found what I wanted.

I crossed to my writing-table and drew a sheet of foolscap before me. To-morrow I shall read to my wife

"So of course he hadn't got a point the first chapter of my novel, entitled, of view?" said I. "Just a Husband."



It would be, perhaps, unwise to assert that Browning is not read in Italy at all. The interest in all things English is as keen in Italy at present as it But one may safely say that of all the great English poets he is

ever was.

the only one unacquaintance with whom educated Italians confess to without shame. Yet Italy never had a truer or a more high-souled lover. Compare the rapturous lines in "De Gustibus" with the patriotic lines of Filicaia and



you will find that the love of Italy rings far truer in the Englishman's than in the verse of the Italian. alleged obscurity and the unquestionable difficulty of some of Browning's poetry cannot be accepted as the final causes of the present neglect, for if a reader's difficulties were to be the touchstone of foreign fame much of "Faust" and much of the "Divine Comedy" would remain unknown outside their native countries. Some Browning's poems, moreover, which bear more directly on Italian subjects"Andrea del Sarto," "De Gustibus," "The Italian in England," for instance -are amongst the simplest of his works. It is far more just to suppose that his strong personality, the dissimilarity between him and any other Italian poet, stand in the way of Italian appreciation. It has been often remarked that the ties which unite Italian to English literature are not less strong or deep than the political friendship beween the two nations. Apart from the fact that the two greatest poets born since the Classical Age belong one to England and the other to Italy (Goethe, it might be suggested, has a strong claim to be considered third, but he is too near our own time to be safely classed in the same category), most English poets find a more or less fitting counterpart in an Italian poet. To Milton the Italians oppose Tasso; to Spenser, Ariosto; to Pope, Parini; to Keats, Leopardi. But one searches the history of Italian letters in vain for a writer resembling, even remotely, Robert Browning. This very personality, which forms one at least of the obstacles of the Italian reader, enabled him to penetrate aspects of Italian life which but for him would have been lost to us. The story of Sordello, the dramas on which Pippa's song works its magic, would have been bare, empty outlines of Italian stories without the life with which the

poet's rich fancy breathed into them. Most of the men who visited Italy before the unity found there neither more nor less than they expected to find. Byron expected the greatness of past ages, and he saw it even in the fierceness of the Italian criminal. Berlioz, longing for the freedom of the lawless life in the mountains, found the brigands in the neighborhood of Rome a stimulus to musical composition. Italy, however, had other men besides heroic criminals and brigands. There were men who knew the spur of a noble ambition without possessing the genius necessary to its accomplishment. There were others who could not trust the future and did not believe in the possibilities of the present, who doubted and held back; others, again, who pressing too eagerly forward were destined to perish in useless sacrifice. There were country people, simple souls to whom any notion of a drastic change was abhorrent, who yet could, like the woman in "The Italian in England," understand devotion and become themselves noble with sublime simplicity. There were corrupt noblemen and Government officials. Browning seems to have entered Italy without any preconceived idea, without anticipations and without prejudice. During his long stay at Casa Guidi he let the soul of Italy slowly penetrate his own, and he left in the end some of the most vivid and original, if not complete, pictures of Italian life. After a short stay in Pisa the Brownings moved to Florence in 1847, and from the historic Casa Guidi they watched the struggle for national unity from the first concerted outbreak of the following year. There is no doubt that Browning's sympathies were from the first with the revolution.

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