The Chung Collection

Chung Logo

The Chung Collection

The Anvil [unknown] 1931

Item Metadata


JSON: chungpub-1.0056032.json
JSON-LD: chungpub-1.0056032-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): chungpub-1.0056032-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: chungpub-1.0056032-rdf.json
Turtle: chungpub-1.0056032-turtle.txt
N-Triples: chungpub-1.0056032-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: chungpub-1.0056032-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

Array ^ %
VOL. .^H ^k. NO. 1
f "Canadians of Oriental Race" f
/ S. PETERSKY, M.D., CM., L.M.C.C. jj
j "The Jewish Problem" j
[ "War Books—Are They Worth While ?" I
1 "The Speaking-Devil of Suboma" i
S "He Passed Through Samaria" S
.;.»-^^«» ^ «» '»  ■■ ^ «» ^^ •* ". «» '.  «»^^ .* .11 w  .. «» ^ i* .^«» *i i*>
Price 20 Cents Printed in Canada The University of British Columbia Library
Millinery Co.
nnounce their
letide Sale
and Apparel
"The Shop of Established Reputation"
ains and
Established 19 Years
"The House of Quality"
=eoS>ii THE
Editorial Board: 38 M   *1 , Published monthly by the
VERNON  VAN  SICKLE * Anvii. Publishing Company
^^m^ss^im^a, "46 Haro Street
F. C. PILKINGTON " ■ ' Vancouver, B. C, Canada
Vol. 1 January, 1931 No. 1
By Way Of Introduction
N launching a new magazine such as this on the perilous seas of journalism, it
is well to explain clearly its policy and aims.
"The Anvil" is a monthly magazine dealing with current affairs and literature,
with a special appeal to the Western Canadian viewpoint. Its columns are open to
writers of all opinions on questions of moment under an impartial editorial policy.
In brief, it is a forum in which all sides of current controversies may be fearlessly
In addition, "The Anvil" is a literary magazine, in which stories, plays, book
reviews and poems will be regular features. It wilMmis endeavour to help develop
a real Canadian literature and to encourage Canadian authors.
Nevertheless, "The Anvil" does not intend to be narrow or provincial in its
outlook. For example, in the present issue, Palestine, Africa, the Great War and
the Orient fall under its scope.
* * *
"The Anvil" does not expect all its readers to agree entirely with the opinions
expressed by its contributors. In fact, the editorial staff will be disappointed
should they do so, for in such an event the magazine will not have fully attained its
Thus, it is the intention of its founders to lay all questions of inte^^^^n
"The Anvil" to be hammered out to the satisfaction of all.
The editorial staff is deeply gratified by the response and encouragement given
it by Western Canadian writers. With co-operation such as this its success is assured. The Anvil
Canadians of Oriental Race
By Professor H. F. Angus, B.A., B.C.L., M.A.
Department of Economics, University of British Columbia
A GREAT deal has been written about the Oriental problem in BfifJsM
Columbia as a problem in immigration policy. For the moment this problem
has ceased to exist for we have adopted a policy of exclusion and restriction
that seems unlikely to be radically altered in the immediate future. There is practically no further influx of Chinese or of East Indians and Japanese immigration
has been limited to 150 a year. The effect on our economic and social life of new
arrivals from Asia is negligible.
It is not easy to determine what our exact motives were in adopting this policy
of exclusion and restriction. The free admission of labour from a low wage country
would have constituted a grave danger to the standards of living of wage-earners
in a high wage country, except at periods of very rapid economic progress. I am
inclined to think that this was the basic motive for exclusion. There, is nothing
racial about it, and it would cease to exist were per capita incomes in India^SKtnaB
and Japan to become as high as they are in Canada.
But a great deal was made in discussion of the dangers of mixing very dissimilar races in the same community. Very often three quite distincfffiraisiderations
were confused. The first was the belief that racial mixture was undesirable because
the offspring of mixed marriages was likely to be inferior in intelligence and character to either of the parent stocks. Combined with this was a repugnance to intermarriage which often outlived the belief which at first served as the pretext for it.
The second was a belief that most of the differences infciyilization between
ourselves and the peoples of India, China, and Japan were the result of racial
characteristics which would persist by inheritance from generation to generation
even in a mixed community. This belief is not now so widely held and we are
inclined to think that if all the babies born in a year in Canada were exchanged
with an equal number of babies born in Japan, and the parents played the game and
treated the changelings exactly as they would have treated their own children, all '
the Canadian born children would display Japanese mental characteristics as they
grew up and all the Japanese born children Canadian mental characteristics.
The third consideration did not, like the first two, depend on conjectural
opinions. There was a very obvious difference in civilization between the Asiatic
immigrants and ourselves which was bound to outlast the first generation. This
did give riseitpTdifficulties of the same order as those wHcii were met in China, and
for a time in Japan too, by leaving European residents to be dealt with by the law
of their own country administered in their own courts.
All these beliefs and emotions, and perhaps others as well, were summed up
in the sentence, "This is a white man's country," and in fairness we must add that
those who used this cry were quite seriously convinced that white men were better
than other men, and contributed more to the progress and development of the world.
To-day it is rather out of fashion to express this opinion but by no means unusual
to hold it.
Now that we have limited immigration from Asia to about ISO a year we are
still faced with the problem of how to deal with those whom we have admitted in
the past and with their descendants. This is not a problem in immigration but a
problem of racial minorities. Many of our immigrants have adopted our nationality
by naturalization; some had it before they came to Canada; and all children born The AnvU
here are Canadians by birth. The permanent element in our population from this
source is mainly Japanese as neither Chinese nor East Indian women have entered
Canada in large numbers.
We are confronted then with a permanent racial minority of Japanese race.
. It need not be a linguistic minority for there is as yet no demand for separate
schools or for the perpetuation of the language in preference to English. It need
not be a religious minority nor a cultural minority. In these respects it differs from
the minorities which have given most trouble in Europe. The whole intellectual and
moral outlook of this racial minority will depend on our treatment of it, and our
policy in the next few years will be of immense importance.
In the past our treatment of resident aliens of Asiatic race and of Canadians
of Asiatic race has been largely determined by our views on immigration. Now that
the question of immigration has been settled, at any rate for the time being, the
treatment of our new citizens should be carefully considered. A programme cannot
be worked out in a day but it is possible to show that some courses can lead to no
good result and these can be abandoned at once with advantage.
If a minority presents a troublesome problem one's first impulse is to get rid
of it. Turks, for instance, have massacred Armenians and deported Greeks. The
first method has never been seriously defended; the second is only a last resort when
racial conflicts have reached a stage of intense bitterness. It would be a very unsuitable way for us to deal with Canadians of Asiatic race. They would have nowhere
to go. They have no nationality but ours, for Japan now recognizes the loss of
Japanese nationality on naturalization here. Their country of racial origin would
be under no obligation to receive them. They have acquired the standard of life of
a high wage country and would suffer as much by transfer to a low wage country
as our wage-earners would suffer by unlimited immigration from Asia. Besides
they have become Canadians by our choice or our consent; and no one has seriously
charged them with any neglect of their duties as citizens, in peace or in war.
One's next impulse hide a minority that one is worried about; to keep it
out of political life by withholding the vote from it; to keep it out of the public
service by refusing its members employment; to forbid government contractors to
employ its members; and to forbid its members to enter certain occupations or at
least limit the numbers who may enter them. Although we sometimes say, "No
taxation without representation," we have no strong inhibitions against these measures and we have resorted to them all. What results ought we to expect ?
The most important step has been withholding the right to vote. No Asiatics
vote in elections in British Columbia, and with an exception for returned soldiers,
this disqualification has been adopted for federal elections in constituencies in this
province. When we were reproached with creating resentment in British India by
imposing a disability on Indians resident here, we retorted that the same Indians
could not have voted in India. China has not yet a democratic constitution. But in
Japan there is manhood (though not universal) suffrage and the percentage of
electors who vote is higher than with us.
There is, however, a good deal to be said for withholding the vote from newcomers with a civilization and with a political tradition quite different from our
own. And if we stopped at the first generation our action would hardly excite
comment. It is a far more serious matter when we withhold the vote from men and
women born in Canada, who have attended Canadian schools and in some cases
Canadian universities, and whose whole interest is centred in Canada. If we do this
we appear to set up a disability based on race alone, implying a certain inferiority.
What effect is our action likely to have on those whom,we exclude from the vote?
Does it make their Canadianization easier or harder ? their love of Canada greater
or less? their consciousness of themselves as distinct in interest from the other
Canadians less or greater? The Anvil
These questions are important. They do not merely affect the self-respect and
therefore the happiness 6f|Stfew individuals. If a minority once comes to feel that
it is subject to unfair disabilities it tends to acquire an intense solidarity and to
emphasize the very characteristics which make it a minority. It will tend to become
a cultural, and perhaps a religious, as well as a racial minority. It may retain longer
£tnanwo*thers the high birth rate which is almost universal among immigrants from
low-wage to high-wage countries.
Much has been said of the high birth rate of the Japanese in Canada. The birth
rate of the Japanese in Japan is higher than that of Canadians in British Columbia
but not higher than that of Canadians in Quebec. An immigrant group which contains few old people and few children will usually have a high birth rate in proportion to its numbers. This is especially likely if its standard of living is rising.
Usually in a generation or two it acquires the habits and customs of its neighbours
in the new country. But if it is kept apart from its neighbours this process is
A high birth rate not offset by a high death rate will in time convert a minority
into a majority and eventually into an overwhelming majority. Curiously enough
this fact is sometimes advanced as a reason for not giving the vote to Canadians of
Asiatic race. Withholding the vote will not retard the growth of population and
may even, as has been shown, tend to maintain it. And if we really are destined to
be outnumbered (and therefore eventually hopelessly outnumbered) it would seem
prudent to begin now by setting a good example in the enlightened treatment of
racial minorities! But the probabilities are that the birth rates of Japanese Canadians
and other Canadians will tend towards equality, especially, if their birthrights are
equal. And if we wish to hasten this result, nothing is more useful than friendly
social intercourse, which seems to have begun at least in the realm of sport.
The economic restrictions imposed on Canadians of Oriental race are really
very petty and very slight in their effects; though much more drastic measures have
been proposed. Carried to a logical extreme they would of course involve death by
starvation! Granted as a concession to other workers in occupations influential
enough to protect themselves in this way from a competition which they dislike,
they serve to confine Canadians of Oriental race to a limited number of occupations,
whose other members are not influential enough to have them excluded. To this
extent the workers in these occupations do suffer from unfair competition: unfair
because a competitor who has no alternative occupation (or few alternative occupations) to go to must undersell you or starve. So far the scale of these restrictions
has (except perhaps in the fishing industry) not been serious, and no great dislocation of employment would be involved in proclaiming equal opportunity for all
Canadians like to pride themselves on being able to do without the safeguards
which the American Constitution affords to the individual against the unreasonableness of the Legislature or the tyranny of the majority. We think, or like to
think, that any Canadian minority can rely on fair and considerate treatment without special constitutional protection. It is worth considering that practically every
disability which we impose on Canadians of Oriental race would be unconstjtmfiHn|H
in the United States, and beyond the constitutional powers of any State or of the
Federal Government; and that Canadians of Oriental race could say to us with
justice, "If we were both Americans by birth, instead of being both Canadians by
birth, you could not treat us as you do." The Am-il
The Jewish Problem
By S. Petersky, M.D., CM., L.M.C.C.
THE word "problem," according to the dictionary, is a noun meaning a question
for solution.    A Jewish problem would then mean a Jewish question for
solution.   The Lord knows the Jewish people, like any other people, have
plenty of problems or questions for solution.
Of these Jewish problems there are three kinds: local, national and international.
As examples of the first kind, that is, local, we have charity for the poor and
sick, Talmud Torahs (i.e. Schools), Local Synagogues. Community Centres,
Libraries, Community Chests and so on. As examples of the second kind, that is,
national, we have questions of Immigration, Emigration and Relief, like the United
.Jewish Campaign now under way in America.
As examples of the third kind, namely International: the Jews, in common
with other peoples, since the Great War, suffer from the trend of modern times in
the religious crisis. Some people, in a way, are not as religious as before. They are
questioning things more. This accounts for some lukewarmness to synagogues.
Another example of international problems is Jewish intolerance, Jewish race-
antipathy or Anti-Semitism. This stands'head and shoulders above all other Jewish
problems. Therefore I call it THE JEWISH PROBLEM.
Other Jewish problems pale into insignificance beside it. This is recognized by
both Jew and Gentile, as is evidenced by such things as, for example, the length of
the run of Ann Nichol's play entitled "Abie's Irish Rose," and the solutions
suggested and tried by both Jew and Gentile since the Diaspora, when it began to
assume the aspects of a problem affecting both for over two thousand years. Both
sides are anxious for a solution and relief from this condition. All solutions tried
so far have failed. (However I shall go into this phase of the question a little more
fully later on.)
It was this problem that became crystallized on the mind of Dr. Theodore
Herzl as he watched the "Dreyfus Affair" in France in 1895, when he was there
as a newspaper correspondent. He promulgated Zionism as the modern solution.
He came to the conclusion that all other solutions were only of the symptomatic
variety of treatment, with some mitigation of the disease, it is true, but did not get
at the cause of the disease, Anti-Semitism itself. He wanted a cure that would do
away with the cause like quinine does in malaria. Quinine kills the Plasmodium
M-alariac, the cause, in the blood of the patient suffering from malaria, and then
there is no more malaria in that patient. How to do this with Anti-Semitism? That
was his problem. That is your problem and my problem, our problem. So the
first thing to do was, and is, to find the cause of this condition of Anti-Semitism.
What is the reason of Anti-Semitism? What is the psychology of Anti-
Semitism? Dr. Israel I. Wechsler (Associate in Neurology, Columbia University
and of the Medical School of the Hebrew University, Palestine) tells us that the
Jew wishes to live culturally and religiously as a race, to maintain his identity,
among his non-Jewish fellow-citizens. Can this be done? And, can it be done
without antipathy? These are the questions that have been in the solving for over
two thousand years. Have we solved it at last by Zionism, or not? It is earnestly
to be hoped that such is the case, for a solution is very necessary for the sake of
racial harmony. The Anznl
Let us examine the different solutions for tfaefrplief of Anti-SemjHSffisuggested
and tried hitherto and also the modern solution called Zionism..
1.   Assimilation
Assimilation; we find, has two meanings: first, "bring into harmony with, in
EgSenxent with" i.e., not necessarily one becoming part of the other; and second,
"absorb, make part of the whole," for example, a man eats an apple, it becomes
assimilated. According to this second meaning, in the example, it ceases to be an
apple and becomes part of the man himself and not to be differentiated as anything
else, and least of all as apple.
The Jew desires assimilaHon according to the first meaning, and hitherto has
■renBgwery energy toward that end, but it has been found impossible.   The Gentile
will have none of it.   He desires the kind of assimilation according to the second
meaning, saying that the first kind gives him racial indigestion which results in
a nasty temper and intolerance, in this case, Anti-Semitism.
The Gentile wishes the Jew to come all the way to him. He, not only, will
not come all the way himself, but not even half way to the Jew. He says "We
are in the majority and the Jew must give way in his religion and culture completely
and take ours." And the problem being irksome and unpleasant to him also, he
has tried, and is still trying, to solve it, in some places, by making the Jew come the
whole way with methods varying from almost tolerance to the rankest intolerance.
In a tolerant country: in a passive manner, he .tries to persuade the Jew as
well as to convert him, hiding the motive behind a pleasant smoke-screen.
In a less tolerant country: there are special legal and other restrictions which
are admittedly aimed out and out against the Jew. Here they do not even try to ■
use a smoke-screen behind which the hidden motive may lurk, but that motive is
shown conspiciously and undisguised.
' Some -countries have tried ptrvslcal indignities, even unto torture, while the
worst countries have only deathiffsglf for the Jew in the form of massacres and
The worst method, a refinement of torture, is through the spirit, or soul
perhaps. Break a,man's spirit and he is dead, although alive physiologically. This
is done by ridicule, for example, in the case of the Jew: calling attention to abnormally long trousers affected by some, the whiskers affected by others, the prominent nasal organ that God gave (an Oriental feature, by the way, not necessarily
Jewish), waving upper extremities when .talking, and so on. This ridicule goes on
in the street, in the press, on the stage, in moving picture films, and by all methods
used for the distribution of ideas. This makes one feel, as the heroine did in "The
Branded Woman," written by Mrs. Burt, that it was not always the one who
applied physical torture that hurt the worst. Being a proud race, and also being
imbued with a very firm involuntary reason, (which I shall refer to later on), this
attempt to wear the Jew down into giving way ends only in a firmerjr|sistance on
his part and further unpleasantness on the other side. The desired end is not
This forced assimilation for the Jews spells failure only.
2.   A Form of Voluntary "Race Suicide,"
Some Gentiles, realizing that the Jews could not be forced to assimilate according to their interpretation of the term, say to the Jews, "Why not be good
sports and commit a sort of 'Race Suici^lyoluntarily as a .fg^fto humanity, and
end a situation intolerable to both of us ?" TfiSIjews were good enough sports to
try this. They tried it in Spain, before and during the Inquisition, but it failed
in its objective.   The problem of intolerance toward them^jmained. The Anvil
3. A Solution From Within
Realizing as well as the Gentiles that this condition of two thousand years
|tarfdihg was intolerable to both sides, the Jews tried to solve the problem from
within, at the beginning of the nineteenth century. This movement started in
Germany. They proceeded to reform themselves and their religion so as to conform to their environment, and it failed. Apparently it was merely a more subtle
way, a slower way, of dissolution of the Jewish race, a pleasant way of dying, a
sort of racial Euthanasia, yet, curiously, it also failed in its objective. So to those
who advocate this as a solution, I would point out that this gradual change, in easy
stages, from within, is not a new method or a successful one. It reminds one of
the Roman suicides we read about in such books as "Quo Vadis." A Roman
would-be suicide would take a perfumed bath, open a vein and surround himself
with the charmers of his harem to soothe his death. In other words, it may be a
pleasant method but it means oblivion just the same.
4.   Zionism as a Cure
I repeat, the Jew, realizing the intolerable situation to both sides, keeps on
trying cure after cure, like a patient with a chronic affliction, and he is now taking
the modern one of Zionism. This has the virtue of not being haphazard, like the
former remedies, and is based on science, so that he has a glimmer of hope that
perhaps he has hit on it this time. Zionism is Herzl's solution. He claimed that
to prevent this impossible assimilation for those Jews who will not become part of
their environment, and to remove them from the intolerance attendant thereto, a
legalized homeland must be again provided, as before the Diaspora,, where they
can go. And, as the Jews are a sentimental race, that land must again be Palestine
of course.
Thomas Nixon Carver, professor of political economy, Harvard, in his review of Elisha M. Friedman's book entitled "Survival or Extinction" (which is a
plea for'.'Zionism) tells us:
"It is a basic fact in Biology that any change in environment is followed by
one of three results—(1) Assimilation or the adaption of the organism, (2) Physical migration out of the new environment or (3) Death."
Then, in terms of Sociology, applied to the Jews, any change of environment
will be followed by one of three results—(1) Amalgamation, with loss of identity,
or assimilation, (2) Migration to Palestine, or (3) Death or Extinction.
As death or extinction is undesirable and out of the question, the choice lies
between assimilation or Zionism. Therefore the only conclusion one can come to
is that those who wish to preserve the racial identity must migrate to Palestine and
the rest, willy-nilly, will be assimilated in time. There appears to be no other solution in sight. It is only fair to state that some Jewish thinkers do not agree with
this. '       ?§m*£
To live (to maintain their identity) as a race in the midst of non-Jewish nations,
the Jews have to prevent intermarriage between Jew and non-Jew among the
young. This is getting to be more and more difficult, and will be increasingly so as
generation follows generation. For some of the reasons, I need only again to refer
you to "Abie's Irish Rose." Even when this prevention of intermarriage is accomplished successfully, it is only temporary and creates antipathy. Drawing class
lines on one side creates antipathy on the part of the other, and much more so
when both sides play the same dangerous game. This inevitable race hostility will
continue until the inevitable amalgamation or assimilation takes place in time, but,
in the meantime, there will be intolerance in some degree or other.
This is not a perfect world. We still have war and will continue to have war
until human nature changes.   Not until then will antipathy cease to create antipathy, The Anvil
so, as long as the Jews try to perpetuate their race in any land among a majority of
non-Jewish people, they will create antipathy and, in return, will suffer from
The Jews are not the only ones that have suffered, and are suffering, from
intolerance. But, being scattered all over the world for over two thousand years,
they get more than their share of it, and have endured it, for over twenty centuries
continuously in one portion of the globe or another. To-day it is Spain, to-morrow
in Germany, then Poland, Russia or Roumania, and so it continues indefinitely.
To mention a few other examples of intolerance we find:
White people versus white people. The Quakers suffered from intolerance
until they allowed intermarriage. The Christians suffered at the hands of the
Pagans in the early days of Christianity, and from one another at the time "when
knighthood was in flower." To-day they suffer at the hands of the Mahommedans
in Armenia; the Moslems, at the hands of the GfijUtiaris in French-mandated Syria.
White people versus yellow people, where we have the Oriental questions in
California and British Columbia, and the reverse in China and Japan.
White people versus the negro race, as in the coloured question in the United
What.'tliegmAs the salvation of the Jewish race?
More Jews left Palestine voluntarily than were driven out during the Diaspora.
Only compulsion would again drive all the Jews back to Palestine. In these enlightened times, compulsion is not even to be considered, but a "Saving-Remnant"
of the Jewish race would go, and is going, back voluntarily to Palestine. They will
preserve the racial identity, which is impossible elsewhere. ■
The rest of them will be amalgamated where they live, in time, and lose their
identity as a race. This must have happened in China. Some travelers in the
interior of China found a synagogue with the Jewish Torah (the religious Law
Scrolls) as well as books printed in Hebrew, but no Jews, as such, among the inhabitants. All were Chinese and not one of them could read the books or scrolls,
nor could they say where these things came from. There must have been Jews
there at some time or other, who became assimilated with the predominating class
of inhabitants and lost their identity as a race. Yet these Chinese kept these Jewish
relics, although all they could say about them was that their fathers before them
took care of them and taught them to do so.
A prominent professor of anthropology of the Institute of Pacific Relations
tells us: "Whether we whites like it or not, our destiny is to amalgamate with the
Orientals in time, even though we can, and will fight it off for several generations."
Then, what chance do the Jews {Stand of not being amalgamated with the other
whites, when they are of the white race themselves? The Jews, also, may fight off
this inevitable amalgamation in North America for several generations by what is
known as the Menorah Movement, the latest remedy for the Jews remaining, in
America and not going back to Palestine.  I
Zionism is the establishment of a new capital of Internationalism at Jerusalem.
There are other kinds of Internationalism, for example, the Roman Catholic
Church, with its capital, the Vatican at Rome, and the League of Nations, with its
capital at Geneva. Both the Roman Catholics and the League of Nations demand
the loyalty of a group of citizens of all nations, and no one dreams for a moment
of questioning their loyalty, as good and useful citizens of the countries in which
they live.
The Jews have a legally-recognized homeland since the Balfour Declaration.
All that is required now is the moral support of both Jew and Gentile, to which it
is entitled, as it is the solution for a situation intolerable to both of them, as well The Anvil
as the financial support of the Jews in order to make their homeland habitable and
to maintain it for the immigration of Jews. Thus can they continue their identity
as a race, by preserving their old cultural and spiritual heritage in a new international garb, by colonizing that "Saving-Remnant" that is going back, and going
back voluntarily, to Palestine. These Jews are going there so that they may live
without assimilation or amalgamation, as well as without race-antipathy, intolerance
or Anti-Semitism, in the only way possible: under their own Hebrew flag, their
children going to Hebrew schools, and with a Hebrew university where the official
language is Hebrew. Thus, can, and will, the Jews fulfil their Biblical destiny,
. without offence to any other race or nation.
There seems to be a belief in a Biblical destiny for the Jewish race, an opinion
or belief, also shared by others of non-Jewish extraction, which is interwoven into
the very fabric of every Jew to such an extent that he will suffer any intolerance,
even unto death, rather than give it up. It is a sort of Driving Force within him.
You cannot stamp this out, but you can control, mould or harness it.
What is a Driving Force? It is something you cannot destroy but which you
can harness or mould for good. For example, lightning—a form of electricity—is
.a Driving Force. You cannot destroy electricity but you can harness it so that
you can heat and light your houses with it. You can drive motors with it. You
can cook with it. You can transmit speech, music, pictures with it. This is an
example of a Driving Force from without ourselves.
Another kind of Driving Force is the kind within ourselves such as the
Hunger Drive and the Sex Drive. So, in this case under consideration, with the
Jew, everything with him must give way to this Driving Force zvithin himself,
which for convenience, we shall designate "fulfilling his Biblical destiny," whatever
that may be. He, himself, cannot destroy or stamp it out. Others cannot destroy
or stamp it out. Destroying it has been tried, as I have already shown you, and it
has failed, of course. And the pity of it is, not only that such attempts fail, but
that they leave antipathy on both sides in their wake. The problem cannot be
solved in that way.   It is sheer folly to try it.
Being a Driving Force, the only way then (it seems to me) would be to handle
it Hke-we would any other Driving Force, like we do electricity for example. Let
us harness this Driving Force of "Biblical Destiny" and mould it to our heart's
desire for good and harmony on both sides. This would be the part of wisdom.
So let us be wise on both sides and help each other in solving,what I call the
JEWISH PROBLEM. It would be a step in the right direction, towards what
we all so earnestly desire, international good-will on earth.
Dost thou accent
The generosity of friend or foe
As tribilte earned?
Fie on thy soul
Who in her crucible still hoards base dross
Marring the gold of pure discernment. War Books—Are They Worth While ?
By Noel Robinson
ARE War books directly harmful? Should they be censored before publication ? Do they tell the truth about the war ? Does the piling up of horrors
in some of these books inculcate a hatred of war? Do such books stimulate
the military spirit ? Is^-to take for an example—the unprecedented sale of "All
Quiet on the Western Front" a calamity—regarded from the moral angle—or a
blessing—regarded as a warning ? ,
These, and'a score of other questions, are upon the tongues of hundreds of
thousands of people as the present spate of war books flows from the presses of the
nations which were the chief participants in the Great War.
As I sit down to write this article I pick up two local newspapers. In one I
find a news item under a Rome date-line which states "All Quiet on the Western
Front," in its English translation, has been officially banned in Italy, and the French
version of this war story, as well as the volumes in the original German, are expected to be removed from the libraries and book stores as "the government considers Remarque's book so pacifistic as to militate against the Facsist love for
action." (The Italian government had previously refused a Milan publisher permission to sell 500,000 copies of this book which he had had printed last winter
and so the Italian public has been reading the book in translation). In«the other
newspaper, under a Cardiff, Wales, date-line, I find it stated that, at the annual
conference of the British Legion the view was expressed that war should, in no
circumstances, be made the subject of works of fiction, and that the conference
went on record as condemning books "in which the author does not draw upon
actual facts and personal experiences."
Only the other day an English lady of title wrote a foolish, if well-meaning,
article (reproduced in a Vancouver newspaper) condemning war books lock, stock
and barrel, because she had found those that she had read distasteful.
It is clear, therefore, that there is a great diversity of opinion upon this subject, and it should be equally clear that it is unwise to generalise upon the subject.
Some war books are bad and have a bad influence. Others are good and have a
valuable influence. No person of intelligence will approve or condemn in a wholesale manner.
As one who has read a number of representative war books from the pens of
writers of several countries, and who has also read, conscientiously, reviews from
many of the ablest pens of most of the war books that have been written, I would
like to express the conviction that, taken by and large, there cannot be any question
that this spate of war books has been all to the good, both as conscious and unconscious anti-war propaganda and as—in the majority of cases—a fairly authentic
record of the life of the average soldier upon various fronts. QjjE'ourse some of
these books, while claiming to give "the truth about the war," do not do so. Others
include a great deal of "tripe." In some there is appalling inaccuracy. In others
there is a lack of proportion. But, despite these shortcomings, these books, as a
whole, are a sufficiently correct picture from which the people who were not there,
and the rising generation, may judge what the war was like. While unhesitatingly
condemning a few of the more recent war books which, it would appear, are filled
with little else than horrors and disgusting details calculated to promote the sale of
these books, I would point out—what is obvious to students of literature of the
Great War—that these constitute a small minority, whereas the war books which The Anvil
have become best known are, in the main, those which have painted war as it is,
a nightmare only redeemed by comradeship, heroism and humour.
. War may be hell (as Sherman is reported to have stated), but to paint it
Bwittiout redeeming features puts the writer in the same class as Katherine Mayo in
her able, but one-sided, book "Mother India," which, by limning only the black
side of Indian life, presented an unfair picture of that life, even though it was, as
Arnold Bennett observed, a tremendous and as yet unanswered indictment of a
civilization. Atrocious as the Great War was in most of its aspects—and as all
wars must be—there will be found few who saw it, and saw it whole as front line
soldiers—and these are the combatants whose opinion upon this point is of real
value—who will not admit that it had some redeeming features. The greatest of
these was the splendid spirit of comradeship which it developed, such comradeship
as few of us are ever likely to experience again in the sophisticated atmosphere of
tcity life, or even in the more favorable atmosphere of the wilds.
Because it is the most talked-of war book of all; because opinions, not of ex-
soldiers only but of the general public as well, differ most when condemning or
praising it; and because this argument for or against war books may fairly be said
to stand or fall in its relation to this particular book, I propose to say a word or
two about "All Quiet on the Western Front," although it is not the finest war
novel written by a German (that distinction must go to Zweig with "The Case of
Sergt. Grischa" and there is every reason to suppose that this author, had he
been permitted to see front-line service, would have written the outstanding novel
of the war). Before doing so, however, let me mention in passing the names of a
number of outstanding war books—I could mention others but these will suffice—
which, if no others had been written, may be taken as admirably representative of
what the war was. I will not, on account of the limitations of space, differentiate
as between authentic experiences and war novels:
"Under Fire" (Barbusse), "Undertones of War" (Blunden), the "Spanish
Farm Trilogy" (Mottram), "Gallipolig (Masefield), "The Bitter End" (Brophy),
"Zero Hour" (Grabenhorst), "The Case of Sergt. Grischa" (Zweig), "Good-bye
to All That" (Graves), "My Seventy-Five" (Lintier), "The Somme" (Grist-
wood), "The Way of Revelation" (Ewart), "All Else is Folly (Acland), "Wooden-
Crosses" (Dorgeles), "These Men Thy Friends" (Thompson), "Five Years in
Turkey" (General Liman Von Sanders), "The Path of Glory" (Blake), "Rough
Justice" (Montague), "The Silence of Colonel Bramble" (Maurois), "The Secret
Battle" (Herbert), "Her Privates We" (Manning), "The Cavalry Went Through"
(Newman), "Why Stand We Here" (Godwin), "The Memoirs of an Infantry
Officer" (Sassoon) and "The Death of a Hero" (Aldington). Probably the reader
will not have heard of a number of these (two of which, those by Acland and
Bjroflwin, are by Canadians), but he can take it that all are worth reading and some,
such as the "Spanish Farm Trilogy," "Th Bitter End," "The Memoirs of an Infantry Officer," and "GalHpoli" (to pick out four at random) are literature.
However, for one or two who have read one or other of these books, dozens
will have read "All Quiet," which has had the greatest circulation any book has
ever achieved and which has been translated into almost every language as well
as having been put on the movies. Without being a great novel it is, without
question, an exceptionally powerful novel of the war, is full of a broad and
genuine humanity, and its translation is masterly. "But," argue its critics, "It is in
some places brutal and coarse." Well, the war upon every front, despite all that
can be said about its heroism, comradeship and humor, was brutal and coarse.
"Probably it was," is the reply of the critic—often the man or woman who was
not there—"but that is no reason why the finer feelings of women readers, particularly, should be shocked by the use of words and presentation of situations
which are disgusting—war can be pictured without that." Probably it can—and
personally I am inclined to this point of view—but I would not dream, on that The AnvilW^
account, of condemning a book which gives such a true picture of war as "All
Quiet" does, or, on the count—which has been put forward as a criticism—that it
paints the German soldier as something of a beast. As a matter of fact it does
not paint him in that light, though it does paint him as one who, dragooned through
the army and living in and out of the trenches in an atmosphere of mud and lice
and blood, developed into something of an animal. But it also pictures him as a
Above all it illustrates the devastating effect of war upon youth, and the moving
picture of this book—robbed of much of the coarseness of some passages in the
book itself—is probably the most realistic argument against war which has ever
been put on the screen. Of course in this—as in "Journey's End"—it has been
necessary to compress a great deal of action into a short space of time, but I do not
think, in either case, that this detracts or gives a false impression. Of this film,
* E. .V.Lucas, writing in "Punch," observes that "This version of Remarque's classic^
now being presented in London is so American as to be, to English ears—or at any
rate to mine—a sharp surprise." He argueslthat when the translations are of peace
stories it is satisfactory for, say, the American film people to present drama, but
that it is a totally different thing with a war film. He does not consider that
the war as conceived by a German and dealing with German soldiers should be
presented by performers drawn from the nations whom those German soldiers were
fighting—except if the film is silent.
I confess I cannot agree with this angle.   And although there were times when
the film "All Quiet" was damaged for me by an American flavor—the illusionftriaTa
it was German being temporarily destroyed—in the main I think the film was
supremely well-presented.
It is my desire in this brief discussion to deal as fairly as possible with "All
Quiet," and for that reason I am going to introduce a personal note by quoting from
a letter I have received from Brigadier-General Victor Odium, with whom I have
been recently engaged in a (to me) interesting discussion by correspondence about
this book. Prompted by a rather sweeping condemnation of the book which he
interpolated into a review of General Seely's book "Adventure," I wrote him protesting. He replied at some length and I wrote in reply at greater length. I do not
think my correspondent will mind my quoting this paragraph from his last letter
as it is a very fair summing-up of his point of view.
"Putting it briefly I would say this: To my mind the average common soldier,
as I knew him, was not of the type painted by Remarque. It is true that you can
analyze Remarque's book and take incident after incident and description after
description, and prove that each in turn is accurate, or nearly so. At the same
time, the whole broad outline, as I see it, is a travesty. It leaves a certain impression, and that impression is a nasty one. It is an impression of immorality, crude-
ness and selfishness. The picture I carry is one of loyal friendships, good humour
and courage, with elements of the other things in the background rather than in
the foreground." Elsewhere the General remarks "We all see war, as we see
everything else, acc&ming to our own characters. Remarque's book, to me, is as
if one took a blemish on a beautiful face and -described the face in terms of that
In retrospect my own impression of the war (as my correspondent asserts of
his) is one of loyal friendships, good humour and courage, but it is mixed with so
much else that these are to me the redeeming features only. One has to be egotistical
in order to get down to brass tacks. During two years and eleven months in France
and Flanders, which I spent in the ranks, almost continually in and out of the
trenches, these qualities among my comrades stand out supremely. But where I
differ from General Odium is the extent to which these things redeemed a life
which was not only dangerous but which was—particularly in the front area—a The Anvil
filthy business. As we get further from the war there is—even among those of us
who detested it—a tendency to remember chiefly the redeeming features and to
give them a place out of proportion to the reality. They were merely incidentals.
It requires a picture like "All Quiet" to bring us back to the real thing.
It is argued that war books like "All Quiet on the Western Front," and others
which though they may be less coarse in some of the expressions used, are in reality
salacious and have become notorious through painting the average soldier as a brute
and immoral, are unfair to the soldier. The latter most certainly are. It is probable
that there was more immorality among the civilian populations than there was
among the soldiers, thoughit was often cloaked. And there was far less excuse.
During the war ordinary standards of morality often "went by the board." It is
unfortunate that, through the publication of certain deplorable war books, the impression has got abroad that the average soldier was completely brutalized by war
conditions. Admitting that this did happen in certain cases, nothing could be
farther from the truth taken as a whole.
"All Quiet," while in the main true of the war and its psychology upon both
sides of the western front, is not a photographic reproduction of the life and reactions of the private soldier among, for instance, the Canadian rankers—it is on the
whole grosser and more sombre. It is clear from this and other books by Germans
that they lacked much of the humor which was such a feature of the British and
which helped so greatly towards the winning of the war. But nevertheless it is
a true picture of war and it contains two incidents which will probably linger
lastingly in the reader's memory, the scene of horror in the shell-hole- and the
German youth's experiences on leave culminating in one of the most poignant
scenes in any war book, the sick mother's farewell to her boy—a scene which might
have been sentimental but, instead, is epic.
Despite this I do not think "All Quiet" has the lasting qualities of literature—
nor has "Journey's End," fine' though it is. Such qualities are possessed by the
"Spanish Farm Trilogy" and a few other books in the list given earlier in this
article. But I do think it was well that Remarque wrote it and I agree with General
Sir Ian Hamilton in his praise of its author for the contribution which he has
made to war literature, rather than with the satirical comment of that clever writer
upon war topics and personalities, Captain Liddell Hart, "After reading 'All Quiet'
one wonders how the Germans lasted four years; after reading 'Storm and Steel'
how they ever came to crack up." Moreover, I do not believe for a moment that
the author—as has been suggested—wrote it solely for the purpose of making
money, for he, no more than the author of "Journey's End," could have had any
premonition of the phenominal success which would attend publication.
"We all see war, as we see everything else, according to our own characters."
There is truth in that assertion. The pessimist witnesses the grim realities of war
and hardly recognizes any redeeming features. The optimist puts on blinkers and
professes to see a silver lining even in this last titanic struggle which has not only
killed off the flower of all the countries engaged but has strewn the world with
wrecks of both sexes. We have probably seen the last great war in which trenches
will play a part, possibly the last war in which infantry will operate—prophets such
as Gibbs and Birkenhead forecast a holocaust of the civilian population from the
air, instead, unless the present insane armaments competition ceases.
To future generations such stories as "All Quiet," dealing with a war when
men still burrowed under the ground, to emerge sporadically upon the surface in an
effort to get at hand-grips with the bayonet, may suggest the prehistoric.
As to whether this and other books of the late war are calculated to help in
the prevention of future wars no one can essay more than a vague conjecture.
Personally I am inclined to think that, for a space, they may have that effect, but
. that the passage of a generation without war will be sufficient for any such effect
1 to wear away. However, even if they only help to stave off the next great war for
a few short years they will have been of some use.
The angle of this subject which has prompted the writing of this article has
been a consideration of whether the best of these books have been worth while as
presenting a fairly authentic picture of many of the phases of the greatest military
and naval struggle of all time. I think that they have been worth while and that
they do present such a picture. They have been a valuable contribution to the sum
total of human experience.
O children of the unresting sky,
What eagle-daring proves your birth!
With what gay insolence you fly,
Pale children of the unyielding earth!
Strange counterchange of gods—you rise,
Drawn by the gods beneath, you fall;
But stronger far than earth or skies,
You mount again to mock them all.
7S[pw Death himself is change, but you
Content not yet, with loftier aim
Must pierce the dumb skies, pushing.througi
Till Death himself applaud ,your game.
The unresting sky, the unresting earth—
How, born of such, shall proud men turn
To noisy quietness, cool dearth
Of all that makes a man's heart burn?
■ Frail children of the turquoise sky,
No eagles' wings with you -may range;
With what gay insolence you die,
There is no rest for you but change.
—Annie Charlotte Dalton The Anvil
The Speaking-Devil of Suboma
By Captain N. Colin Duncan
Late of the West African Frontier Force
GRASS RIVER is still no health resort, any more than the rest of that delectable land between Sierra Leone and Accra. The sojourner on its waters can
still acquire a satisfying attack of "Coast Fever," and in that region, quinine
remains the White Man's greatest friend.
Grass River rolls, as it has always done, greasily, slowly and with little noise,
past and through the mangrove roots, down to its own particular sand-barred stretch
of West African coast. Vultures still squat, ungainly and disreputable, on points
of vantage along its banks. Crocodiles continue to haunt its waters, rolling down
with the current like any tree-trunk, or sprawl on sandbanks, tails submerged and
eyes convincingly closed.
But change has come, as it was bound to come, even to Grass River.
The vultures, possibly because modern river-traffic annoys them, are seen less
along the banks. They appear to have retired definitelytfo the swamplands on
either side, where there is generally satisfactory feeding without undue interruption. Crocodiles are now only encountered along the narrower reaches, further
North, for the white man has waged war on them unceasingly, and the lower
.stretches of the river are now almost free of their sinister,.armoured bodies.
Years ago, the journey up-river could only be made in a long, unbeautiful
canoe, generally very unclean and balanced apparently by nothing but accident.
The voyager sat in the exact centre, on a curved wooden stool which grew less
and less comfortable as time passed by, and some slight protection from the sun
was afforded by a dirty crimson umbrella, which wobbled perilously and without
Motion was attained by the exertions of twelve naked paddlers, six to a side,
and a course was set and maintained by the headman, usually an elderly man and
excitable, who, from an elevated grass mat astern, weilded a species of oar, with
a great deal of unnecessary vocal clamour. Throughout the journey the motive
power would burst from time to- time into uproarious song, which was usually
punctuated by weird shrieks from the steersman,, and if the traveller finished his
' journey with nothing worse than a headache he was fortunate.
In these degenerate days, the visitor makes his way up-river in a thirty-foot
launch. A white painted craft, broad-beamed, with a gay blue and white striped
awning over its waist-deep cockpit, and a diminutive flag flapping astern. Its
steadily fussing engine is presided over by a coal-black gentleman attired in a once-
Braite singlet and far from white trousers, who objects to the term 'negro,' and
will on the slightest provocation, engage you in high converse on any current topic
Educated, he will inform you, in the Suboma Mission, and he will presently
point out for your edification, and with no little pride, the actual mission house,
standing, a square of dazzling white, in the exact centre of Suboma village, on the
left bank.
He would resent the nevertheless truthful insinuation, that only three genera-
• tions back, his ancestors customarily wore exactly two garments less than those he
is now adorned with, and the further information that Suboma was then a hotbed
IS The Anvil
of ju-ju custom, witchcraft, and general assorted devilry would merely send him
back to his pumping, panting engine room, where he would turn a broad back on
you for the remainder of the journey.
But, three generations back, Suboma was nothing but a filthy collection of
native huts, unvisited by white men and peopled by a collection of shiny black
individuals, whose main occupation cona^'d of making their peace with innumerable devils of their own irSmtion. When not so engaged, they applied themselves,
in a surprisingly effective manner, to metal work of all kinds. Sword and spear
blades, bangles, earrings, the work of the Suboma folk was known far up and
Fpj)Vj«the river. A certain primitive, but workmanlike, animal-trap of Suboma
invention remains in use to this day, along a great stretch of the Slave Coast.
In those times, Suboma had, and desired, no streets. The only open spaces
of any size in its festering collection of huts were the space outside the King's
House, and the Fetish Grove. In the first of these places, "custom" permitted the
most inhuman practises. In the second, it demanded them. Human life was
cheap, the King's word was law and onlookers took part in the celebrations with
whole-hearted glee, the more intense because they themselves were not at the
moment, occupying the position of central attraction. The victim, or star turn,
usually died without undue speed, and the audience never tired of introducing new
methods of making his exit slower and more spectacular. Mass executions were
not a practise of the simple Suboma villagers. They preferred centering their
attention on one individual at a time.   They were, in their way, artists.
In this community of singularly unprepossessing gentry, probably the least
desirable citizen was one Taba, a gentleman who, excelling in nothing whatever and
doing most things very badly indeed, managed to maintain a haphazard existence
in a dilapidated grass hut by the river bank.
Bereft, in his youth, by a gentle playmate, of his left eye, Taba was further
handicapped by a decided squint in his remaining optic. His legs were abnormally
long and undeniably bowed, and a large bald spot, carved over his right ear by a
leopard, did nothing to improve his personal appearance. Even in a community of
astonishingly unbeautiful people, Taba's lack of grace was quite marked.
Attempts had been made at instructing Taba in the mysteries of the metal
craftsman, but they failed miserably. Even when firmly attached to the bellows,
the lowest and least desirable of his tribal implements, Taba would drift gently
into a species of coma, forget to pump and would be cast out, with revilings, by his
annoyed seniors.
He became, at length, a hardly noticeable feature of the landscape, a stinker
in the shadows, a mere dodger-in-the-background at Fetish Grove affairs, a heedless, useless nobody.
He spent some of his time in fishing, which was usually considered an occupation fit only for elderly ladies, and occasionally a lucky stone would- bring down
a bird of sorts. When hunting failed, there were always wild yams, and Taba
found no difficulty in avoiding actual starvation.
And, then, when approximately twenty-one years of age, something happened
to Taba, something unprecedented and entirely marvellous.
.   Taba had an idea.
Consider it! For all those years, life had flowed past Taba, without leaving
the least imprint on his mind. Life was not particularly enjoyable, but neither was
it entirely undesirable.
One just went on.
And, then, out of nowhere, without warning, came the idea. ■
gapTA-' The Anvil
Seated on a sandstone rock by the river one afternoon, his thinking apparatus
in its usual state of complete blankness, a six-foot length of bamboo struck Taba
a brisk blow on his .right ear.
. Accustomed to abuse of all kinds, Taba stayed not to enquire, but, automatically
grasping the bamboo, leaped mightily for the nearest patch of bush, and from its
depths, turned to view his attacker. An elderly gentleman, muttering angrily, was
now squatting on the rock, endeavouring to reach a newly finished spear-head,
which, placed thereon for the River-God's approval, had been knocked aside by the
unseeing Taba. Failing to reach it from above, the elder gave vent to a further
outburst of bad language and tottered down the slope after his lost weapon. Retrieving it at length, he re-appeared, spat heartily in Taba's general direction and
departed, shuffling, to his own residence.
., Taba, crouched in his rather prickly place of refuge, watched until the other
was safely out of sight, sighed deeply, climbed out of hiding and regained his rock.
The sun was now past its greatest power, the rock was merely comfortably warm
and Taba, full length thereon, gazed idly through the bamboo, as one might peer
through a telescope. Having discovered that he could see through it, he next rolled
a small pebble down its length, and watched it drop onto the ground, narrowly
missing a large rat on the way.
The pebble bounced on into the river and the rat, unmoved, continued its up-
■EilJEIimb, arriving eventually at the bamboo's further end, into which it peered
enquiringly.   Taba, having his end near his mouth at the moment, spoke softly into
the improvised speaking-tube.
"Brah-ah," said Taba, or, as we would put it, "Come in."
The rat, startled, backed hurriedly, and awaited further developments.
But there was for a long time no further movement or sound from above, for
Taba was now in the throes of the beginnings of his great idea. Taba had realized
that the rat was watching, not him, where he lay on the rock, but the river-ward
end of the bamboo.
"Hah!" thought Taba, "Behold, my voice talks from there, while I am here!"
This was something entirely new in Taba's experience, and remained in what
passed for his mind all that afternoon and evening. He was still considering the
episode when he stole an infant turkey from the gentleman whose spearhead he had
nearly lost, earlier in the day, but almost forgot it when the turkey's owner called
on him just at the completion of the evening meal, and proceeded to pull down a
great deal of Taba's hut as a protest.
Of course, Taba objected, but he only did so in his customary half-hearted
manner, and, on the withdrawal of his snarling victim, returned to what was left
of his dwelling, there to squat awhile and muse further on his discovery. On any
other evening his mind would have been a complete, satisfying blank, but on this
occasion he was really attempting to think. Despairing at length of understanding
actually how his voice could be removed a spears-length from his body, he descended to more ordinary matters.
He considered the rounded, well-built form of his unfriendly neighbour's hut.
A good hut, clearly watertight and all that his own was not.
Passing from this, he considered the also well-rounded form of his neighbour's
daughter, and meditated on that damsel's attractions for some minutes, as she
passed to and from the river on her usual evening trip for water.
"A hut like that, and a daughter like that," thought Taba, and idly rolled the
bamboo under one horny footsole.
Truly, this elderly, shrill-voiced wild-cat had too many of this world's blessings.
17 The Anvil
If only some species of blight could descend on that bald and nodding head.
If only some very special magic could get to work on his own behalf.
Idly, he picked up the bamboo tube. Without knowing, he put it to his mouth
and muttered threats and cursiS|f into it. Lovingly he gazed across at that beautiful hut.
If only a magic could get in there	
Taba's whole body stiffened, and his eyes grew fixed. The Great Idea had
His time for" retiring was usually early, unless stirring events were toward in
the village, but it was late that night before Taba, all curled into an untidy bundle,
his head well wrapped up against the onslaughts of devils, even started to woo
slumber. And his wooing was long, for the Great Idea had smitten him, and his
head ached with the wonder of it.
The ancient Quabima lay huddled on his side, skinny fingers clasped round
edged shinbones, grey chin-tuft brushing knobby knees. Sleep usually came
swiftly enough for Quabima,-for he still led an active life, although the ownership
of two wives and a grown daughter now made it unnecessary for him to work.
Sheer pride in his own ability kept him at the communal forge, and his mind was,
even now, dwelling on the beautiful straight-edged and bevelled spear-head he had
produced the day before.
Something new in spear-heads, Quabima thought. That idea he had had, of
working out two barbs at the haft-end, would prove of distinct value. Others, of
course, would imitate, but in the meantime Quabima could reckon on a certain
income due to that bright thought alone. A fine spear-head, that. The ancient
almost chuckled as he meditated, but grew suddenly severe as he remembered again
the carelessness of that fool Taba, which might so easily have damaged the fine
edge of the weapon, and thereby caused more toiling at the fires.
Singular, thought Quabima, sleepily, that no devil had ever swooped down on
that idiot. Admirable opportunity there for a first-class piece of ju-ju. A fool,
that Taba. And now he had started stealing his, Quabima's, turkeys. Something
would have to be done.
Here, one of his sleeping wives sighed, and his thoughts switched to his. family
affairs. He got as far as a calculation as to the highest price he could possibly
ask for his daughter, several tempting offers for whom had recently come to hand,
when he became aware of heavy breathing, somewhere at his back, between, that is,
the stoutly interwoven grass wall of his hut and himself.
Quabima's right hand grabbed the stabbing-spear which always rested by his
bedside. Quabima's skinny body turned, ever so slowly, toward the disturbing
sound.   Quabima's protruding eyes strove vainly to penetrate the darkness.
YeS) there it was, a steady, if suppressed, breathing, such as might be made
by a man concealed in some narrow space.
There was, of course, no assistance to be expected from without. All sensible
dwellers in Suboma turned a resolutely deaf ear to any unusual night noises, for
no self-respecting devil, proceeding on his lawful way, could be expected to put up
with interruptions from any mere human, and night noises were, of course, always
the work of devils.
Quabima hove up his spear, drove it deep down into the soil at his side. No
result. Renewed listening brought only the sound of that awful, dragging, breath.
And then it dawned on Quabima.
Of course, here was a visitation from the unknown.   And here was he, jabbing
18 1
The Anvil
around with a stabbing-spear. In any case, all he could do with it would be to
cause his visitor annoyance, for devils are notoriously touchy, and it might even be
a good devil, or at most, a bad one in a good humour.
And then, while Quabima, for all his brave thoughts, quaked with terror behold, a voice whispered up at him.
UP! It whispered out of the ground!
Quabima mentally gave up all hope, and abandoned himself to hopeless attention to the voice.
"Quabima!" it muttered, and again, "Quabima."
| The person addressed produced a gentle clucking noise from his skinny gullet.
Evidently the devil took this for sign of attention, for he, or it, continued.
"On the third night from this, Quabima, the third night .... you will go
to the red rock on the river bank, and I will talk with you."
The attentive Quabima's lower jaw dropped as if hinged, and his finger-nails
bit hard into his sweating palms. This was simply too awful. A normal man could
. hardly be expected to put up with much of this. But, after a pause the voice went
huskily but relentlessy on.
"Quabima," it continued, "it is not given to every man to have speech with
one of Us."
Quabima gave vent to an assenting hiccough.
"Therefore, great things will happen to you. On the third night, remember,
at the hour when the first cock speaks."
Here the Devil spat, distinctly, and a shuddering silence fell upon the hut.
The first- night's performance was now over.
Quabima immediately awoke his chief wife, feeling a great need for human .
company and friendly speech, and with much gobbling and choking, for terror still
had him by the throat, gave a spirited imif^on of the recent visitor's utterances.
The chief wife, sufficiently appalled, stirred up wife number two, and the commo-
I tion she caused on having the news broken to her, roused the daughter of the house.
Half the village heard the quartette mourning, and wrapped its head a little
■cuj^r. as a protection against whatever fiends were troubling the Quabima establishment.
As for that afflicted household, it spent the balance of the night in a howling
heap in the hut's centre, nerve-shaken and awed, and the day found them singularly
The next night, the voice came again, but on this occasion an awakened audience
awaited it. The voice reminded Quabima, quite unnecessarily, of his appointment,
but having apparently had time to think the matter over, added further instructions.
Quabima, the favoured one, was to attend at the river-bank alone. This piece of
news was welcomed by the listening ladies, who had received definite orders,
coupled with threats from their lord and master to be on hand, with him, at the
Also, the chief wife was ordered to expect a visitation, herself, in the near
future. This thorougtily|upset the good lady, who, no longer in her first youth, was
already suffering from lack of sleep, and was the cause of her remaining indoors
throughout the next day, with her head well covered.
The voice then made passing reference to a moon filled with blood, in a gloomy,
foreboding sort of way, and once more retired to its spectral home.
At dawn, therefore, on the day appointed, behold Quabima, shaking with
19 terror, eyeballs rolling, semi-erect on the sand-stone rock. Below him the brown
river rolled greasily. Around him mounted the grey, chilling mists of early morning.
A crocodile coughed, somewhere up-stream, and a lone vulture, on the mud
below, contemplated the infinite without enthusiasm.
The shrinking ancient, clasping his concave stomach with both skinny arms,
awaited cock-crow and whatever horrors might come with it.
And then, with a high-pitched yell which split the still air as a sharp knife
cuts butter, and which nearly prostrated the listening women, Quabima dived neatly
and far out into the brown water. One slight splash followed the yell, the vulture
performed a coniiuang trick with its neck, and that was .all.
.Quabima had passed.
And Taba, having overdone the shove and nearly followed his victim into
space, drew a hurried breath, turned himself round and scuttled back with all speed
to his own abode.
* * *
It worked.
The- chief widow; duly lectured, in her turn, by the voice, was informed that
her departed spouse had been snatched to realms above. Further, she was instructed to replace the deceased by an individual whose name would be given to her on
the following night. After a day spent in racking her brain for possible entries,
the practically demented dame was granted one word, only. The word was "Taba."
The good lady had now managed to exist for practically a fortnight on the extreme minimum of sleep, and she may be pardoned for the outburst of hysteria
which this final announcement produced.
In fact, the comments of the entire trio were anything but flattering to Taba,
who made mental note of some of the more pointed remarks for future guidance.
But it was with great amazement that Taba received his invitation on the
following morning. Indeed, batchelorhood appeared to appeal to him so strongly
that the three graces had to literally pull him into his new residence, with an interested village lopping on and demading reasons.
And Taba, his voice shaken with emotion, gave the reasons.
It worked, and in many ways, but always to the ultimate profit of the unspeakable Taba. He amassed quite a fortune, in a modest way, and his gathering of
wives bade fair to outrival the King's, much to that worthy's secret sorrow.
The voice even addressed the King on one occasion, thus reducing the monarch
to a fitting sense of the dignity of his subject, Taba.
It is impossible to say just how the whole affair would have ultimately turned
out, or to what heights Taba would have risen, but fate took a hand in the game,
and Taba suffered the fall which so many of the world's greatest minds have known.
People talk, on the Slave Coast. Drums, rolling out their voices over the
River's distances, carried the news still further and much more rapidly. Rumour
had it that a new devil had arisen on the River, a devil whose voice worked wonders. Stories arose of people being snatched up from the bosom of their families
and whisked into the bright blue sky without warning.
And on one singWarly peaceful morning, without warning of any kind whatever, there descended upon Suboma a very weary white man shaken with fever and
decidedly annoyed, and immediately following him surged many black fiends in
extraordinary clothes, who, on the Subomaites unwisely resorting to arms to repel
them, produced a new variety of spear whichjjemitted loud noises and much fog.
20 r
The Anvil
And a number-of the inhabitants of Suboma collapsed on Mother Earth with neat
little holes drilled through them, which was unnerving to those who remained un-
Therefore, a limited amount of peace fell upon the village, but the fiends
burned the entire Fetish Grove, which was unkind, and should have brought immediate lightnings upon the white man's head. But it did not, and the white man
merely started a palaver which lasted two whole days, during which he many times
swallowed a mysterious white powder ju-ju and, in the intervals of cross-examining
nagotically the entire village, one by one, he repeated the one word, "Dam", with
Vmuch emphasis.
This was taken by the assembled throng to be the stranger's own particular
word ju-ju, and was secretly practised by many, without result.
On the third night of tribulation Taba, crawling through the long grass,
dragging after him a six-foot length of bamboo, approached the singular cloth
dwelling in which the white man slept, and as he crawled, Taba muttered, over and
over again, the new word ju-ju which he had painfully memorised. For Taba had
realised just why his fellow townsmen had failed in the matter. True, they had
said the 'Dam' word, but there was more that they should have said. Taba had
listened, and Taba knew. He paused, to permit the sentry to pass out of sight
beyond the tent, then continued on his way.
The white man had long ago ceased to be surprised at anything which he
encountered along the River. The natives, he had decided, might do anything,
anything whatever, and the more idiotic, the more likely it was to occur.
Therefore, when, as he lay on his camp-cot, his body shaking with the fever
which dwelt with him continually, his head aching from the last dose of quinine he
had forced himself to swallow, a voice from beneath the cot surprisingly enough
said "Dam", gulped, and added "Your eyes", he made no movement of any sort
whatever. If there happened to be a native under the cot, he would probably be
equipped with a weapon of some kind, and any sudden move on his own part
would merely hasten the end. In any case, the white man was by no means sure
that he wanted to exist much longer, and those who have suffered from the early
stages of black-water fever will sympathise with his mental attitude.
- So he merely remained without movement, and listened to the sentry approaching the tent.
The sentry, without a glance through the doorway, passed from view, and.
his rifle butt thudded as he halted.
The best of soldiers depart from their master's orders at times, and on a
lonesome beat on a dark night who could blame a soldier for relaxing sufficiently
to glance to one side.
Two hard knees thumped into Taba's back, just below the shoulder-blades.
Two exceedingly powerful hands gripped his arms above the elbows. Taba's nose
was rubbed, unintentionally but none the less painfully across the butt-end of his
And the great Whisper-God departed from Suboma, to return no more, even
as Taba departed the next day.
Sometimes, when the day's work was ended on the new stone breakwater, and
the convicts squatted at ease while their guards gathered the outlying gangs together, a certain useless and idiotic convict, whose day's labour had been productive
of nothing whatever, and for whom the overseers had long given up all hope, was
noticed to place an imaginary object to his lips, into which he muttered something
unintelligible. Whatever it was he said, it seemed to bring him a certain amount
of pleasure, for across his face, for a moment, flittered the beginning of what
might almost have been an intelligent smile. The Anvil
'He Passed Through Samaria'
By L. Bullock-Webster
WDeUicatedltojtMiss Ethel Cotton, President of the League of Western Writers.
Nasor _--__----- A Cobbler who looks above his last.
Sanabasarus - ;#Ef;. - - - An unscrupulous and wealthy landowner of Telassar.
Gortyna   -      -      A beautiful young woman, reared in surroundings where virtue was taboo.
Sabta _-__      Wife of Nasor'
Time—About the year A.D. 29 Place—The village of Dothan, in Pal^jjSil
The sandy roadway in front of a little detached shop outside a Samaritan village. The,
shop has an arched doorway and a dilapidated counter, above which stretches a faded awning.
Thrown over the counter are some rugs. Hanging about are baskets, some broken, some unfinished. The interior of the shop is in shadow. It seems to contain old draperies and junk.
There is a little rough bench in front of the shop, and a rough three-legged stool to L. A very
small lean-to annex, R., is the workshop of Nasor the Cobbler. It contains his stool, bench, and
implements. Thrown about are some old shoes and sandals of Roman and Israelitish type. There
is a rough little stool to R.
It is late afternoon. As the Curtain rises, Sabta is in the recesses of the shop, working but
not seen. Nasor is discovered sitting stitching with bristle and waxed thread at a new pair of
sandals, which work might be expected to absorb his whole attention, but it does not,. foj^eyeryfl
now and then he looks furtively about and appears to be listening for some expected sound.
Presently a soft shuffling is heard approaching from L. The Cobbler gives a sigh of relief,
turns away from the sound, and busies himself with his awl.
Enter Sanabasarus L. (His face islalmost hidden by his head-cloth. He watches the Cobbler
for a time, then looks cautiously round before speaking).
Sanabasarus—Cobbler of Dothan, have you made the shoes?
Nasor (WithTjjffisturning. Referring- to the plot, and not to the sandals in his hand)—The shoes
are made.
San.—Cobbler, in such shoes am I safe from the scorpion's sting ?
Na.—There is safety for you and for any others who wear the shoes I make.
Sabta (From the recesses of the shop). You will have such safety! Sir, as only the most cunning
brain could devise. (As she speaks Sanabasarus starts and NasorMlooUStKound angrily').-
Na.—Silence, woman.
'Sab. (Appearing in the shop).—Pardon Highness, I did but ....
Na. (With 'amTangry vigorous gesture)—Go. Out of earshot. (Sabta reluctantly shuffles off
towards R.)
Na.—Moths in the rugs, rats at the leather, and this idiot lurking in every dark corner. (Sabta
pauses to look back at the new-comer. Nasor slowly] raises his awl, looking fiercely at
her. She suddenly realisesjthetihreat and wtjhiajfT^ghTened exclamation:)
Sab.—Ah no., (She hurries out R.)
San. (Looks at Nasor and gives a short karsfalmtgh.) How many have a hand in the making
of these shoes?
Na. (busy sewing)—As few as may be. Brains design; wealth provides; beauty captivates;
stupidity disarms suspicion.
San. (lookinffiffigeictirjectioj^abta has gone)—Stupidity now pads the hoof along the En-
gannim road.
Na.—'Tis well. We shall be warned if any come that way. She is a loyal fool.
San.—You spoke of beauty.
Na.—Beauty approaches from the Tirzah hills. A triple furlong lies before here yet. (He gets
tip and looks to L.) None move along the village street. We are alone.
San.—Then drop all parables. Speak swift and plain. Does our plan prosper?
Na.—All runs as smoothly as the buttered keel slides to the water. Come, listen. (Nasor pulls a
stool down to centre, and gestures for Sanabasarus to do the. same. They sit close together.) Tiberius Caesar summoned Pilate back to Rome, and nijfhis place appointed
Philip, Tetrarch of Iturea, to be acting governor of Judea until Pontius shall return.
22 The Anvil
San.—This is no news to me. I was informed of it before the Council knew. Further I know
this, that Philip and a few close friends are camping for a time upon the North Lake
shore until the weather cools.
Na.—Yes. That is the keyjtljat will unlock the door of fortune to us. Therein lie both Philip's
trouble and our good.
San.—How so? It is the taxes we are after.
Na.—Quite. And we shalljhave them, never fear. I laugh to think of Caesar choosing such a
profligate to rule Judea. Had it been Lysaiiias now, Tetrarch of Abilina	
San.—Yes, or else his brother, Galileean Herod ....
Na.—Quite so. But Tiberius, who never*Ea£es advice, must choose the very man whose incapacity and sloth in Trachonitis is a byeword.
San.—Well, what of the taxes ?
Na.—PatjS^KEpsming has taken many weeks to plan and there can be no need to tell it in
a breath. Philip, to save himself a journey to the city, has ordained the taxes shall be "
brought up to his camp, and there checked over ere they are sent on to Rome. None
know the following procedure better than yourself.
San.(thoughtfully)—Yes, I know the scene by heart. Formalities will differ little in a camp.
■Ejrsacbme the fox-faced gatherers, blowing in their goatskin bags to make them seem
^KSffijInlled, wondering if it might be safe to pilfer one more coin before relinquishing
^■thgjj^harge. Then round the table greedy-eyed assessors plucking at their egg-stained
beards, hoping that between the blame they hurl at the collectors and the fulsome praise
they heap on Caesar some fat promotion may be earned. Stolid, cold aloof, superior,
Caesar's second self, the viceroy sits watching the scene between his yawns; too proud
and far too stupid to take aught himself; riding his honour as he might a horse, to raise
his empty head above the rest.
BS[3SrYes, yes, and there in rowstthe goatskin bags—each little hairy usurer containing less
I^SajaCaesar's claim, but far far more than blistered hands of toilers should be asked to
■^KrJgJ|£here ina second row the oblong boxes that the Romans use ....
San.—Gaping greedily with lids thrown back, while itching fingers wait to count and sort the
coins each to its proper place.
Na.— (laughing)—And Philip yawns, wondering what pretty skirt may hang on his apparel-
hooks to-night.
San.—When, think you, is the time to help ourselves ?
Na.—You, perhaps, know best. You have both influence and power. You are the trusted agent
of the rich.
San.—Shall it be, then, when the bags are laid in order on the desks. The Roman boxes are
too hard to imitate. We haye^ho craftsman who could counterfeit those corner-bands of
bronze, and the peculiar tinting of the stain. No, we must have the hairy piebald bags in
number and in size and weight estimated closely and ready for quick substitution.
Na.—That is what I had planned.
San.—How to have the front tent empty you know best.
Na.—It is not easier to drop a worm into the mouth of a fat eel ... to throw a dry log to the
centre of a blazing hearth . , . than to catch our Philip's fancy with a supple waist.
San.—Yes, at th'effirst breath of perfume he is up, affairs of state forgot, and all aquiver for
Venusian joys. Have we a girl of such rare sense that she can be relied on to maintain
her poise when flattered, for the moment, by our Philip's love?
Na. (turns to L. and points)—See—coming towards us now, one who combines the charms of
fair Tarzinia with all the subtlety of Shem-azroth. (To himself.) She must have started
earlier than I thought.
(They look up the road.)
San.—Ho, Ho, so that's our little 'bait'. 'Twouldjbe indeed a well-gorged fish could fail to
rise at such a fly. What perfect grace and symmetry. An easy lissom step along the sand,
and yet she travels at a courier's speed. Has she the courage for this enterprise?
Na.—There is no situation mortal or immortal that she fears; no deviltry she's unacquainted
San.—Her beauty will disarm suspicion of her guile. (He walks closer to the wings.) Ah, see.
A dog flies at her as she mounts the ridge. She will be torn and mauled, and all our plans
upset. What shall we do ?
Na. (laughing softly)—Do? Why, sit upon your haunchgsggwatch the spectacle; be thankful
for a show that costs you naught.
San.—Ah'iHeSis at her. Come quickly. No, she has found a stone, a heavy stone.
Na.—No dog willKwice attack Gortyna, believe me. 'Twould take a Libyan lion to turn her
from her path. ,
San.—(shouting to Gortyna)—Throw it ... . throw. (To Nasor.)'Why does she wait? The
brute will seize;tiesMLookma off L.) He dashes at her now. Ah, that was a cunnings
blow. Incredible that one so slight (to Nasor). She dashed the rock, with both her
hands, full on the mongrel's head, just as he leaped.
Na.—Her father was of gladiator stock. Courage and cruelty, ferocity and valour, were the
companions of her youth. I'll tell you more anon. (He goes quickly L. to meet Gortyna^
^K|o|§nna, child, we feared you were detained upon the way, training some village watch-
.   , 23
\ dog. (Gortyna enters, ptisIiiE&impetuoiisly past Nasor to the centre of the stage, talSingfa
as she enters. She is a lovely young woman, rather fully developed and in no way ashamed
of her figure. Sanabasarus had gone up R. He comes down stage as she talks.)
Gortyna—That speckled cur has learnt his lesson well. (Looking back.) The vultures trail his
guts along the sand. They lose no time. It was the hound of Amraphel, the bastard son
of Ruhamah. 'Twould give me pleasure to crown him with a rock . . . and drown that
slut that calls herself his wife. (She addresses Sanabasarus as well as Nasor, turning ,
I from one to the other though she has never mejtifSanabasarus before.) Their children
laughed to see the dog attack me. I'll wring the freckled neck of little Ziph some sultry
night, and hurl him on the midden.
Na.—Enough, ... we know your metal. Turn your thoughts to deeds more profitable now.
No dividends accrue to us from children strangled in the night. But here's a plan that'
brings us wealth and ease and luxury. Come, listen. I spoke to you before about a
wealthy ally, willing to finance our next adventure. He is here. No less than Sanabasarus
himself. (Sanabasarjti•fraise'slhtSir.igHt hand slightly.)
San.' (turnmgftb Nasor)—Is it wise to mention names?
Na.—Only we four will know. She can be trusted as your second self in matters of this kind.
(Whispers to Sanabasarus.) I have a hold upon her.
Gor.—Rather would I die some ghastly death than, willingly, betray a man who trusted me.
San. (aside)—A curious code for those who thrive on villainy. Yet I do trust the girl—against
my better judgment.
Na.—Philip will put trust in you, Gortyna.
Gor. (bursting out fiercely)—No. He will use me; as he has before, but never trust.
Na. (changing the subject)—Well, ... let us get the details of our plan knocked firmly into
our heads so that no fool mistake be made. Come, . . . settle down lest anyone pass by.
Sabta plaiting rushes. (He gives a soft, prolonged whistle, follozved by a slow gesture
itidicatirigtthat Sabta is to come back.) You (indicating Gortyna) at the rugs. (Gor. goes
up and sits in the shop ^entrance and con^n%tces to mend a rug.) You, Sir, against the
wall, in the fashion of a camel-driver taking his ease. (Sabta enters timidly from R.
Nasor kicks a stool over to L. for her. She seats herself on the ground leaning against
the stool. He throzvs her a lialf-finishcd basket.) Myself at work. (He pulls his stool and
bench down stage a bit. While talking he takes up the nezttfsandals, examines them, and
then works very carefully at the left one,\twgiing it up fromjtime to time to look "i'ȣojagB
and cautiotysiy;feel the inside of the sole.) Listen. I'll recapitulate. Our plan is this. Three
days from now the taxes from Judea will be brought into Samaria on their way to
Rome. Philip, the acting governor, being camped upon the margin of the small North
Lake, here above Dothan, to save himself a trip, has ordered all concerned to meet, upon
the thirteenth day, there at his camp.
Gor.—And why has Philip left the well-lit streets of gay Jerusalem to sleep all day beside a
mountain lake?
San.—Why come so far as Dothan? Are there no ponds at Etam, at-Bethany or Jarmuth?
Na.—No matter why. Perhaps a whim. Perhaps to make some confiscated lands his own. Perhaps our climate suits his fancy. But there he is, assuredly.
Gor.—Well, then, the money from nine districts will be laid upon his tables, counted, sorted,
boxed. I know the whole procedure from a guard with whom I . . . .
San.—Yes, quite so. (To Nasor.) Continue.
Na. (titrningffjtpm Gor. to San.)—One of many.
Gor.—And why not ?       ^£?j$§tl
San. (to Nasor)—Proceed.
Na.—I have ascertained that when the first formalities are over, and Philip is delivered of his
first-born speech extolling the virtues of Tiberius Caesar, then the tax folk will be
bidden to a banquet in another tent some little distance off.
Sabta—Then's our chance.
Na. (reproving her)—Quiet. Two.guards will be on duty in the outer tent, while Philip and
his friends go to the lake to bathe.
San.—A self-indulgent porpoise, splashing near the shore.
Gor.—A dolphin diligently wagging its poor stern, and shouting, "I'm a whale."
Na. (Has put down the'sandals.. He walks back to the store and produces a bag.)—Here is a
goatskin bag, the very replica of those same bags the gatherers use. Sabta will make
some forty-four of these, for there will be (heMtlwnks for a .m'oMeiit) from Hebron,
seven; Beth Shemesh, nine; Bethany, five; Tekoa, eight; Socoh, three; Eshtemoa, two;
Arad, two; Engedi, three, and Nezib, five.
San.—Yes, but how is this substitution to be made? And by which of us? And when?
Kimgl/ could caress those little bags so lovingly, and coax them to change places.
Na.—Your caresses will be given to a smoother skin than goat. I have some other work for you.
Sabta—Let it be mine to change the bags. I who have made would then so surely know the
Na.—You will be pressing your ungainly shape upon our Philip's rugs.
Sabta (in ecstasy)—Resting on rugs. Gortyna, you and I. (To Nasor.) Will I, then, have to
lie at Philip's feet?
":i"vA'A-^rj.^        24 The Anvil
Na.—You will do as I now bid you—and not talk overmuch. There are five fine rugs to be
repaired, and I have been, employed to have it done, being the best repairer in this
neighbourhood. Poor Philip little knows 'twas I arranged to have them ripped and
rumpled by a drunken servant at the last carouse. (Laughing at the recottictioih) The
lad was soundly beaten at the time, but with Telassar's gold I paid him richly for his
. broken back.
Sabta (with admiration)—Oh cunning one. Another suffers, and another pays.
San. (turnmgfon- her, annoyed)—Huh?
Sabta (apologetically)—A subtle brain my lord. Think you not so?
San. (ignoringjher)—Let us to the point.
Na.—The point is this. Three of the rugs are heavy, two are small. Too big a load to carry
on an ass. Telassar here will find two tired plugs to pull a cart up to the tents.
Gor.—Do I ride in the cartibehind the tired plugs, belabouring their rumps with wattled boughs ?
Na.—You do not. You don your lightest gauze and pass on foot just as the bathing party starts.
Gor.—And catch the acting-governor in my net. 'Tis full a year or more since last I met Philip
the Tetrarch. They say my looks improve since then.
San.—The lecherous fool will never bathe if you are near his tent.
Sabta—When I was her age many looked at me.
Na. (ey^mer with disgust)—Then spat upon the ground.
Gor.—Well, if he looks at me, what then? Shall instinct guide me? (She looks to Nasor for
ins true Hon.)
.San.—He'll look all right. I know the lout. He has a cunning eye for curves.
Na. (replying to Gor.)—Not altogether. This is what I plan. The twinkle in your eye shall
make him feel a;ffitich is better than a lake. He will bid the party swim without him.
As he returns towards the tents I shall have left the cart, to fold the heavy carpets into
one long roll. There will be fuss and stumbling at the door, presenting of my permit to
the guards, and whatnot. I shall be leaving with the smaller rug as he comes in with
(turning to Gortyna) you.
San.—Then he will tell the guards to take the heavy roll out to the cart—I see it all.
Na.—You see a part. Lest one of them can carry it alone, leaving the other there to block our
plan, Sabta climbs down from off the cart and, with her helpful protestations, presses as
they lift, pulls as they push, and generally obstructs, making the task more difficult and
slow. (Aside to Sanabasarus.) At this the soldiers will feel no surprise, knowing her
stupid as the Midian mule.
Sabta.—And what if one fine soldier turns his glance on me.
Na.—(Merely grunts.)
Gor.—Give him what he asks. Why not? And more perchance.
San. (to himself)—The Roman army's full of fools, but yet there is a limit to their folly.
(To Nasor.) Tell me, how do these carpets help us with the substitution of the bags?
Na.—The guards will then be out, sweating in the dust to drag the rugs (pointing to Sabta) and
her. Gortyna keeps gay Philip busy in the inner tent. I return, and in the smaller rug
carry the worthless bags. There is yet the fifth rug. This gives a pretext for some
juggling. Quicker than the titmouse can distribute food and empty offal from the nest,
I shall be gone, back to the cart with two rugs worth the carrying.
Gor.—And I shall be lying on a silken couch, with . . .
Sabta ] You have the easy part.
and     t  (together)
San.    J Quite, quite. No need for pre-arrangement of the details.
San. ( Na.)—But here is what you have forgotten, friend. In half an hour at most
our fraud will be discovered; the two old plugs that hobble down the hill, dragging the
cart and you, soon overtaken; and then what?
Na.—They will not be hobbling down the hill. Behind that rocky turning, not three minutes
from the tents, just where the cactus clump grows thickest, you with your three swiftest
horses in your lightest chariot, harnessed Egyptian fashion for greater speed, will wait
i^KourJcoming. You will take the gold down to the Jordan's bank, and hide ityriJa place that
I will show you, and leave it there till all is calm again. I shall turn back slowly to the
tents, arriving when the pother's at its height, under pretence of seeking the small rugs
which Sabta (turning to her) will be carrying down the hill on her long walk home.
(He c/tHcjg/^ffi^^HA)3lishall be questioned, suspected, and finally employed to help
locate the thief. What say you?
San.—It suits me well. I shall drive on to Judea and stay there till my wife is dead.
Sabta—Your wife Sir, ill ?
San.—Sick as a murrained cow. She's been of little use to me for many a year.
Gor.—They say she loves you dearly. ....
San.—Possibly. Ifdon't love her, and never did. She suffers much, they say, and has not long
to live.
Sabta—Is she, Sir, at your Telassar home? HI .
San.—No. In the little disused house beside El-nor. When at Telassar she would pick the
flowers all day long, and place them in the house. The flowers of plants that I had
25 '     bought in Tyre and Zarepath. I have a better chance to sell the place with her away.
(He goes L.)
Gor.—Women and children sick, areJ6e"tter dead. sHiA'Jjj
San.—I quite agree. (He goes out L.)
Gor.—I passed along the Tirzah marsh at noon, and in those filthy hovels lay a score of helpless wretches groaning in their pain. They are the rush-gatherers of  El-mar.  Some
fever caught them, so I learned from one less raving than the rest. (Laughing)  She
begged me to attend to them, and fetch them water. Ha, (bitterly) me, whose mother was
stoned not twenty years since, at El-mar. I spat at them, and passed along. (She walks
off R.)
Sabta—Is the sandal nearly finished, husband? It should do its work well, I think. Now we
shall be doubly rich. (Imploringly). You will give me the little stone I have so long
wanted for our poor boy's grave?
Na.—What you think matters not. I shall be rich, and you shall keep the house, because you
cost less than a Nubian slave, and are easier to beat. I tell you once again, I'll waste no
stones upon that whelp of yours. (Sabta cries. Sanabasarus enters L.)
Na. (to Sabta)— Hush.
San. (entering)—I went some paces up the hill to see if we had been observed. I think that
none have passed along the road till now.
Na.—Are there some going by?
San.—Only an old woman with a heavy pitcher (indicating R.) and some way behind her a
young man with a staff. (He crosses to R. and looks off.) Gortyna has seen the young
man, and has placed herself so as to intercept him, I think.
Sabta—Then the young man will have very few possessions, except his walking staff when
Gortyna has done with him. Ha Ha Ha Ha. (She. tries to chuckle to hide her tears.)
San.—You can see them now. The old dame pauses where the hill begins to rise. See—the
man passes Gortyna without a look. He is speaking to the old woman.
Na.—Yes. That will surely be a great surprise for her: but all the better for our plan. She
will most certainly exert her charms to captivate the Tetrarch now. She will not risk
rebuff a second time.
Sabta—She is returning. Oh how angrily she looks. (To herself) I wish that I could show-
such spirit too.
Na.—Bah! Hold your peace—and get that basket done.
San.—The man is climbing upwards to the well, to fill that pitcher for the ancient crone.
(In disfiust) Only a fool does other people's work.
Na.—He can have naught to think about.
San.—No force of character to just say "No." I think I've seen him round these parts before,
talking with fishermen. If he's the man I think, his everygacfion is peculiar. He is the
offspring of a carpenter, they say, in some depressing village to the North.
Na.—Then let's forget him. He's no use to us, and all his doings won't amount (snapping his
fingers) to that.
Sabta—Here is Gortyna.
Na. (Going to R.)—Gortyna, you should not have gone away. We have some details to arrange,
Gor. (Enters R. pushing Nasor aside)—The stupid lout. He passed' me by without a single
glance. Oh, if I were but a man, I'd brain him.
San.—We've bigger fish to catch; don't waste your time.
Gor.—Waste time? The fool . . . he's carrying a heavy pitcher to the Gensen well to fill it for
that blear-eyed hobbling hag.
Na.—A man like that, Gortyna, is of no account. .Let's get to business. PhiliMj&w ....
Gor.—Oh I'll attend to Philip when the right time comes; but now I'm busy. (She strides across
to the R. and watches.) You wait. I'll show him. (She watches.) Now he's starting down. ■
(The others watch her. Sanabasarus shows impatience. Nasor shakes his head.)
Sabta—Gortyna, what are you about to do ?
Na.—Stop child. We need you.
Gos. (turning on them)—So? (She goes R.) I'm going to meet him where the path bends
round, right in the narrowest part. He'll have to look. (Going out.) He'll;looklat me this
Na. (yawning, and 'aismissina the subject fromviis. mind)—Well . . . she'll only be young once.
(To Sabta who is looking the way Gortyna has gone.)  Get on with the basket.  (He
picks up the left sandal and very carefully adjustffiwittJMf&jfon the inside of the sole.)
Sa"n.—Tell me, my friend, what is it that you place so cunningly between the soles, and who
the purchaser for whom you take such pains?
Na.—These shoes are for my elder brother's feet,
Sabta—Oh yes, his elder brother, who ....
Na.—Hush. (He looks about to be sure they are not observed or overheard.) My brother goes
into the mountains, to buy goats. His journey will be long and arduous ....
San.—Ah, . . ..and the shoes are for his journey's eaJ&njHe will rest well on such a journey,
having well shod feet.
Na.—His rest will be both long and sound.
— -
The Anvil
SABTA—Yes. He will rest long. Rest like my little son whom he let fall from off his camel's
San.—You mean . . .
Na.—Yes.|S&ien from this journey he does NOT return, I, being next by birth, will then
inherit all his herds.
San.—And wherefore will he not return?
Sabta.—Because the vultures will have done for him the same they did for yonder dog.
(Pointing L.)
Na.—Because an adder's tooth and gland are here. As the foot warms—the little bag will ooze.
As leather softens with the sweat—the tooth protrudes.
San.—Will you then poison your own brother?
Na.—The little tooth will . . . then the camels, and the sheep, the goats, and some fine Persian
bulls will all be mine.
jSs^^^Have you no pity ?
Na.—HaveTfyoiiifor your wife? Has Gortyna for the'El-marans at the marsh? Pity Bah.
There is nothing on this earth can turn me from my present plan, my firm determination,
to relieve Tiberius Caesar of his bags of gold—his taxes—and my brother of his herds.
(Gortyna has walked in very quietly with her head down. Her manner is quite changed.)
Na. (taking the two sandals and tying them together)—At last that's done. Take these, Gortyna.
tomorrow to my brother, and give them to him with——love.
Gor.—(looks at the.sandals, but does not touch them)—No.
Na.—And you shall have a camel of your own.
Gok.—I cannot take them.
Sabta—What is it dear? What is the matter? Did he speak to you?
Gor.—Yes ... No ... I don't know.
KHSkHSTou don't know? You don't know if that young man spoke to you.
Gor. (sits)—What . . . what is speech?
Na.—Look here, I've had enough of this. We've got to finish planning what we'll do.  (He
shakes her by the shoulder. She takes no notice.)
Sabta—She's not well Nasor. Let her be.
Gor.—I am well. (She lays her hand tenderly on Sabta. It is the first gentle gesture she has
made in the play.)
San. (looks at her, and moves away, thinking.)
Na. (Looking from the other)—Well, are we going to get those taxes or are we not?
Gor. (Slowly. In a serious almost sad voice)—We are not.
Na. (who can scarcely believe his ears)—What on earth do you mean?  (Turnmg%to San.)
She's gone crazy.-It's the heat. (He looks from one to the other.) I'll fetch her something. (He goes into the shop; fusses about, but finds nothing suitable.)   (Sabta stands
soothing Gortyna who sits perfectly still with wide open eyes.)
San (in a much gentler voice than he has used before)—Please tell me—was it the young man
who caused this change?
Goe. (slowly)—Yes.
Na.—So he did look at you?
Gor.—He looked—not at me. His eyes were looking at my life. He seemed to see my every
act and thought.
Sabta—Was he angry with you dear ?
Gor.—No. That is what's so wonderful. He trusted me. The first^who ever did.
Na.—Well, forget him. I knew he was a fool. (He turns- away in disgust.)
Gor.—I can't. I never will be able to.
San.—What did he say.
[6j>g1sE?don't know. Yes, I know—but I can not put it into words.
Sabta—You/don't know what he said, and yet you're all afraid.
Gor.—I'm not afraid.
Na.(coming down to her)—Then you will go to Philip
Gor.—If I ever do—it will not be to tempt him—I hope. (The men look at her in the same
frank way that she has always, been used to, but now it hurts her. She gets up, and
taking a piece of material from the stall, throws it round her so as to cloak her figure.)
It's chilly here—may I wear this?
Sabta—Yes, dearie, of course you may.
Na.—Chilly—why I'm sweating.
Gor. (sits again)—I wish you could have seen Him, and looked into His eyes.
San. (unlfimandingly) —Did it mean so much? I've heard of Him before, but never believed
the stories. Tell me.
Gor.—I can't. I can't explain. Oh! If I could only explain.
f&W&'Gets up. Then walks quietly to Sanabasarus.)—Look into my eyes. Perhaps there's yet
some lingering reflection there. They seem to burn me ^through.  (Sanabasarus^ comes
slowly towards her. He looks steadily into her eyes, then turns away with his head
bowed. He stands for some time with his left hand over his eyes, his left elbow resting
on the back of his right hand. Sabta has been sitting weeping. Nasor sits staring blankly
before himKiitterly nonplussed by what is going on.)
27 all day. Hateful sounds they
to call me—and I long to go.
Gor.—Good bye. (She walks slowly towards L.)
Sabta—Are you going? Where are you going?
Gor.—To theJTirzah marsh. I have heard their cries and j
seemed—but now the sounds are different. They :
Good bye. (She moves again.)
San.—Shall we come too ?
Gor.—No. To each his own duty. For each his own life.
Na. (GetmigwffiwGlsly^)—To the rush-gatherers of El-mar? They stoned your mother.
Gor, (A. pang of sorrow stabs her. She raises an arm to cover her face for a moment, then
throwing back'herjhead she goes out saying:) Mother ... I shall try to love them in
Na. (To Sanabas^feS)—You seem to be touched by this same madness. Are we going through
with this business with some other* girl, or what?
San. (Thinks for a long time with his back to Nasor. Presently iftemturns and looking Nasor
full in the eyes says:) Gotnefi(77ig;v walk over to the R. hand in hand. Sabta follows.
They form a group looking off.) (THE LIGHT DIMINISHES.)
San.—There He goes. Do you see?
Sabta—Perhaps He will look back.
(They wait.)
Na.—No, He's gone.
San.—He looked at Gortyna—and I looked in her eyes—and seemed to see . . .
Na.—I know. (He goes C.) Then Caesar gets his taxes—and we sha'n't need your three best
San. (Slowly passvjZg'-to L.)—I shall need them. I can reach El-nor by dawn. By noon my wife
can breathe the fragrance of Telassar's groves. The flowers are at their best just now.
She can gather them herself—or I can pick them for her,—blue mindorells from Tyre
by her bed—and rarest Zarepathian lilies nodding in a Nubian bowl—placed in the
eastern window where the sun's first kiss shall turn their satin to a brilliant gold, the
radiant symbol of a newborn day.
Sabta—You return to your wife?
San. (Very humbly, as he goes out.)—If she will have me (EXIT.)
Na. (Walks over to R. and looks into the distance.)—He never looked at us.
Sabta—But He gave Gortyna a message for us.
Na. (Looks at Sabta in surprise.)—Yes. It passed to Sanabasarus and then to us. (He goes and
takes the sinister sandal, and looks at it. He gets his knife. Then goes C. and sits. Then
slowly rips the sole apart.)
Sabta (Watches him as he takes out the snake's tooth and poison bag, and stamps them in.the
sand. Then she goes over to him.)  So we don't inherit the flocks ... or the Persian
bulls? I'm so glad. Oh—I'm—so—glad. (She kneels beside him.)
Na.—We shall be poor from now on.
Sabta (Looking up in his face.)—Poor,— but very happy.
Na.—I've some coins saved up from the good years. (She sits on the ground at his feet.)
Sabta (Leaning on his knee.)—How wonderful. What might they buy?
Nasor—They shall buy a little stone for our boy's grave. (He lays his arm affectionately round
Sabta and bows his head. Sabta buries her face in her hands on his-knees sobbing for joy,
as the Curtain slowly falls.)
Editor's Note :—This play was produced by the League of Western Writers on October 17,
1930, at Berkeley, California, during their fourth annual convention.   It was one of the three
plays selected for the occasion, the other two being by American authors.
This is the first appearance in print of Major Bullock-Webster's play.
All rigKtsJxeservcd by the Author.
3i???l?i! p"' " ' r«i
Announce their Third Annual
of their entire Fall and Winter stock of
Day and Evening Gowns
Co-ed Frocks
Coats and Sportswear
ggiM ===== ============== =xvS&
H<S»a— Krgj»
Showing the greatest collection of Quality Furs and
Foxes west of Toronto
Lowest Prices in the City
„ •      1,«., SIXTH at MAIN 3593 VANCOUVER. B. a
. ~§$M        j
t SG»*=
A Modern Necessity
TTOME is incomplete without a GRAND Piano. Not only is it
4* ■ superior to the upright piano in those subtle, aesthetic qualities
that give pleasure to the eye, but also, by the very physics of its
sound production, it affords quality and resonance of tone, combined
with ease and brilliance of action, beyond the possibilities of an
The Grand Piano bestows that cachet of distinction and charm
which is an outstanding feature of the modern well appointed home.
It is no longer regarded as an almost prohibitive luxury. Instead, it
is looked upon as a social and cultural necessity.
It is easier than perhaps you think to own a Grand Piano. We
are exclusive agents for Steinway, Heintzman, Wheelock and Francis
Bacon Grands, priced from
on easy terms, arranged to suit your particular requirements. We
make a generous allowance for your upright instrument.
J. W. Kelly Piano Co.
"Everything in Music"
657 Granville St. Vancouver, B.C.
=*<s9S5 THE ANVIL"
Special Introductory Offer
In order to introduce "THE ANVIL" to the reading public we
are pleased to offer, for a limited period, a special subscription rate of
$1.50 a year. The regular subscription rate is $2.00 a year.
We would suggest that a subscription to "THE ANVIL" would
make a very acceptable gift to your friends.
The Anvil Publishing Company
The Anvil Publishing Company, the
1746 Haro Street, A flV I L
Vancouver, B.C. T^C
Dear Sirs:
Please find enclosed $  for  years
subscription to "THE ANVIL" to be sent to
City Province	
(Signed) ,	
City  Province.. AWARDED HONORARY Doctor of Laws degree, retiring Dean of Graduate Studies Dr. Henry F. Angus
addressed  graduating  class.


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items