Kennedy's Moose

PAUL ANNIXTER November 15 1938

Kennedy's Moose

PAUL ANNIXTER November 15 1938

Kennedy's Moose


I GOT this story direct from Matt Kennedy himself, and I have always remembered it. It was one of the few yarns I have ever heard over a camp fire that was really worth recording. Kennedy, fifty years old, hawk-faced and white-haired, was one of the most noted guides and hunters in New Brunswick. All his youth he had spent close to the wild things; as a boy he had studied their habits and followed the hunting trail with the singlehearted purpose of attaining the highest efficiency as a killer. In the clearer, deeper understanding of later years he had discarded that initial idea, and came to kill for meat only. His days became given over to selling his woods knowledge to other men who likewise felt the call of the open, but whose lives had not fitted them to cope with the forest alone. His fame as a guide had spread until men from far cities sought his cabin each year, knowing that if they could secure Matt’s services they were assured of the finest trophies the country afforded.

The story of Kennedy and the lop-horned bull of the Kinnebec runs like an odyssey and covers a period of over twelve years. It began on the day of the bull’s birth, when Kennedy himself was not yet forty. One early spring day an old cow moose, pursued by wolves, had in her extremity plunged in among Kennedy's cattle herd for protection. The herd had been browsing in the VVCXKIS at the time. Catching the tocsin of her fear, the cattle turned and raced for Kennedy’s barnyard, and the she moose, swept along in their midst, found herself in a strange fenced enclosure, where she fell exhausted with sides heaving from her long flight.

When Kennedy had scattered the wolves with his rifle, he had been astonished to see the dark ungainly shaixof the moose cow rise up from among his cattle, and stand trembling with distended nostrils at the new menace of the man-smell. Her shoulders and flanks were fearfully slashed and bloody from the onslaught of the wolves. The guide's first thought had been of the moose steaks that had thus providentially been provided for his table. Then, on closer examination, the evidence of her imminent maternity stayed his trigger finger. Kennedy pulled at his beard and called his wife, who quickly settled the question by demanding that the stranger be fed and given every care for the good of the unborn calf.

Two days later, with his own hands. Kennedy helped deliver the little bull moose who was destined to be the lord of all the Kinnebec region. Kennedy was the first object the youngster looked upon in this world with his dim baby stare, and a day or two later the goal of his first wobbly efforts on his thin gangly legs.

TPVURING the ten days following, both Matt and his wife devoted themselves to cultivating the trust and friendship of the ungainly pair. Throughout that time the

she moose remained as wild and unapproachable as she had been on the first day. but. do what she would, she was unable to impress the clumsy little calf at her side with the dangers of the situation. Whenever Kennedy approached the enclosure she would retreat to the farthest corner, -keeping her fierce melancholy eyes fixed on him. But the calf, unmindful of caution, seemed fascinated with all that had to do with humans. The voice of Kennedy brought no fear to his guileless heart, and he trustingly jxiked his long muzzle against the woodsman’s hand.

In the second week the she moose’s life drew to a close. Her deep wounds from the fangs of the wolf pack had not healed but festered, and she had persistently refused to eat of the provender Kennedy provided. She died one night, and Kennedy was left to complete the bringing up of her orphaned calf, a stroke of great fortune for the youngster, for alone in the forest he would have fallen prey to the many killers of the thickets.

It was during the month that followed that the calf’s relation to Kennedy was established and cemented a lasting tie. By day he was let out of the pen, and his one solace lay in following Matt about, mouthing the woodsman's lingers and pressing his head against Matt’s txxiy. He became the pet of the household, following both Matt and his wife in their tasks around the clearing, coaxing for extra food and for attention, executing ungainly capers on his absurd stilt y legs.

At this time he was as unbeautiful a creature as could be found in the animal world, homely as nothing but a stripling moose calf can be. He showed no sign of the majestic, stalking monarch he would become w'hen he attained his height and growth of antlers. Age and a grotesque sadness were upon him, and he seemed kin to no beast that walked the present-day earth. And in fact the tribe of moose are the most strange and ancient of American beasts, nearest living reminders of the mighty tree browsers of primordial times.

Yet a deep attachment grew in Kennedy’s heart for the orphan. He had always respected the self-sufficient tribe of the moose. Also there was the element of a naturalist’s interest in the situation. He wanted to find out, as he told me, how far human attachment could affect this most aloof of all the forest dwellers, and how long it might last.

All summer the calf wandered about freely, as contented with the life of the clearing as the old hound and the chickens. Very early he took to browsing the tender sappy tw igs of birch and alder. He never wandered far from the cabin; night always found him close to the bam or ruminating stolidly near the cattle. His draw to Kennedy became more and more pronounced. Each day the inmates of the cabin would look up to find the orphan gazing in at door or window, to solace himself with the sight of them.

When fall came and the mating fever ran through the

The old cow plunged frantically for safety.

forest, Kennedy watched for a change, but the far sounds of bull moose bellowing their challenges caused only a flicker of mild interest in the calf. His coat was thickening now, darkening along the back and neck to the sombre neutral tone of weathered tree bark.

That winter Kennedy built the youngster a separate shelter, its thick walls banked with earth for warmth. But the calf used it only in the bitterest weather. By day he foraged the thickets, cropping young birch and hemlock twigs. The cold had little menace for him; he fed, grunted, ruminated, slept, blowing great clouds of steam from his huge nostrils. His coat was now' as thick as fur and had darkened to a chocolate brown. Kennedy saw that he was destined to be what is known as a black bull, rather a rarity. Also he saw' that here, providing the youngster escaped the many dangers of the forest, was the future monarch of all the moose of the Kinnebec.

IT WAS not until the following fall that for the first time something seemed lacking for the youngster in the Kennedy clearing. All that mating moon he was ridden with a strange restlessness and a periodic wrath. It was the following summer before the youngster grew his first antlers, which earned him his name. Those antlers were nothing to brag of. They started out bravely enough from the forehead, but their branching and palmation were negligible, their tips soft and velvet-covered. They possessed a singularity of conformation, however, by which hunters were later to know him throughout the eastern provinces. The right antler was perfect in every respect, but the left, while fully as large, was imperfect in palmation, drooping slightly downward instead of branching up. Kennedy knew that every succeeding pair of antlers would be the same, thus he would always be able to know' his pet in later years, after the youngster had left the clearing. Lop Horn, he was called, from that time on.

That fall, which was Lop Horn’s third. Kennedy watched keenly for what he knew’ must soon transpire. Longer and at more frequent intervals the young bull would stand now’, gazing off across the hills. For a week a fierce gleam had been growing in his little eyes that many would have branded viciousness, but Kennedy knew’ it was but the madness of the rutting season, the growing call of the wild wide spaces he was soon to know and rule.

Finally one still evening drenched with moonshine and pine smells, the call came that would not be gainsaid. For a long time Lop Horn stood motionless in the clearing, his dark, uncouth form sharply outlined against the night sky. He w'as gazing off to the north and at intervals he would turn and gaze at the clearing, as if trying to gauge this other draw that fought against the longings in his blood. Then Kennedy, w’atching from the cabin, saw him move swiftly away through the pointed ranks of the firs. He did not even see the man. for he was consumed with his burning one-pointed purpose.

“He’s gone,” muttered Kennedy to the surrounding dark. “For this year at least. I w'onder when our trails will cross again.”

As he moved toward the house the woodsman was busy framing the edict he would send forth next day as a protection for the life of Lop Horn, to be violated only at the loss of Kennedy’s friendship. All the settlers of the region knew how Kennedy had brought up the young bull from birth, and not a hunter in the settlement thought of disregarding the old guide's assumption of proprietorship. It was a claim quite within reason, something to be respected among such men. This applied, however, only to the immediate vicinity of the settlement. For the dark young bull was soon to achieve a size and reputation in the country’ that would make Kennedy’s position of protector a most precarious one to maintain.

All the rest of that fall Kennedy was busy piloting parties of hunters through the miles of lake-dotted moose and deer country to the north of his cabin. Most of the parties were composed of old clients of his. Kennedy respected these men in their own places; the hunters were thorough sportsmen according to their lights, using dogs often and beating the thickets for greater efficiency, insulating themselves as thoroughly from any real contact with the wilderness as if they came in Pullman cars. But Kennedy had a different code of the open, which most men would have called fanciful.

Always on his out journeys Kennedy watched for a sight of Lop iforn in the most likely places, but it was not until just before snowfall that he glimpsed the young bull one afternoon from the top of a ridge. He was moving silently through a stretch of second-growth birch and alder, two cows following close behind him. a trim light-colored female in her fourth year, and an older chocolate-colored cow. The rutting season was almost at an end. and the fact that Lop I lorn had not been forced to give up his cows was nothing short of miraculous for so young a bull with his first slim set of antlers. It was quite evident to Kennedy from the numerous scars about the youngster's neck and shoulders that he had been forced to do battle time and again for their possession. In his eyes gleamed the fierce light of arrogant mastery, that fire which in time was to make him the recognized monarch of all the moose country.

From the ridge above. Kennedy watched the trio below as they paused at intervals to feed on the young trees. These were wonderful weeks for Lop Horn, Kennedy saw; days in which he was learning for the first time the wonder and vastness of his own strength, and his mastery over the animate and inanimate things of the forest. He was athrill with a constant sense of his might and his responsibility against dangers. Instead of feeding he spent his time forging back and forth between the two cows lest one of his charges should stray. Twice when one of the cows was straining toward the higher branches of a young alder, he pridefully reared his bulk against the tree and breasted it down, snapping it off, that she might more easily feed. Kennedy smiled.

Presently on an impulse. Matt stood upright in the thickets above and called out in the old familiar way. The three heads swung toward him; he saw swift recognition in the tall bull’s eye, but there was terror in the flaring nostrils and the terror was stronger. Beyond doubt Lop Horn had encountered more than one hunter during the fall months. With a loud whooshing sound and a great crackling of underbrush, the three fled madly away in the gloom of the evergreens, and Kennedy saw them no more that year.

BUT, wise in the ways of moose, he sought them out again with the first heavy snows of January. He had little difficulty in discovering the trio’s winter “yard,” as hunters call a moose family’s winter quarters. In a thickly wooded valley up among the hills he came upon it an intricate network of deeply trampled pathways amid dense hemlock and alder, kept trodden clear for an area of 200 yards, so that the animals could reach the most likely forage in the vicinity. By that time there was nearly four feet of snow in the forest, so that the stronghold of the moose looked like a breastworks in Flanders, Kennedy said, and the animals moved along in their trenches with only their heads and backs showing above the snow. Supported by his snowshoes on the hard crust, Kennedy looked down upon them as from a great height. The two cows retreated, snorting in terror to the farthest reaches of the yard at sight of him, but Lop Horn, though trembling in every limb, held his ground while the familiar voice of the man played over his nerves like a mesmerism. Then scent came to his aid, and soon the old bond had been re-established between the two.

Kennedy saw the marks of privation on the trio, and

with his light belt axe he cut several bundles of fresh young branches and dropped them into the yard. Every few days during the next six weeks he returned and did the same, until the thaws released the moose from their confinement.

By April the close-knit family interest of midwinter was no longer in evidence between Ix>p Hom and his charges, and the three went their separate ways till fall. Driven by the restless spirit within him, Lop Horn wandered almost continually that summer through a range that covered an area of a hundred forest miles. In June a settler reported having seen him sixty miles to the east. In September an Indian, coming down the Kinnebec by canoe, told of seeing a black bull moose with one drooping antler on the upper reaches of the river over a hundred miles north.

That year “Kennedy’s Moose” built up for himself a reputation as the pride as well as the bane of the Kinnebec country. Though he had still to achieve his full weight and strength, he already stood close to seven feet in height and weighed thirteen hundred pounds. From the neck of the young colossus there now hung a hairy, beardlike pendant, the "bell,” which added to his kingly and formidable aspect. Made bolder than any of his clan in regard to humans by reason of his calfhood in Kennedy’s barnyard, he made many daring raids that fall on the fields of the settlement farmers. Fences had become as nothing to the huge long-legged creature, and his depredations were almost a nightly occurrence. More than one irate farmer came to I Kennedy, asking to be relieved of his pledge. And there were other hunters in the region who did not respect Kennedy’s claims at all.

There came a day in October when Kennedy, sitting at dinner, heard the fearsome belling of hounds and recognized the voices of Naylan Strode’s dog pack. Strode was a fur-buyer who lived fifteen miles up the river, an interloper from a woodsman’s point of view, who had settled on the Kinnebec to commercialize fur catching. Indians and half-breeds brought their j pelts to Strode’s cabin and sold them for I rotten liquor, trinkets, or a trifle in cash. Strode’s pack of savage hounds, which were hated by the old-timers in the locality, epitomized the fur-buyer and his methods.

“Must have jumped a deer up in the hardwoods,” Kennedy remarked to his wife. He took up his hat and stepped out, for the chase was leading straight for his clearing.

A few minutes later, standing by the cattle pen, Kennedy received the shock of his life. The chase seemed about to pass on, when to his amazement there came a crashing in the thickets as the quarry made straight for his clearing. A huge dark form burst suddenly into view and plunged toward him. It was Lop Horn. His nostrils were red and flaring, sides heaving, and blood streaked his flanks where one of Strode’s dogs had ripped him.

17'ENNEDY’S heart gave a great surge •*N as the tall bull stopped and turned at bay in the barnyard where he had been born. He had remembered all; had come straight to the familiar clearing for sanctuary in his hour of extremity. Kennedy flashed to the cattle pen and dropped the bars for the bull to enter, just as Naylan Strode’s dogs burst into view.

Matt smiled grimly as the pack came to a halt, milling about the pen bars, ravening for slaughter. He moved toward the clearing’s edge as Strode came plunging up on a blown and lathered horse. A rifle lay across his pommel.

“Call off your dogs, Strode,” Kennedy ordered. His voice was quiet but tense.

Strode took in the situation at a glance. "What’s the game, Kennedy? You don’t figure to bluff me with this fool tale about owning a bull moose, do you?”

“You know my claim,” said Matt calmly. “Do you care to argue it?”

Strode vented a rabid snort. “No man anywhere can own a wild critter that runs 1 xise in the woods.”

Kennedy pointed to the cattle pen. "There’s proof of my claim. The bull came straight to me for protection, and he’ll get it.”

“If the bull’s your’n like you claim, why don’t you keep him out of other men’s clearings? He’s broke down my fences and trampled my corn and rutabaga fields. I tell you this is the last of it.”

The fur-buver slid from his horse, rifle ! in hand, to find Kennedy standing suddenly very close and directly in his path.

“Try anything in this clearing, Strode, and you deal with me.”

Strode’s big fingers clenched a moment, hut he was neither a fool nor overly courageous. I íe saw fit to compromise now and plan a later vengeance—safe and sure.

‘T11 tell you this, Kennedy. Next time 1 see him on my land he gets a bullet, see? Meantime I’ll send you a bill for damages.”

Conflict dic'd between them. Strode mounted and nxle out of the clearing, his dogs whining with disappointment and ¡ leaping about his horse’s legs. But the incident was but the beginning of a lasting feud between the two. From that day on Naylan Strode set himself in spite to have the life of Kennedy’s big moose by any means that might present itself.

And Strode was not without competition, i By the time another fall came round, half a

dozen hunters, mostly from outside, ranged the region with the sole idea of acquiring the giant head of Kennedy’s moose with its strangely palmated antlers, for tales of the great size of the bull had by that time travelled far and wide. There was many a noble head of perfect antlers to be had in the region, but it was the lophorned bull alone they all sought, because of the very deformation of antlers that individualized him above his fellows, and which would be recognized among trophy hunters everywhere.

But by now the craft Lop Horn had developed in regard to men and dogs was little short of uncanny, as was witnessed by the fact that the rest of that year not a single hunter succeeded in even sighting the bull. It was said now and with truth that Kennedy’s moose knew the difference between a man unarmed and a man with a rifle. He had learned in his calfhood the danger that lay in the black, fire-spouting sticks men carried in the fall. He had watched Kennedy many times shooting squirrels in the clearing, and since then his wisdom had grown apace.

Numerous city hunters came to Kennedy that year offering splendid rewards to be guided to the haunts of the lop-horned bull, having learned that Kennedy was familiar with his ways. Matt, in anger, sent them on their way. A few sportsmen appreciated the guide’s viewpoint, but the majority treated his idea scoffingly, for the tale was going about now, instigated by Strode, that Kennedy’s story of the young bull’s birth was a fairy tale, that the guide knew no more than other men of the giant’s ways but wished to relegate that prize head for himself. All this cut Kennedy sorely on the only point in which he took the slightest pride—his reputation as a woodsman.

SO THINGS went on until November of the following year, when the matter came to an abrupt and tragic head. Strode’s greed and long-held rancor were the cause of it. Matt Kennedy forgets all about his natural love of story telling when he comes to this part of his tale. I have heard the story of the lop-horned moose numerous times, but each time Matt goes very quiet and serious at this point. He is a quiet peaceful man, and it is scarcely in him to credit a long-held deadly hatred such as Strode harbored.

That year Strode had accepted the largest of the offers made by Kennedy’s sporting clients, and secretly set himself to bring in the head of the lop-horned bull before the first snow fell. And it was in this w’ay that his feud with Kennedy reached a strange termination.

His client was a mere collector, not even a sportsman, so Strode undertook the task alone. Partly in fear of a serious brush with Kennedy, he had refrained from using his dogs. He was an accomplished woodsman, and he laid his plans carefully for a relentless and solitary still hunt. He had studied the big splay tracks of the lophorned bull until he was certain of knowing them anywhere. The trophy hunter for whom he worked had made him a promise of SL000 upon the delivery of the head, and Strtxie grimly determined to reap that reward.

He spent a fortnight in the woods before he came upon the all but unknown tangle of swamps and lakes which the lop-horned bull had chosen the past two seasons for his fall rutting. On the tenth day Strode had come upon fresh tracks showing where the big bull with three cows and a calf had passed the night in a hemlock thicket. The signs were only a few hours old. and the fur-buyer’s pulse quickened, for he felt certain the big bull was still unaware of being trailed and would linger in this pleasant neighborhood. In his unforgiving brain the hunter planned not only to kill but to wreak vengeance upon the despoiler of his truck patch, and thus indirectly upon Kennedy himself.

Just before the moon rose that night Strode sought the shore of a little lake, where he drew from his pack a wide strip of birch bark. Curling this deftly into a trumpet, he put it presently to his lips and sent across the stillness the hoarse, wild appeal of a cow moose calling a mate. He was an adept at moose calling, and that night he put all his art into the lying performance.

Strode had not only deceived wary moose bulls in the rutting season in this manner, but he had often misled experienced hunters—a notable feat, for the human is more keenly alive to trickery than any animal. He would call once or twice only during an hour's interval, then wait, utterly moveless, while the forest again took on its tenor of silence and peace.

Over an hour passed tonight, and Strode still waited for an answer to his deceitful lure. Unknown to him. however, Lop Horn had been feeding quietly less than five hundred yards away when he sent forth his first call. Utterly puzzled, the tall bull’s eyes and nostrils opened wide and a quiver ran over his full length. He was certain no strange cow could have been in the vicinity without his sensing her, yet the call seemed unmistakable and not a little urgent. He moved forward to investigate.

X >f ANY moose bulls answer the call of a •*-*-*cow with noisy challenge, bellowing a~d threshing so that all rivals may hear. Lop Horn had learned craft early. His habit of late was to come to the tryst as silently as the flight of an owl, and take stock of the situation before showing himself. That fact saved his life this night. When Strode sounded his second call, the tall bull was standing screened in a fir thicket only a hundred yards distant, moveless as a dead tree, but fiercely alive as he watched with wrathful, bloodshot eyes. Fear was not in him this night, for this was the height of the pairing season, and it was all too plain that something queer was afoot. Neck swollen with the madness in his veins, he glared toward the thicket that sheltered the interloper, whose crouching form he could faintly discern. A cow moose had called from that very spot, hut where was the cow now? He sniffed the rare night air but got no slightest scent of her. He waited, while slow rage boiled up in him.

Presently a third call went echoing into the stillness. Softly the big bull drifted nearer until he could both sec and smell the hunter. Who shall say what promptings impelled the scene which followed? Perhaps scent brought back the memory of that other day when Strode pursued him with his pack. Elemental instinct warned that the man was here seeking his life, yet fury obliterated his caution. The idea of vengeance seared through the tall hull’s brain like a powder-train; a madness to blot out the maker of those lying plaints of love beneath his great splay hoofs. The impulse could have come at no other time but in this season of fierce, mad courage. With the black hair risen stiff and ominous along his neck, Lop Horn advanced shadowlike, his feet falling cunningly and without sound on the thick carpet of needles.

A sudden movement on the part of the man precipitated the final swift onslaught, turned him in the last ten feet into a tornado of slashing hoofs and antlers. Strode rose suddenly to one knee and took hasty aim. In that very instant the hull rushed him. One great forehoof descended like a pile driver, just as the rifle spoke. But that shot was never aimed at Lop Horn.

Other ears had listened to Strode’s backwoods art that night. Matt Kennedy, camped less than a mile away with a party of sportsmen, had hearkened with peculiar intentness to the appeal of the distant cow moose. The old guide’s senses, sublimated

by twenty-five years of wilderness life, seemed to detect a certain false cadence in the call. Taking up his rifle, he left camp unobserved to make a stealthy investigation, for he knew Lop Horn was somewhere in this district. By the time Strode sounded his third call Kennedy was stationed in a willow thicket a hundred yards down shore, fully convinced now that the sounds issued from a hunter’s birch-bark horn. Stepping out into the moonlight, he advanced boldly down the beach.

AS HE did so a very pandemonium of

*■ threshing and windy gruntings burst from the dark thickets ahead, and a rifle shot rang out, the bullet passing so close to Kennedy that a chill swarmed up his spine. That shot, he knew beyond doubt, had been meant for him.

At the moment the guide came in sight. Strode had gone to his knee, rifle ready. When, instead of the moose he had expected, he beheld the figure of Kennedy in the moonlight, the black thought possessed him on the instant to silence Matt for all time with a bullet and efface the score between them. The night and the utter remoteness of the spot, over sixty miles from a settlement, were both conducive to the deed.

His decision was clenched in the small end of a second. I íe pressed the rifle stock to his cheek and squeezed the trigger. But in that very instant he felt the ground tremble beneath him and a mighty weight crashed down on him.

Pressing hastily through the thickets. Kennedy saw the huge form of Lop Horn in a paroxysm of rage, trampling the body of a man that lay inert on the ground. So vast was his anger that when Kennedy ran forward, shouting, the black bull charged him blindly, and only by taking refuge in a tree did Matt save himself. It was a long time before the tall bull’s wrath cooled. Finally, with a snort and a shake of the head, he wheeled about and, paying no further attention to either man, strode contemptuously down into the lake, as if seeking to cool the fire of his rage.

The body of Strode had been crushed and battered into an ensanguined heap. To Kennedy’s eyes the whole tableau became clear in a flash as he recognized the body. 1 le knew well the dark workings of Strode's mind; there was not a doubt in his heart but that the fur-buyer had meant to kill him and that he owed his life that night to Lop Horn, who had stolen up behind the hunter all unknown, as wary mcxjse often will. Matt gets rather incoherent about it all at this point. He shies like all his kind from sentiment; he has no apt or psychological phrases in which to express the miracle of the thing. He simply ends his story with a truculent, “Yes, sir, take it or leave it, that happened more’n eight years ago, mister! And that’s why I’m sitting by this fire tonight.” Easy Education

Students Who Pay Their Own Way Said to Profit More Than Others

AN ANONYMOUS novelist writes in Woman's Day (the article being also printed in Reader's Digest in condensed form) that nowadays many youths obtain advantages, such as a college course, in so easy a manner that they do not appreciate them and consequently do not benefit as they should. She states:

Last year my older boy graduated from high school and I could have sent him to college. I did not do it.

Why? Precisely because I want him to have every advantage.

For years the school records of my boys had troubled and baffled me. They were unashamed of a low grade, uninterested in a high one. In vain I tried to spur them to ambition. I lay awake nights worried by my failure to awaken in them energy and earnestness. 1 could not understand it. They had excellent minds; they were boys to be proud of; yet nothing they did was well done. In their home tasks they were slipshod, irresponsible. They never had the deep satisfaction of doing a distasteful job thoroughly, of conquering themselves and their work.

The young today are far happier, healthier, more widely informed about a vastly larger world than we were, but they lack a solidity of character that we had. My boys, too, lacked initiative. Constantly 1 told them that they must be supporting themselves when they were twenty, and they thought this reasonable. But in the meantime they had too little money, and accepted that fact; they did not “get out and hustle,” as we used to do. When jobs offered, they took them, but they did not see work that needed doing, and thus create jobs for themselves. They did not run under their own power. Fruitlessly I tried to prod them.

I know now that the best of my life was its hardship. Struggling out of poverty developed invaluable strength. Having conquered so much, we know that we are stronger than adversity. In hard times we do not give way to despair we know it for the spur it is.

When I started to school. I had to go two miles in winter’s snows. If I did not get there, that was my loss; if 1 did not thoroughly learn my lessons, that was my disgrace. Before I reached the Fifth Reader, there was iron in my soul.

My boy had been cheated of that advantage. Schooling was no longer an eagerly desired privilege; it was compulsory. He had to go to school. and. being normally bright, no effort was required to get the sixteen units necessary for his high school diploma. Why try for more units, and why try for gxxl grades?

He said he had to have a university degree to lxan engineer. I f I couldn’t send him. he couldn’t go, and then he couldn’t be an engineer. 1 le said, discouraged, "You can’t get a job at anything, nowadays.”

Well, it was impossible to get a job when I got one, in the panic of 1907. 1 got a job because I would have starved if I hadn’t; I was hungry when 1 forced myself into an office and created a life-saving clerk’s job at $2.50 for a seven-day week of twelve hours work a day, and in spare time I taught myself to telegraph, in spite of the operators hounding me away from the wires. My boy was just as gotxl stuif ; the only thing wrong was that he had not had my advantages.

For a whole year I said to him, “If you go to college, you must go.” 1 tried to make him realize that a man must get what he wants by his own efforts.

It was cruel. But the more atrocious cruelty that we inflict upon our children is in depriving them of hardship, in keeping them helpless in schxl until they must go into the battle of living without experience of it. I would not give my boy four years

more of that weakening protection. If his life is to be any good at all. he must be a fighter, conquering himself and his circumstances. A man must compel his world to give him what he wants. Men always have done this; refusing to be licked, they have created everything valuable that we have.

“I guess I’ll have to get a job,” he said uncertainly.

“I guess you will,” I said.

He left home to look for one. For ninety-seven days I did not hear a word from him. Times were getting harder. He had no special skill, no experience. I did not know w'here he was, and 1 knew his few dollars must be gone.

At last a telegram came from a remote town: Am radio expert in largest garage here. Chose this town because it had no

radio expert. Company bought me tools and equipment. Doing well and intend to go to university next year. Love.

How he did it, I do not know. He was no radio expert when he left me, but I do not doubt that he is a gcxxl one now. I learned typing the same way, on pure bluff and nerve, having got a telegrapher’s job that I could not hold without typing. And I do not doubt that he will get his university degree. He has an advantage now, more valuable, I think, than any that money could buy; nobody is giving him what he wants, he is getting what he wants. He is running under his own power.

There is all the difference in the world between sending a boy to college and helping a boy who will work to get to college.

Nazi Influence

South Americans, Viewing Develo pm ent s in Europe , Pear German Pressure

HAVING increased their influence in Europe, Hitler and Mussolini are now speeding up their propaganda in South America; but there the “tragedy of Czechoslovakia” has made a strong impression and, according to an article in the New York Times, the dictators are meeting with obstacles. We are told that: Hardly had the Duce left the fourpower conference at Munich than his Minister of Popular Culture, Dino Alfieri, gave the press a glowing account of Fascist cultural activities in the countries of South America.

He spoke about the effectiveness not only of “the press, the telegraph, the radio and the cinema,” but also of “the theatre, music and literature” in promoting closer relations between the Italian Empire and the nations of the southern continent. Increasing attention, he said, would be paid to the spreading of such aesthetic education, because these countries are bound to Fascist Italy “by the strong ties of blood and civilization.”

As a matter of fact, the cultural campaign of the Italians has met with much more success in the various countries to the south of us than have their efforts in the field of trade and commerce. Except for a considerable increase in the sale of airplanes to some of the governments, Italy ranks below all the other major countries in the trade of South America.

In most of the important cities with large Italian colonies, Fascist propaganda agents are on hand to promote loyalty among Italian nationals.

The German Nazi party likewise maintains agents in most of the important cities of the continent.

Strangely enough, the countries with the largest Italian populations—Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay—are not the countries in which Mussolini’s subjects have been concentrating their activities lately. The reason is that the great majority of Italians in these three Eastern republics are old settlers who have grown up with the countries, accumulated property, become wealthy and are jealous of any encroachments by outsiders.

It is in Bolivia, Chile, Peru and the countries of Western South America, where their nationals have settled more recently, that the Fascists are making their greatest bid for loyalty among Italians and for friendship with the natives.

Hitler’s acquisition of parts of Czechoslovakia has brought forth bitter editorial comment in practically every country from the Caribbean to Cape Horn. T. Gabriel Duque, owner of The Star and Herald of Panama, whose wife is German, has published an editorial saying, “Czechoslovakia has been sold out to the aggressive sabre-rattling totalitarians by demoralized, timid champions of democracy.” Throughout the South American countries “the tragedy of Czechoslovakia” has made a strong impression on governments and leaders. The smaller countries, some of which have experienced long periods of oppressive government, realize that their own dictators have much to learn from those of Europe. At the same time the large colored — Indian and African — populations in such countries as Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru are becoming increasingly resentful of Fascist boasts of Nordic and Caucasian superiority.

The latest, and one of the most significant, indications of the cooling attitude of officials and citizens of the other Americas toward the Fascist powers of Europe, and their leaning toward the United States was the spontaneity and promptness with which they followed President Roosevelt's lead in pleading for a peaceful solution of the Czechoslovak difficulty.