The New York Times from New York, New York on December 13, 1908 · Page 51
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The New York Times from New York, New York · Page 51

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 13, 1908
Page 51
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'' ii.i ,'''""';'"?";";! 1;" ' ' ".' '..'."..'. ''."...." ; -.---" v - - V " " V ' '."'-'"'. ."-.-."';:'-' . " T J Well-K nown New FY" orkers R n .i -r i ;!i I r t I can tne luietiae oi; JLiOhg Ago -t Changes Time Wrougkt in 7.V America' t refretentaliv men herewith compare Christ mas at His now with the Christmasei t that came in the "good old days. ' Through some of the reminiscences tktrt runs a strain of regret. But that will not seem strange when it is recalled that to some of those who here recall the gayeties of those ear--Her yuletidetyulelides that once' strmfd so far afart, the leagues of life now seem " shorter than boyhood's lingering miles." But turning from these recollections of the slow-coming Christmases of older years, these tell of the Christmases of the present time and oj the changes which they have noted, f- .WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS Ciyi that We Should Return tQ a Simpler and Saner Christmas. T ta to b Tipped that wo will return to a simpler and saner attitude to-wardChrlBttnas," said . Mr. William ftean Howells. M Our habit of Christmas jlvlnff has become a trtirden In America, and I understand, that this custom of , making numerous costly and often sense-'ls gift has had Its Influence la Eng-',4and. It Is In the American temperament , to make expensive gifts merely because It Is the fashion to do so. It is very much the same with our tipping habit. We give too much, by all standards, simply j because others do so. j " In my boyhood days in Southern Ohio Christmas was celebrated with f irecrack-er, colored fires, and Roman candles. It would seem unnecessary that the youth of h country should be exposed to sudh a bombardment merely to express j his Christmas sentiment. Later I went to Bocton at the time the Dickens revival was at Its height, and the effort to celebrate Christmas In the Dickens mode was universal. I recall the reaction which soon net In. One prominent Bostonlan, in a not unnatiifnl rebellion, described, his delight In seeing at least one man on, the streets of Huston, a very humble person carrying a bundle of wood, who had, the distinction of not making presents on this day. The fashion- of celebrating j the Cnrlntmns feanon differs widely from tlmn to time. It was Washington Irvfag who In "a sense originally gave us I our Chrtstm.ts in America by interpreting for us with Inimitable grace the ancient Christmas rites of Holland." CHAUNCEY M. DEPEW I Thinks Greatest Festival at 75 Cannot Rival the Joy of 15. j AFTKR all, is Christmas not a matter cf age, and is not our delight in it n.earured by- our capacity fop en joyment For one who will be 75 yearp old tefore another Christ man arrives even thev : most elaborate featlvnj of to-tlay cannot rival our Christmas at 15. But to speak Inperson.illy the' C'hrlstman as celebrated In New York In these later days grows Jnerrler, more universal, brings, in ?hort, ' greater happiness to all than ever before. The tendency is to make Christmas imer-' ar for all, year by year, for the Christinas spirit to pervade every corner of the . great city, and hence Its Importance. As a boy I recall listening to a sermon t the Christmas season which it will be iatereattng to recall. The sermon j was tot preached on Christmas, for the church was not opened on that day. The clergyman, a man famous for his scholarship aad orthodoxy, presented a long argument that Christ ' was not born on Christmas Day, .but as a matter of fact late in the Spring, and that therefore, he concluded, there was no reason to celebrate the! day, but on the other hand excellent logical . doctrinal reasons for not observing it at 11. Now, I venture to say that it would be Impossible for such a sermon to be preached to-day in any part of theVinited Slates. '. j As time wore on a few faint gleams f the Christmas spirit began to J play wen about the ju!plts of these "curious W doctrinaires. At first a very) few imjlo Cowers began td appear In the churches on Christmas). In many places feeling ran very- high against the intrusion. We live in a broader and, I believe, btttrr era. Compare the narrowness of the old divine who preached, against this Celebration, with the Joyous day i has coma to be for ua all. The Christmas trees and the holly transform some room In ftt least every home throughout the city. The noliday spirit is abroad in the land. And even in a sceptical age and a gen-ration.of we and precocious children ftill retain our Santa Clam. I hope' this charming individuality may last al-"fcaya. would be a great loss to our chlUlhooO. or e of our sweetest illusions would j,U!,B wllh tn ioss ot thls fath in Soc-d Salut Nicholas, DANIEL FROHMAN iot?s the Gradual Disappearance of J the Christmas Matinee. J FOK Nt York and lr.dctd the entire country Christmas has come to be beyond all qu.Mtor. our greatest civic holiday. The is tojmake moro of it with each recurrent season, sal this Irrespective of race or religion. Iu this grat "melting pot," as America ! has been called, the mixture of races and creeds is so complicated, there are so jnary points of view, such widely varied Holiday Spirit. that we Jean all Join as we do In a single great holiday. At ur present stage of development Christmas ratu rally metns for manV merely a holiday, a season for UlflcatUn and 'amusement. As 4.mer-ic grows older Christmas will gradually come td hava a more serious religious significance f all classes. "j At Christmas more than at any jother season the holiday moqd is everywhere in evidehed, and naturally the theatre plays its part.) While It la atason for theatre-going and many people are attracted on Christmas who rarely attend the (theatre, the Christmas spirit plays curious tricks with our profession. Christmas is likely be our most crowded day.j The public like tQ celebrate the holiday In this way, bt. on the other hand, the! days Immediately preceding Christmas! are likely tj be very bad for us. and so the average for the entire holiday season is likely to differ little from any other time. It seeras odd at first glance that a great city lite New Tork, with its enormous theatres-going population, of all klasses and tattes, should have its time sq taken up witih Christmas preparations hat it should neglect the theatres, all oC them, but suph is the actual situation, lit is a great tribute to the universal observance of the day. j Another significant fact is the gradual disappearance of late of the Christmas matinee. In years past this was always a crowded performance, while to-day many of us find the demand for tlje matinee so slight as not to warrant j a per-formar ce. j I caii only conclude that Christmas is becoming more of a home day aiid the tendenpy is to confine the celebration, until 1 fter the dinner at least, 'ptrlctly to the home. The fact is extremely sig nificant and the tendency is by no means confined to New York, but is to !be 00- served throughout : the country. SMITH ELY New V ork's Old Mayor Recalls Christ mases in the Old City. 1 N EW YORK'S celebration of SChrist- a-ias is after all only a development Jf the past twenty years. Netv York is recikilted so largely from the iountry at larfe and other cities that Christmas is commonly consiaerea an 01a. uung-cs- Quaint. BRANDER MATTHEWS. the J brilliant writer and teacher, was dls-1 cussing literary quaintness jat Columbia.. In illustration of the quaint he said : T . j . " A little girl I know was very bad one dav. phe was so bad that, other! corrections failiPK. her mother took heii to her room 10 whip her. J " ntirtnff this proceedlrrg the 1'ttje girl's brother opened the door and waft about to enfrer. But in her prono position across her mother's knee the little girl twisted around her head and said, severely: . . I " 4 Enldle, go out! Tan't you see were busy: Difficult Repairs HPMAS A. EDISON said recently of aeronautics: ' I " Within five rears the north pole will he reached in a forty-hour trip, and the lrbe will be encircled In a wek. Hilt the tvoe of aeroplane must be changed." continued Mr. Edison, f before such flights are undertaken, or otherwise aeronauts will be talking like the ftutomo-bilistjwho, after buying a cheap far, visited the salesrooms and said: i " Yfou said when you sold me my four horsepower runabout that you'd supply all carts broken? " ' - . j 4 1 Yes. Sir,' said the salesman, j " ' Then.' said the other, let me- have at once, I plense, a rtrst ana tnira ftD, two front! teeth, one left ankle bonei and a nose bridge.' " ! Pop! ' -. j LET Joy." he said, " bBMinconflned j And then, sans further talk, lie tork his pocket corkscrew out. Ana Jirrr.iy putiea ine cor: - Too Sacred to See. ' has been THE German Kaiser has leeri getting Irougn usage at the Keichatag s hand since his Unmtnr THee-ranh interview, hasn't her said Mark twain at a reernt dinner. Those German royalties deem themselves so sacred, too. Listen. 1 i . j " I Was once traveling on tne Continent. A gorgeous flunkv showed me ( through the royal palace of a tiny rrtnc:pality. I a?ked if I could hAve a r B.pse of the ruler himself, and the lac - ledums to a Has JKOT:: tablished custom.' My memory of New York goes back for nearly eighty years, and in such a vista the first general observance of Christmas seems but an affair of yesterday. The New York of my early youth was distinctly a Dutch city. We had our Santa Claim to be sure and our lighted tree, but Santa Claus came on New Year's day, and the tree was lighted a week later than it !s now. We thought little'-of Christmas in those days. The attitude was largely the result of the reaction against the elaborate English Christmas of the past century with its. extremes. The Puritan influence again was strong in the city, and altogether there was little popular approval of Christmas. From the earliest days, however, the holiday spirit was strong In New 'York, but it found expression on New Year's Day alone. A new generation has forgotten the New Year's Day call, once so universally popular. I- have Been the streets of New York so packed with vehicles during the calling hours that they were blocked to all other traflic. Those who had no carriages " walked, and the streets were crowded with a distinctively holiday crowd, which has passed long since and been forgotten. I can recall when the residential section was below Chambers Street, and even then the New Year's call was universal. Everybody who did not receive called, it seemed, in all classes of society. Elaborate luncheons were spread In the different houses. It was a day of general Jollification. It was a great occasion, a day of universal Little Sto ries Place your ear to this wall,' he said solemnly, 'and in about half an hour you will hear his Royal Highness bowling.' " ! No Place for Him. IT was one of those deep growling basso arias which hang Indefinitely on the ge of a real tune without ever quite hitting it. And the man in the party had no use for it at all. J1 was over the girl turned to him. ly perfectly lovely? that Absent Love?" 1 Aria to My He looked at her. " 80 that's what it is. eh? " he- exclaimed. why I had doped it out as an " Ode to a Chuck Steak' They attended no more concerts together that season. A 'Free Advertisement. A FRENCHWOMAN on her wav to this country. met on the steamer the Principal of a well-known school of languages. After she reached New Tork B RAZEN tongues of Moscow's Kremlin Send the message pealing east, TTacr-B,A AaA. ew 1 Eastward o'er the lev T Eastward, while the Russians feast. j O'er Siberia 'tis winging, ! j j On and on, o'er Bertnjr's Straits. , ) Now the New World Joins In singing j Carols of the English waits. ' i 'Neath the Southern Cross elad music, s Over river, lake, and sea, J. j Ovor continent and ocean, j I There la sweetest melody. ; ' I . I Bells in thousands of our steeples, i Eells In thousands of our towers ' - ' good-fellowship, and I. for.Vne, would like to see it back. ! As New York became more cosmopolitan the European Christmas gradually came In. It was a slow development, at first, but as New Year's went out, the demand for 'some substitute naturally asserted itself. The universal Christmas dinner of to-day, which is eaten in every home, rich, and poor, became general scarcely more than two decades ago. The booths which line our sidewalks for miles, the miles of ropes of green, and the decorations which transform' our streets and our houses, date from the same comparatively recent period. It. all lends a very, festive air. to the streets, and I welcome it, but as an old and loyal New Yorker I cannot but regret the New Year's calls of our city and their simple and generoua hospitality. PAUL MORTON Has No Old Experience in City by Which to Make Comparison. w E do not make enoutrh of ChriBt- mas. ' It seems to me in recalling my boyhood that Christmas .was looked forward to with more excitement; that we took a keener delight in the anticipation than we do to-day. As to the tendency In the observation of Christmas in New York I cannot judge. I have no old experiences for comparison. I am a stranger in a strange land. But sneaking generally we should give ourselves f F act she took some lessons at the school, stating that she meant to write a book of her impressions in America, and intimated that she should speak at length of the institution and its master. Thinking of the free advertisement that was to be his, the professor redoubled his affability. ! When the book appeared he read with mixed feelings: ! " On the steamer I met Monsieur X.. Who was seasick in seven languages." That was all. Church Clocks. , F all public clocks about town " oM I I the city salesman. the ones thatj - P Desi nme are church clocks. For years I have lived in the neighborhood of clocks that have chimes, and I find that after I learn their hours for ringing I can depend upon them to the second for correct time. Often, when in a reflective mood. I have wondered If the accuracy of those clocks could be ex- filalned on some ethical principle, as, for natance. the clocks trying to live up to the character of the institution they are a part of. But maybe that ,1s purely a Tie Bell e jueii s fey WALTER BEVERLEY CRANE. Ring', while sing the nations peoples And King Noel scatters flowers. Trinity in old ! Manhattan . t . Speaks to London's old Stl Paul's;; Notre Dame calls to' St, Peter's, , ' Home resounds from all her walls.' Ship bells on all seas and oceans. Lakes and rivers of the world,. Swell the general Alleluia, ' ' AnI Christ's banner Is unfurled! j Hallelujah of Earth's nations,. Grand Hozanna now as then, V. -When sang angels o'er Judea:. ' . ' "Peace on Earth,' Good-Will to Men!"' ' ' ' ' Volea. up more to the spirit of the season; there should be more giving, more receiving, more generosity, more gayety. Christmas should be set apart' by all as a great home holiday and the spirit of the day very Jealously guarded. HENRY CLEWS Believes We Should Model Our Christmas After the English. ' w E should take -the 'English Christ mas -for our. model, and carry the celebration of the day much further than we commonly "do. The danger Is that we will come to look at Christmas merely as a holiday, a day for excursions or amusements of a more or less formal kind. Christmas is essentially a home day'. It should be above all a day for family reunions, for family feasting, for realizing the ideal of ' family life. In New ' York where there is perhaps less home life than in other great cities this fact cannot be too strongly presented. For most of us the happiest recollections of our childhood are those of the Christmas tima. Our happiest memories date from It, and we look back upon these days as we grow older with Increasing fondness. It is an inheritance ofpricelesa value for us all. The dividends upon such an Investment are cumulative. Increasing In an astonishing ratio as time goes on. Here therefore is an opportunity no family can afford to neglect. A merry Christmas carefully planned in the home will an ancy fanciful solution; maybe their reliability has a more practical basis, such as careful winding and setting and first-class clocks to start with. Anyhow, so well established is their reputation for veracity that everybody in the neighborhood sets clocks and watches by. the church clock." , Women's Rights. ' I BELIEVE in woman's rights." timidly asserted the Jone man called to the platform at a great meeting of suffragettes. " Of course I believe In woman's rights. Why, weren't the sheath skirts made expressly to show woman's rights? " How to Do It. D O you want a sure recipe for mak ing automooinsts angry r - mquirea a Chronic Pedestrian. i "Yes," came in eager chorus from all the other pedestrians present. i " Well. listen," said the first speaker. " First, choose a particularly Impressive, begoggled and apparently, swelled-headed give ; our children a wealth of pleasant memories they will retain through life. . Xh suggesting the English Christmas as a jnodel I do not mean that we should follow their custom slavishly. In some English homes ChAstmaa la celebrated fo a week, and certainly in the past century the celebration reached extremes. But he plan so common among all classes In England- and Germany of making Christmas the day above an other days' of (the year, of anticipating It for weeks In j happy preparation and foregoing everything else to make the day a fete day within the family circle is certainly worthy of adoption. We make much of thf day In New York, more, I believe, noW than ever before, but we do not make nearly enough of It. EDWARD LAUTERBACH Does Not See How Jews Should Not Join in Celebration. . ' SINCE Christ was the greatest radical in history, and has had a greater ln- fluence than has any one upon our civilization. I do not see why Jews as well a&j Gentiles should not Join in celebrating Christmas. It is after all a somewhat! complex inheritance, thls holiday we are al anticipating with so much ' pleasure. Tfte. ancient "Feast of Lights" of this season means much to many of us. The turn' In the measurement . of the length days again comes at about this date, and there are other astronomical events of importance as well which may be logically celebrated, at this season. , Men of a great variety of creeds and views find 4 common cause for celebrating a great holiday, and It Is well that we should so celebrate it. . ' - j Within my own memory Christmas was Hot so much as a legal - holiday In New "fork. The banks and, of course, a variety of other houses were open on Christmas,' since there was no -popular demand close them. Christmas came to be observed because of the Dutch arid Catho-ic influence.. So universal lias the celebration become, .however, that even this influence Is lost sight of and we celebrate the day In all classes of society and in a large measure all creeds and philosophies is a matter of course. JOHN DREW Says Actors Do Not Need Calendar to Know When Christmas Comes. rpHE actor's time and leisure must be j j sacrificed to the public to makfi an American noiiaay even n inai aay be Christmas. He sees little of Christinas as others see it. The day Is likely to find him far from. home, and differs little rom . other days except that he must Work rather harder, appearing in two performances Instead of one. For my part I ave not seen a New York Chrlstmaa In rears. But even for the actor the day Is un- automobllisr, in . a particularly- fine and loudly colored car. Then, when he has drawn his car close up to the sidwaik. in order that, it mav be admired, man 'easily by the passing hoi polloi. run up. to mm in a great nurry and make as if to open the door of the tonneau, remarking as you do so: "Grand Central! quick, now!" "Do I look like a taxlcab?" he will sputter. And he will HoubUess add much more, both vehement and vigorous. "Oh, the trick will. work, every time. Try it." " We will." chorused the pedestrians grimly. ..... The Climbers. HOLD It true, with him who strings ' The social. set in divers tones. That we may rise to higher things' On our old friends as stepping stones.' : "- ' ' ' ' ' ' ' A Tosst4 ..:-.'. THE latest thing in toasts comes from " up-State." and was responded t by the father-of twelve daughters, who claims that he ought to know. "To the ladles to their sweetness we give love; to the beauty admiration, and uj lueir nais. me wnoie sidewalk.; fc- The "Pied Piper." - ANEW YORK normal school exaralna-. tion had. amoni its Questions. aa. What is the educational value of The Pied Piper of Harnelln? ' " A would-be teacher answered: " The Pied Piper' teaches children to be kind to anunais, especially rats." . . An Inland , Seaport. AT a business men's meeting In Atlanta '. tht-re was under discussion an arrangement with ' the railroads that allowed merchandise to. be shipped to and from that inland city on a through bill of lading. ' There was much joyous declamation, and one orator explained in enthusiastic at id well-rounded periods that Atlanta was now the equivalent ot a seaport town and able to cope with all rivals. Upon this a Savannahian. whose native city is the real seaport of Georgia, arose and said with some acerbity: "If. you AtiaiUans were to lay a pipe line to the mlstakable. He need net look at-tha calendar to be told when Christmas has come. On this day of days the curtain rises to, disclose an entirely new and dis tinctive' audience. There Is no mis taking . it. The - holiday spirit la attrbad.' 0 It beams from row upon row of faces wh'fch till the house from footlights to the 'topmost gallery. If It be a comedy an actor la playing, his lines will go as never be- tore. The humor is Infectious. 'iThe housa laughs and applauds as does no other audience. Let it "be a melodrama, 'and the " audience will be found receptive to every. appeal. '' . As a. rule, the play has lost Its novelty : for the average theatregoer long before ;. Christmas. The greater part of tba audi- ' ence.has seen the performance before perhaps several times, nearly 'all ar fa miliar with It in a general way ."-But ha Christmas audience seems to cave fur. gotten everything of the play '- It- evst knew. " It Is never critical, never1 blase ' ; And the holiday audience is the same the 'country over. There are several hel- idays where, the observance la largely local In character. And so we find Lta: coin's Birthday. s. great occasion in H3-i nols. .Thanksgiving In-New England, whfla In other sections - one or the other may be MtUe thought of. But Christmas Is universal. There is no mistaking the: Christmas audience from one end ornhe country to -the 'other, - PROF. BRANDER MATTHEWS Thinks We Give Too'Alany'Presentt - and Spend Too Much.' - ' ' . . ; j IN our generous and Impulsive American ;' fashion we have carried at. least one; phase of the Chrlstmaa celebration to , a dangerous extreme," said Prof. Brands Matthews. " We give too many Christmas . present and spend entirely too much' time and money upon, them.: .The spirit ot the season is too often lost sight ot in the ef fort to. distribute an absurd variety of gifts to people who do not care for them. Many people In New York will make tip-; ward of a hundred presents this' season.-' It Is a work of weeks to select them and ' a strain upon- the longest 1 purse and patience.: I believe, that reaction is coming, and a wiser generation will -express their sentiment lnva shnpler and more logical manner. For myself I delight In ' visiting the shops ' at this season, tout' merely to see the bewildering variety of gifts they offer which I don't want.' "Although the nature of our 'celebration may vary, Christmas Itself win always, be for Americans the' great holiday of the year.- .The celebration, of New Year's in New York was . carried .to such an extreme that in the reaction which inevitably followed, the day was almost, lost sight of. It will not be the same with Christmas. Our love for It la too deeply Implanted. rIt Is the season for' the expression of - our best selves, - the love for our fellow-men. our happiness and -contentment with our lot. It is our American temperament to run to extremes, add our c-lebration. of Chrlstmaa vIs no ex-' ceptlon to the rule, but thes,'. excesses, . such as, our too lavish making of gifts, will be reformed naturally, without In any sense taking the best of our Christmas from us. . . s t " How many of us reallx j that It was Washington Irving " who -gave Sua ; our -Christmas as we celebrate it to-day? Dick-; ens did much, of course, but Irving came, -first, Christmas- la, of 6otj-se; a Dutch holiday, with. Its trees aid .lights and toys, and who has taught u so. well how. to love and understand, them a as.Irr-' . ing? Latterly the celebration has assumed a more characteristic American character. We celebrate the day after' our own, fashion, but we should never forget that much of the charm of this 'season !- unconscious Inheritance from-Irving. 11. .... :" The other day I chanced upott-a letter! written by. Cate the great and good Cats to his farmer, directing him to. sen off; uniK-n : 1 00 is ana slaves from ms estate. The two were classed tosethitr.: as a matter of course. It is a long way we have come, from this attitude to the' Salvation Army .8anta Clause with their bells at every corner collecting mpney for. free Chrlstmaa dinners. It is well -to dwell f upon the change at this season, We Americans may overdo the 4gixt, making' and give our presents too freely," ljut it is, -after alL an amiable wesknesa.'" " " - - - - - . 0 .1 . .' DR; ROBERT STUART MacARTHUR Reg-ards Christmas as Prophetic Time When Christ Shall Come Again. . The: enrutmas observance, fortunately, is becoming more general each year. The Puritanic spirit robbed - the Cbrlstmastide of Its uniaue poet-. tion; so far ces this season Is con-, cerned, that spirit is entirely - changed. Many persons who have no . religious' interest In the . season observe' it. for its delightful social features. This is Itself a genuine gain " for .all ' the Interests of eur-'common humanity. More and more are the. religious denominations of all creeds making a part of Christmas day a time of religious worship;, this else is a change in a wholesome direction.'? - In celebrating the birth festival of our , Lord we 'hold up' before the worH. the j central thought- In' Its history. --Christ's. Incarnation is the event around Which all ether events revolve in smaller or larger-" cirelea, . This festival is the- most "Joyous celebration of Christendom; it rutVes the, Joy of childhood more joyous and it light-, ens the burdens of age and sorrow with its tender memories and its triumphant prophecies. It is prophetic of the golden age when YJhrist shall come again, when evil shall be overthrown, and When, the. eong of a redeemed humanity , shall sweep . over the. universe as the. song cf celestial choirs echoed over the plains efEethle-1 hem.'. By- the gifts "which - characterixe this season we commemorate God's great' gift the unspeakable gift of Ills Son to a world lost In sin and wandering In darkness., N.o on can rightly estimate the blessings which flow every year te.ell classes and conditions of men from the' tender . memories and gentle" charSies called forth br the remembranc- of-"-"

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