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June 03, 1939 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 1939-06-03
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(Cotninued from Page 3)
MEDIAEVAL PAGEANT by John ing display of narrative to please his

bolt upright in the back seat, twisting
her fingers and swivelling her head.
around to see where the music was com-
ing from.
"It is merely the radio, Maman. My
heavens, Violette, by this time you
should surely know that automobiles are
equipped with radios," the old man said
calmly. "The old lady doesn't keep up
with things," he said to John. "I have
read for a long time in the papers how
the American automobiles have radios
in them."
"How do you like my car?"
"Ah, it is a fine car, my boy, a fine
car. Of course, I have driven in auto-
biles before, you understand. When I
was once in Paris, I drove all over the
city, for at least an hour, in a taxi. But
this is a very nice automobile."
Edith turned to look at the old lady,
who was sitting very stiffly, her hands
clenched together. Her face was quite
pale. "John," Edith said, "I think you'd
better stop the car. I'm afraid Madame
Deval is ill."
John swung the car over to the side
of the road and brought it to a stop. He
jumped out, walked around to the side
of the car and opened the door for the
old lady, who stepped out very slowly.
"I will be all right," she said. "If I can
just walk off by myself for a minute
# will be all right."
They watched her as she walked off
the road, into a clump of bushes. She
was quite bent over, and she walked
with one hand on her hip and the other
hand covering her mouth.
"She will be all right," said the old
mnan. "I should have told you, she has
never been in an automobile before,
and the excitement, no doubt. You
know." He winked at John and Edith.,
In a minute the old lady was back.
She climbed into the car and they
drove off, with Edith holding her hand.
"How are you, old lady?" the old man
called back.
"I am fine."
"It is the car-sickness," he said con-
Now the old lady was well and she be-
gan to look about her, savouring the
scenery. Soon she was chatting freely
with Edith.
In less than an hour, they had reached
the town where Henri the college pro-
-fessor lived with his family. They parked
in front of his little home, and every-
one waited in the car while John went
to the door. In a moment the door
had opened and John disappeared with-
John reappeared shortly, with his
arm around a neatly dressed man of
thirty-five or so. They were followed
out the door by a woman and her son,
a boy of ten. They came down to the
automobile and John introduced them
all to Edith. They were a charming
little family, she thought, the type of
family that one would expect the old
people to have.
John said, "We're all going to drive
out and eat dinner at some place that
Henri knows about." Everyone piled into
the car and they started off again.
Henri, who seemed to be a very intelli-
gent young man, spoke a passable Eng-
lish, and Edith appreciated the oppor-
tunity to speak English again. He was
very interested in America, and wanted.
to know all about the American uni-

Revell Reinhard, New York,
Harcourt, Brace & Co.
Wazted Saturday afternoons, double-
lens spectacles, complicated footnotes-
these are but a few of the unpleasant
associations which spring into mind at
the mention of the word "scholarship."
This, however, is but a popular concept
of the function and purpose of the
scholar. Sometimes the "Learned Friend"
smiles, and not infrequently he passes
on his humor, sans bibliographical refer-
ences, to the layman.
As welcome proof that scholars have
a sense of humor, a taste for a lively
story, and a general warmth of human-
ity, Professor John R. Reinhard of the
English Department here at the Uni-
versity offers his recently published
collection of tales, Mediaeval Paceant.
This colorful and varied pageantry of
stories does not travel along the beaten
highways of medieval fiction worn
smooth by Chaucer and Boccaccio, but
wanders instead down little-known b -
ways, culling the best from the diversi-
fied literatures of the Middle Ages.
Drawn mainly from Scandinavian, Irish,
Welsh, Celtic, English, French and Ital-
ian sources, the cosmopolitan collection
of one hundred and fifty stories in prose
and verse affords a panoramic view of
medieval life.
Aside from this underlying historical
value, the immediate purpose of the
author is to entertain the Gentle Read-
er. Striking, colorful incident, comic,
situations, or scenes of tragedy and
pathos form the nuclei of each of the
stories which are concerned with a
wide range of nationalities and classes,
Thus the casual reader finds a tempt-

personal taste. t rough the correction
runs a pronounced vein of humor which
finds expression at one time in the
hoarse bellowings of a shaggy Icelander
and at another in the swift white smile
of a warm-blooded Italian.
In preparing the background and
narrative links which bind these stories
into one coherent and plausible whole,
Professor Reinhard displays commend-
able imaginative ability. A great medie-
val company of kings and priests, monks
and minstrels are gathered at Pem-
broke Castle in Wales. Bound by a
kindred spirit of adventure or narra-
tive skill, these semi-real figures move
in a dreamlike atmosphere where any-
thing can happen. Out of an after-din-
ner conversation which touches on such
topics as dice throwing, table manners,
cures for madness, and the character-
istics of cats, a natural opportunity is
given for each narrator to step forth
from the shadows and relate his story.
The author's connective ligatures which
display an intimate knowledge of the
character and outlook of each speak-
er, are often as humorous and enter-
taining as the stories themselves. When
such heterogenous personalities as
Richard the Lion-hearted, Edmund
Spenser, John Skelton, Einar Rattle-
scale, Marco Polo and a host of learned,
clerics and soldiers of fortune are
assembled, verbal and physical clashes
are inevitable. The author takes fre-
quent advantage of the humorous pos-
sibilities of the situation-incipient fist
fights are continually smouldering, dif-
ferences of opinion are shouted bellig-
erently, and one redheaded Welshman
is unceremoniously thrown into the
Although much can be said for the
structural ingenuity and the funda-

mental scholarship of the author, he
deserves praise on other grounds. The
Mediaeval ?ageant makes clearly ap-
parent that uninhibited masculinity was
once part of our literary and social
fabric and this insistence comes as a
welcome relief to the maladjusted and
sugar-coated characters who people,
modern fiction. This heritage of be-
lief in personal physical prowess and
mental and volitional strength has been
forgotten in a society in which repres-
sion is considered more admirable than
expression. Our "refined" natures rebel
at the seeming crudity of medieval man
who had the courage to translate desires
into actions with a fine disregard of
consequences. As rationalization for our
loss of individuality we peer through
our veil of sophistication at the men of
the Middle Ages and scorn them for
their intellectual denseness, their ascet-.
ic morality, and their grossness and
brutality. In the popular mind, the are
a veritable race of "men with hoes." If
it is true that the Irish and. Norseme.
in the tales noisily suck marrow from
huge bones and playfully throw the
joints at each other's heads, it is equally
true that we modern "heroes" fish val-
iantly and determinedly for cherries
at the bottom of cocktail glasses; Rich-
ard the Lion-hearted ate boiled Saracens
for lunch-we balance our diet with
white mice, gold fish, and Victor Re-
cordings of Beethoven's Fifth; medieval
lovers had a man-eating maiden to terri-
fy them-we have the Michigan co-ed.;
the hearts of medieval ladies beat high
for the chivalrous and courageous Ga-
wain and Lancelot-our wives and
sweethearts leave home for Charles,
Boyer and Errol Flynn. These stories,
therefore, instead of constituting a fur-
ther indictment of medieval values,
afford a healthy antidote for the "soft-
ness" of modern standards.
As the author expressly states in his
Preface, his elected tales are not pri-
marily intended as contributions to
scholarship. Readers untutored in medi-
eval lore will have no trouble in appre-
ciating them on their literary merits
alone. If the Gentle Reader desires to
supplement the insight into the Middle
Ages provided by this collection of fic-
tion, G. G. Coulton's Mediaeval Pano-
rama is an excellently documented hand-
book for the historical and social back-
grounds of the times.
Mediaeval Pageant is notably success-
ful as an adventure in entertainment,
as a source of interesting literary anec-
dote, and as a healthy experience in
robust, masculine living.
and J. H. S'TIBBS
John Stein beck; Viking
Press, New York
John Steinbeck's previous novels,
Tortilla Flat, In Dubious Battle, Of
Mice and Men have given him a high
place among American writers, a place
that remained however, until the publi-
cation of this book, a curiously anomal-
ous one. Most critics were in agreement
about his control of form, his warmth of
understanding, his steadily developing
narrative abilities. But there was some-
thing tentative about all his work. He
had somehow become a major writer
without producing a single major book.
With the appearance of Grapes of
Wrath, this is no longer true. Rather
than merely quaint or sad or lovable,
his characters have become mpresenta-
tive individuals involved in one of the
great and meaningful social transfor-
mations of the present-day world. His
canvas covers half a nation; his under-
standing, of social and economic forces
has matured. Sympathy for the out-
casts and the exploited has become a
compelling cry for justice and. for free-
dom, because he has discovered that

dispossession and eventual enslavement
threaten, not only a picturesque minor-
ity, but the entire American people.
The story begins with Ton Joad's
return to his family after serving time
in the state penitentiary for killing a
man in self-defense at a country dance.,
-The Joads are Oklahoma tenant farmers,
who have tilled their forty acres of


As a Sword swung at midnight
I saw one small wavering, edge of light
Biting, the darkness bending above these fields that are staked out
Swift barricades of wonder deny the flood its ego
And purge it of its poisoned particles.
Across these fields it flows a clear stream of singing sense,
Its essence pure and purposeful as blood in arteries.
Its body blossoms perfectly
New petals drinking light
Working a new synthesis for every fraction of eternity
Theirs hands reach upward to stars
That spring full-blown from eyes and lips
Flowers blooming in the womb of Sarah's barrenness.
-Nelson Wylie

OHN Harwood had been to France
once since the war, on business. Now
he was back with his wife and his car.
He had said to her, "We'll drive to the
east by slow stages, and then we'll go
south to the Spanish border, then back
up to Paris along the coast, Edith." And
she had said, "All right, dear."
Now they were driving along the road
that winds across from Dijon to Arbois.
John was rather silent, commenting
occasionally on the fact that there were
no billboards to mar the scenery; Edith
agreed. They had beenmarried for
fifteen years, and Edith knew very little
about her husband except that he was
in a good business and that he was kind-
hearted and very good to her. She also
knew that he had been in the war, but
he never spoke of it, and she thought
she understood.
At length he said casually, "This
country hasn't changed a bit." Edith
'waited, then said, "Is this where you
used to be?" She was unsure of her
phrasing. John, however, took no notie
and went on. "I was quartered in
Arbois in 1918 and I thought it would
be interesting to go back and see what
the town looks like." He was explain-
ing to her, but he was not speaking to
her; and Edith knew now that there
was some reason.
When they were a few miles from
Arbois, John spoke, his eyes focused
tightly on the road. "I don't know if I
ever told you, but I was billeted in Arbois
at the home of a man of about sixty,
a civil servant, with a wife and three or
four little kids. I was just a youngster
at the time, but I got along well with
them; I was out all day, and when I
came home at night to sleep sometimes
I would sit around and talk with the
old fellow. He was a completely good-
hearted man."a
"But how do you know he's alive?"
Edith asked. "After all, they must be
nearly eighty now. It's a long time."
"They'll be there. We'll just spend
the day with them."
"All right, dear, if you say so."
They drove on in silence until the
road narrowed (it was not like an
American road, even in the country)
and they reached the little sign: Ville
d'Arbois. Soon they were on the main
street of the little village; it was nar-
row and bumpy, and it seemed that
their Buick was the only automobile in
the town. Although it was midafter-
noon of a lovely spring day, there were
very few people abroad. The shops
seemed almost deserted; several chil-
dren were playing hop-scotch along the
sidewalk, and an old man sat on the
stoop of his cottage, next door to a
wine shop, gravely puffing his pipe and
watching the children.
"Do you know where to go, John?"
"Oh yes," he said, "I remember very
well, but I'm not sure whether their
street is wide enough for the car. We
turn right two blocks up."
They turned right, and again to the
right; on this street the houses were
much further apart, for they were al-
ready practically on the outskirts of
the town. The Buick jounced along
the little cobbled road until it reached
the farthest house. Here John parked
the car. They sat there for a moment,
peering out at the house. It was a little
old clapboard structure, and it was im-
possible that it contained more than
three rooms; the frame was entirely
overgrown with creeping vines, which
wound their fingers in and out of the
dusty shutters. There was no lawn
about the house: it was surrounded
instead with lilac bushes, peonies, and
tulip beds, and purple pansies grew
around the dooryard. Edith was not
quite sure why John sighedbefore he
said, "Well, let's go in."
They walked along the mossy flag-
stones to the low, warped door and stood

No longer visited
By that tumultuous sea
That flings the heart-about
In an audacious rout.
Of extremity,
3I longed for what I once had:
A daring, doom-eager heart,
Most willful, most stubborn pate
All women or their love
Might make a mockery of;
And a spirit born in hate
Of indifferent art.
"Laugh till the sinews break
And the heart cracks with delight,
And the timid, entangled mind,
'Unwinding and unwound,
Sings with delirious sight
Of such heartache;"
Sang the spirit, undeterred;
"And build this labyrinth
In an insurgent place
Most nourishing a race;
Out of your ruin's strength
These articulate words!
Make of the mind a tower,
And of the heart a gong;
A gracious, high, eager house,
Venturesome, perilous,
Where sings, though with ruinous
The spirit's character."
-Kimon Friar

there searching for the bell. "Where
is the bell?" asked Edith.
"There's no bell, you pull this rope
and it swings the bell inside," said John.
"I used to do it before I could come
and go without ringing."
"Oh, how quaint," Edith murmured.
In a few seconds the door was opened
by a fat, scraggly haired old man in an'
opened vest and worn slippers, who
stared at them quizzically over his
glasses. "Hello, Papa Deval," John said.
The old man's mouth opened wide.
He stood for a second, amazed, then
flung his arms out and clasped John
warmly. "Jean, you've come back. I
never believed it, I never believed it,
even after what you said." He held

ONE WAY PASSAGE .. . by Harvey

and I used to play casino here eve-
nings." His wife said nothing.
They sat perfectly still, and in a
short time the silence would have be-
come embarrassing if the old man had
not come hopping back into the room,
displaying a remarkable agility. He
was dragging his wife behind him. John
and Edith rose to their feet. The old lady
was almost petrified with excitement.
"Jean, 'Jean," she shrieked over and
over, "you've come to see us, all the
way from across the ocean." She kissed
him loudly on both cheeks. "The same
old Jean!"
"And you, you're looking fine, Ma-

metres from I
and a little b
while he come
ily. Just ima
seur Deval. A
the train, too
"Well, that
Both of the
ing; the old :
collecting coo
give her gues'
who was inte
pattern of th
eyes occasiona
Suddenly the
to his feet w
walked over t
in the darkesi
said to John,
I have somet
raised his eye
and got up to
probably been
carpet was o
ago, when I w
show you this
He was reachi
of the chest:1
letters wrap
"Look, these s
husband has s
a fine friend
every one. Yo
them, eh Jean
John was sil
"Look, I ca
long it was sir
are all in Frei
Then here yo
grammar, the
here you star
fish. more an
ters I have ta
a very cultivat
lated them fo
Edith knew
refusing to 10
so much the r
for it which fi
her feel, for
years, that sh
By some eff
turning to tl
loudly (so tha
"How would y
in my car? Pe
if you point 01
" Aha, that
"that's fine.
no, Maman?
and his famil
genially. The
so excited th
word; she ra
"All right,
John a little t
have too muc
"You know
fidentially to
to be a real a
She's never 1:
all, she's a gi
I am, she's w
know. Me, II
train with He
They walke
"Now," John
pose you sit
and Maman s
"Fine, fine.
after the old
directions, Jol
had passed t1
were again r
side, John be
of the radio. I
a Paris statio:
a musical pr
in loud and :
shriek, "Ai! w
what is happ
It was the

finished their cigarettes, they got up
and returned to the car. The sun had
long since passed its zenith, and it was
flooding the green valley-now with gold;
as soft and warm as the wine.
They drove back to Henri's home
more slowly than they left it,' and
Edith was really sorry to say good-bye
to them, for they were very nice people,
and besides she was afraid once again
of being left alone in the car with John
and the old people. When the old lady
had kissed the boy for the last time, and
slipped a few francs into his hand, they
turned around and drove back to Ar-
The sun was already setting when
they reached the little cottage. The old
people insisted on their coming inside.
The living room was dim by now, and
John stood there, far from Edith, peer-
ing about in the dimness.
The old lady was puttering about in
the corner, and in a moment she had
come up to Edith, clenching something
tightly in her wrinkled hand. "This is
for you," she said, holding her hand
out to Edith. It was a ring, a delicate
little ring, which coud obviously no
longer fit on the gnarled and swollen
finger of the old lady.
"It was my grandmother's wedding

ring, and we pass it on in the family
from the mother to the daughter."
"But I couldn't take it," Edith said.,
"I couldn't possibly take it."
"I want you to have it," the old lady
said, slipping it onto Edith's finger,
"because you are like my own daugh-
ter now." There was nothing for Edith
to say.
There was nothing to keep them any
longer, and they walked out to the car,
followed by the old couple. On the way
out the old lady bent over and snipped
off a large white peony. She gave it
to Edith, saying, "You are such a pretty
girl, and you make a nice wife for
Jean." My God, Edith thought, and I
will be forty soon.
The four people stood around in front
of the car, waiting rather awkwardly.
Then, as John was opening the door o$,
the car, the old man grasped him by
the shoulders and kissed him. "Mon
meilleur ami," he said.
They drove off slowly, waving.. good-
bye to the old couple until-they.had
faded from sight. Now they were in
the country, driving into the sunset,
and it was a long time before Edith
buried her face in the.peony and began,
to cry.

'John at arms' length and surveyed him.
"You haven't changed much, you look
like the same old Jean, even without
your uniform."
"Ah, and you haven't changed either.
You still wear your glasses over your,
nose, eh?"
"But certainly. How can I see other-
wise? And this, this is your wife, I
presume? I remember, you wrote to
me that you were married."
"That's right," John laughed. "My
wife, Edith Harwood, Papa Deval."
. Edith was too surprised to greet the
old man. It was surprise enough to hear
John speak fairly good French, but to
find out that he had been correspond-
ing with these people - and she had
never known!
"Come in, come in," the old man was
saying. "The house hasn't changed a
bit, not a bit. And Maman will be
anxious to see you. Here, sit in your
old chair, Jean. See, there on the table
are the same cards that we used to play
witlh. And you sit here, madame. I will
go fetch the old lady; she's puttering
around in the back of the house."
John sighed as he sat down in the
old chair, whose rockers resembled bar-
rel staves. He picked up the dog-eared
playing cards, began to shuffle them
idly, and said to his wife, "The old man

"She's a little deaf, Jean," explained
the old man, and then added proudly,
"but I can hear as well as ever."
"Well, now tell me, what has been
happening here? What have you been
doing with yourselves? Where are the
"Ah, the children. The two girls are
both married a long time now. Millicent
is in Marseilles-she's got six children.
And Henrietta is living in Perpignan.
Her husband is a customs inspector. And
what she writes us about those poor
Spaniards who have been fleeing over
the border from the Italians and the
Moors, oh, it's terrible. Terrible, I assure
"And Pierre? And Henri?"
"Pierre, I think he is a good-for-noth-
ing, that's what I think." He turned
to his wife and shouted, "Isn't it so, that
Pierre is a goodfor-nothing?" She
niodded sadly.
"Yes, he is in Paris. What he is do-
ing in the big city I don't know. Because
the only time he writes to us is when
he wants us to send him some money.
But Henri, he is a good boy. He is a real
success, Henri."
"Is that so? What is he doing?" Edith
watched her husband's face light up in
"He is teaching Greek and IAtin at
the College, which is about seventy kilo-

It seemed that they were in the
middle of the conversation when John
pulled the car off the highway and
turned up a winding road that led
evidently to an impressive castle, situ-
ated at the, top of a hill. "This is no
longer a chateau, just a restaurant
now," Henri explained.
They found that they could all sit at
a large table in the open air. The food.
was excellent, and. with the younger
Devals to talk to, Edith no longer felt
quite so lonely. When the wine was all
gone, and when John and Henri had..

9 * * ,

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