With the elimination of editorial individuality necessarily follows elimination of individuality in the magazine. More and more, every day, magazines are conforming to the same monotonous type; so that, except for name and cover, it is impossible to tell one magazine from another. Happily one or two—rari nantes in gurgito vasto—survive amid the democratic welter; and all who have at heart not only the interests of literature, but the true interests of the public taste, will pray that they will have the courage to maintain their distinction, unseduced by the moneyed voice of the mob—a distinction to which, after all, they have owed, and will continue to owe, their success. The names of these magazines will readily occur to the reader, and, as they occur, he cannot but reflect that it was just editorial individuality and a high standard of policy that made them what they are, and what, it is ardently to be hoped, they will still continue to be. Plutus and Demos are the worst possible editors for a magazine; and in the end, even, it is the best magazine that always makes the most money.
THE SPIRIT OF THE OPEN
I often think, as I sit here in my green office in the woodland—too often diverted from some serious literary business with the moon or the morning stars, or a red squirrel who is the familiar spirit of my wood-pile, or having my thoughts carried out to sea by the river which runs so freshly and so truantly, with so strong a current of temptation, a hundred yards away from my window—I often think that the strong necessity that compelled me to do my work, to ply my pen and inkpot out here in the leafy, blue-eyed wilderness, instead of doing it by typewriter in some forty-two-storey building in the city, is one of those encouraging signs of the times which links one with the great brotherhood of men and women that have heard the call of the great god Pan, as he sits by the river—
sweet, sweet, O Pan!
Piercing sweet by the river!
Blinding sweet, O great god Pan!
And I go on thinking to this effect: that this impulse that has come to so many of us, and has, incidentally, wrought such a harmony in our lives, is something more than duck-shooting, trout-fishing, butterfly-collecting, or a sentimental passion for sunsets, but is indeed something not so very far removed from religion, romantic religion. At all events, it is something that makes us happy, and keeps us straight. That combination of results can only come by the satisfaction of the undeniable religious instinct in all of us: an instinct that seeks goodness, but seeks happiness too. Now, there are creeds by which you can be good without being happy; and creeds by which you can be happy without being good. But, perhaps, there is only one creed by which you can be both at once—the creed of the growing grass, and the blue sky and the running river, the creed of the dog-wood and the skunk-cabbage, the creed of the red-wing and the blue heron—the creed of the great god Pan.