By Alfred Sutro
[From King Albert’s Book.]
I have translated many books of Maeterlinck’s; I have wandered with him among the canals of Bruges and the fragrant gardens of Ghent; I have seen the places where he dreamed of Pelleas and Melisande, and the hives of the bees he loved. Through him I learned to know Belgium, today all the world knows. Her cities are laid waste now and her people scattered, but her people will return and rebuild the cities, and the enemy will be dust. The day will come when the war will be far distant, a thing of the past, remote, forgotten, but never, while men endure or heroism counts, will it be forgotten what the Belgians did for Liberty’s sake and for the sake of Albert, their King.
Two Mustard Seeds of Reform Carried From This Land to the Steppes
By Isabel F. Hapgood
When Russia recently abolished the sale of liquor, first in the shops run as a Government monopoly, and, after a brief experience of the beneficent results, in the restaurants and clubs as well, an astonished and admiring world recognized the measure as one of the greatest events in the moral history of a nation. It takes rank with the reforms of Peter the Great. It almost casts into the shade the emancipation of the serfs.
There has always existed in Russia a strong party which severely disapproved of Peter precisely because he forced “Western” ideas upon them. Their idea has always been that Russia would have developed a far higher degree of genuine culture and far more precious spiritual qualities had she been left to the promptings of her own genius and its “healthy, natural” development. And there are, indubitably, persons scattered through the vast Russian Empire who entertain parallel opinions with regard to the total prohibition of liquor just effected, and with regard to the projected change in the calendar now assumed to be imminent. I trust that I shall not increase their numbers to dangerous proportions if I call attention to the fact that these reforms have also, like Peter the Great’s ideas, been imported from the West—from the Far West, the United States. I am sure my fellow-countrymen will be gratified to learn the truth, and I cheerfully accept the risk, and assume that Russia will, in all probability, remain ignorant of my interference!
It is true that we do not have actual, effective prohibition anywhere here in America, and that we do not seem to be within measurable distance of such an achievement; that Russia has distanced us again in this, just as she distanced us by emancipating her serfs, without a war, before we emancipated our slaves, with the aid of a war. But we have supplied the scriptural mustard seed in the case of prohibition in Russia, and have either furnished the seed for the change in the calendar, or, at any rate, have provided elements that have hastened its growth to a very remarkable degree.