The Charlotte News

Thursday, September 15, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "Mr. Bumble to Plane" predicts what was likely about to occur with respect to Munich and its inevitable result down the line.

"A Tall Man Dies" remarks on the death of Thomas Wolfe this date in Baltimore from tuberculosis of the brain. Cash would write more poignantly of Wolfe in October in "On Living Forever", and nearly a year later, after interviewing Wolfe's sister Mabel in Asheville, in "His Sister Knew Tom Wolfe Well", July 30, 1939.

While concluding posthumously that he was the "ablest novelist of his generation", Cash was not always so laudatory of him in life, as witness "Wolfe: Genius Or Not?", December 15, 1935. Cash carped amid praise, as many literary critics of the time did, that the young Wolfe, still in his thirties, albeit just five months younger than Cash, had his best writing years ahead of him and was thus far too erratic, meandering between prose and poetry, too subjective, too reliant on personal anecdote to fill the pages.

Whatever the case was, in the end, only the individual reader and time may ultimately decide the enduring touch of any author and the print left behind. Wolfe's plenty has touched through time in seven decades thus far.

Young Icarus lies drowned, God knows where.

Oxford in pursuit of a woman--one of the most dreary spectacles God hath given--Buol's in the afternoon--

Foolish Question: Why are the Tories so eager to say Democracy has failed?

Hair like a copper cloud--feather and flame come back again.

The gutted plums bee-burrowed.

The poisoned inch around the heart.

The cancerous inch.

The burning inch of tongue.

The hairy grass.

The long sea-locks.

The hairy seas.

The other gate of ivory--

Ida--Cadmus--blunt drummed woodenly with blunt fingers. Sir Leoline the baron rich--Thunder-cuffing Zeus--Erasmus fed on rotten eggs--what a breath--Has an angel local motion or "The goose-soft snow."

Feathery snow--The feather-quilted snow.

Freckled eyes.

Wild Ceres through the wheat.

The slow dance of dancers.

The gull swerves seaward like hope--September full of departing leaves and wings.

He sat alone four thousand miles from home--the lonely death of seas at dawn.

The decent and untainted eyes that look on spattered death--Myself dreaming of old battles--For a child the spear goes clearly through--The musical horns beg and the battles press--The phantasy of bloody death: The cloven brain-pan--the one lost second near enough to touch its brother life, but infinitely far.

The wind-blown lights of the town.

A branch of stars.

A hen and a pig.



The vast low stammer of the night. By the rim--the geese go waddling to the Fair.

The minute-whirring flies buzz home to death.

"Old England will muddle through, my lads"--

She has muddled and she's through: but she's not through muddling.

Gull-cry and gull are gone.

Shadow and hawk are gone.

Shadow and hawk are gone.

Shadow and hawk are--


What is this dream of time, this strange and bitter miracle of living? Is it the wind that drives the leaves down bare paths fleeing? Is it the storm-wild flight of furious days, the storm-swift passing of the million faces, all lost, forgotten, vanished as a dream? Is it the wind that howls above the earth, is it the wind that drives all things before its lash, is it the wind that drives all men like dead ghosts fleeing? Is it the one red leaf that strains there on the bough and that for ever will be fleeing? All things are lost and broken in the wind; the dry leaves scamper down the path before us, in their swift-winged dance of death the dead souls flee along before us driven with rusty scuffle before the fury of the demented wind. And October has come again, has come again.

What is this strange and bitter miracle of life? Is it to feel, when furious day is done, the evening hush, the sorrow of lost, fading light, far sounds and broken cries, and footsteps, voices, music, and all lost--and something murmurous, immense and mighty in the air?

And we have walked the pavements of a little town and known the passages of barren night, and heard the wheel, the whistle and the tolling bell, and lain in the darkness waiting, giving to silence the huge prayer of our intolerable desire. And we have heard the sorrowful silence of the river in October--and what is there to say? October has come again, has come again, and this world, this life, this time are stranger than a dream.

--Of Time and the River

Introducing Queens Circle

Queens Circle, by all means, that convergence of Queens Road, Providence Road and Hopedale Avenue ought to be called. It is too cumbersome and unbecoming to keep on referring to it with a wave of the hand as "where Providence and Queens Road come together" or "out there by the Myers Park Methodist Church." For this is a landscaping or engineering or whatever you want to call it, masterpiece. It hath the look of old Vienna to it, for all its modern American utility.

But--ah, yes, there is going to be a but. But a complicated traffic situation has been created. The City is going to put in stop-and-go lights, although the Central Traffic Authority--who, incidentally, is a first-rate building inspector--hasn't figured out what type. With traffic locking horns at Queens Circle from five directions both going and coming, it will take some figuring. And for the sake of what is left of the disposition of our Mr. Paul by the Traffic Authority's masterful solution of the complicated problem at Morehead and McDowell, we do earnestly hope that only a reasonable five or ten minutes will be required to negotiate Queens Circle without running the red lights.

And for that, it may be that no lights and standards need mar the beauty of this asphalt junction. An excellent suggestion was contained in a letter to the editor last Saturday--that a blueprint of the layout be drawn up and sent to the National Safety Council in Chicago for its study and advice. All things considered, especially Mr. Paul, we do believe that this should be done. We must heartily second the motion.

Bold Demands

The nature of the Sudeten Germans' demand on the Czech Government, delivered Tuesday by telephone and in the form of an ultimatum, begins to appear in realistic perspective only when considered apart from the critical question of war in Europe or sympathy for minorities. Whatever rights the Sudetens may be entitled to are as yet for Prague rather than Berlin to decree. Until authority over them has been shifted, either by force or by accord, they are subject to the laws and bound by the action of Czechoslovakia. Any other course would be anarchy.

Demand No. 1 was that martial law invoked by the Czech Government [remainder of sentence indiscernible]. This was equivalent to an insistence on the right of Sudeten mobs to continue to riot, as they were rioting in numbers and in numerous instances, without interference from the State.

Demand No. 2 was that state police should be withdrawn immediately from all Sudeten districts, and control of the local gendarmerie be handed over to mayor and municipal officials--in short to officials who were either the Sudetens' creatures or more amenable to pressure.

Demand No. 3 was that the gendarmerie and other special Government police forces were to be reduced to their normal number and limited to their normal duties--in short, forbidden to take notice of commotion or open belligerent activities around them.

Demand No. 4 was of a piece with but perhaps bolder than its companions. The Czech Government was to confine military formations to the reservations and keep the Czech army removed from the civilian population. The soldiers were to stay out of the way of the civilians instead of the civilians out of the way of the soldiers. That is a reversal of the customary order of authority in times of strife.

The Czech Government had no alternative to ignoring this ultimatum. To have taken notice of it, even negative notice, would have brought into dispute the Government's right to an obligation to preserve order regardless of the equities involved.

Mr. Bumble to Plane

If Mr. Bumble, of 10 Downing Street, is riding to Berchestgaden today to save the peace of Europe by advising Mr. Hitler bluntly that to go forward with his games means war and the probable destruction of himself and his country, then Mr. Bumble deserves the thanks he has hitherto not had and probably not deserved. But if he is going, as the suspicion persists in spite of French denials, to "save" the situation by appeasing Mr. Hitler with a promise to force the Czechs to submit to a plebiscite and the annexation of the Sudeten areas by Germany--then the world may be skeptical of the worth of his service.

So far as that goes, it is improbable that the Czechs themselves very greatly object to the Sudetens belonging to Germany, if that is what they want. But unfortunately the case is not so simple as that. It is indeed almost as complex as a proposal that the Germans of Milwaukee or St. Louis be allowed to belong to Germany if they wanted to. For the lands which they occupy happen to be the key to Central Europe and the great wheatfields there. And there is very good ground for believing that what Mr. Hitler actually wants is that key and not the Sudetens themselves at all--to the end that he may be in a position to levy far greater demands on the Western powers, and failing of them, to make war far more effectively and lengthily than he can with his present limitations. He himself has told us as much in "Mein Kampf."

But Mr. Chamberlain, granting that he means to sell out the Czechs, will certainly get a quid for his quo? Certainly. He will demand that Mr. Hitler sign an agreement to be satisfied with having got the key to Central Europe, and never, never to use that key. And what is more, he will certainly get what he demands. There is nothing Mr. Hitler does more willingly than to sign agreements. But unfortunately for that, there is no record down to date of his ever having felt bound to keep an agreement when it suited his purposes not to, as it always has.

A Tall Man Dies

The death of Thomas Wolfe in Baltimore is a major blow to American letters and particularly to the South. Of all the young men who have been writing in Dixie in recent years and redeeming the reputation of the land as a place where novels were no more than dream stories about a dream South that was nearly indistinguishable from Cloud-Cuckoo country, he was by far the ablest. Few more gifted masters of rhetoric have ever lived in the world. And the tall man's handsome brown eyes saw and understood everything upon which they rested.

He had not, indeed, come to that full realization of the powers that were manifestly his. His novels were fairly charged with lacking form, and with being too much mere reports of what he had himself seen and thought in his passage through youth. In many ways, indeed, he still remained derivative, the hand of Marcel Proust and Romain Roland being plain upon him. But his four books are nevertheless high achievements in their own right. Only, they promised far greater things to come.

It is tragic to think that now those things will never be done. But for all that, his fame promises to last for a very great while.

What Now, Men?

Smith, Tydings, George--three successive rebukes to the President, three notices posed by citizens of South Carolina, Maryland and Georgia that they are competent to [indiscernible words] outside direction. And it serves the President right for having committed a political blunder of the first magnitude. But it isn't going to save the country.

For every anti-New Deal Senator nominated this year, a 100-per-center has been nominated. Cancel out Cotton Ed, with Pepper of Florida. Cancel out Tydings with Reynolds of North Carolina. Cancel out George with Earle of Pennsylvania. Cancel out McCarran, a border-line case, with Barkley of Kentucky, and there are no more "antis" to offset the "pros" which Alabama, Washington, Ohio, Arkansas, Louisiana and a dozen other states, barring upsets, will send back to the Senate this year. And the composition of the remainder of that body insures, to begin with, a working majority for the New Deal. And mark this, messires, the President's principal setbacks in the Senate, excepting the Supreme Court Bid and Government Reorganization, have been suffered in legislation reflecting his foreign policy, which is excellent--and sporadic attempts at economy.

And mark this as well: that you can't beat something with nothing. The President has a few more rabbits left in his hat, and he has the hat itself. That is, he has the enacted part of his program to defend. The symbols of the rebellion haven't anything very much except a profound conviction that things aren't going as they should and that they ought to do something to stop it. What or how, they have only a vague idea.


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