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Too much time has been wasted already, first scrawl, such as architects are someand a decision must be reached at once. times treated to by quite inexperienced Voting is resorted to, the voters being persons; and this was covered with inexvery equally divided. And here enters plicit memoranda qualifying and explaining the element of personal equation, if not it
in a considerable degree. A perof personal prepossession or prejudice; fectly informal sort of questions and anand each man shows through his plans. swers then began, interrupted by a running A feather may turn the scale : a per- fire of comments and suggestions on the spective drawing, water-coloring, even a part of the committee and the architects, man's looks or his manner anonymity the latter noting rapidly as many points of competitors not being usually main- as they could, hoping they had not mistained. Thus, although a set of plans understood or overlooked too many of nominally receives the preference, it is them. When the architects were asked quite as likely to be the maker of them how long a time should be allowed for who is preferred. Indeed, in the case preparing drawings — nine to eleven large we are considering, the following circum- plans - the general demand was for six to stance suggests some such condition of eight weeks, until one man who seemed on things. No exact time was fixed for familiar terms with the city officers created finally sending plans to the committee, and some surprise by saying all he wanted was a necessary plan was being finished by three weeks. Four weeks, however, were one of the two ultimate competitors, the finally given for planning a building which other plans having been sent, when to his should cost one hundred thousand dollars surprise he was notified that his plans were and combine under one roof a conventional rejected. Evidently it was forgotten by municipal building with all its rooms and the committee that it had for the moment departments, a theatre and smaller halls, only one complete set in its hands. This accommodation for two companies of set, moreover, nominally accepted, was at militia, including a large drill-room and once replaced by the successful architect a police-station, and as appendix a citywith a third series, materially altered, show- library capable of enlargement, — all to ing that the plans in themselves were not be placed in definite order and arrangesatisfactory. In fact, the committee, by ment upon a lot of land barely large successive steps, freed itself from the enough for the purpose.
Whatever may embarrassments of competition, and di- be said of the shortcomings of the modern rectly employed its chosen man, after architect — and he has sins enough to ancrystallizing its ideas by the aid of several swer for — such a scheme as this might architects not adequately remunerated. tax the powers of a Phidias, a Wykeham,
It will be seen, however, as compared or a Wren. At the end of the allotted with two competitions which we are about (want of time the competitors presented to describe, that this was a very model of themselves in person — contrary to usage fairness and consideration. The first of - and were in turn closeted with the these two was proposed by members of a committee, who questioned them concerntown corporation who, having "frugal ing their plans, which were retained for
, minds,"offered no compensation nor prizes, consideration, it was stated. The question
" promising nothing, and merely saying that was asked among the architects if the as* no plans will be paid for unless accepted surance of the man X, who required only and adopted.” Architects were asked to three weeks' time, did not imply some present themselves on a fixed day for con- understanding between him and the comsultation with officials. This, owing to the mittee ; but its presiding officer earnestly situation of the town, implied some outlay asserted that he had no advantage beyond of time and money, though not on the his competitors. Notwithstanding, it was part of the town, and precluded the ne- announced a few days later that the plans cessity and responsibility of well-consid- of X and those of a person who did not ered, properly formulated requisitions. On appear upon the scene at all at the date their arrival, the architects had no such fixed for competitors were those which presented to them, nor any plan beyond most closely approached the committee's a misleading sketch not drawn to scale views. Let it be noted here that X's plans nor professing to be more than a client's were not ready at the time when the others
were, and that he got an extension of sence of two of its members the issue might time; and also that both of the preferred have remained indefinitely doubtful. At plans, in some particulars, did not attempt the same time the politician's plans were to satisfy the requirements of the com- almost unanimously decided to be far inmittee as regarded space or as regarded an ferior to one, if not to both, of the two isolated fire-proof library. The necessarily alternative plans under consideration, - by lesser cost of such plans apparently in- minority and majority alike. In this state duced the committee to wink at this indif- of affairs, however, plans and their merits ference to its own conditions. Also the became of secondary interest. In short, summing up of the required dimensions the political chieftain gained the first prize, of rooms in one story was found to make or rather it was given to him, and by iman area much larger than the sum of room- plication the work and its emolument areas required equally by the committee along with it — the best plans receiving in the story below. Here, therefore, we the second prize. But it must not be imhave a committee gravely requiring that agined that the committee intended to two and three should equal two and two, forego its hold upon the best plans; not and practically assenting to one thing when at all
. They proposed to use them, having they had specifically demanded another bought them according to the terms of and a more costly thing. We do not yet their published offer and, as it proved, for hear the result of the struggle between X a sum much below what they cost their and his competitor, but evidently one must indignant maker. stand in the place of the survivor of Gil- Whatever the legal aspect of an implied
crew of the Nancy Brig,” unless contract like this, what more barefaced init should prove to be a case of “ pooling justice and morally indefensible course issues."
can be imagined than that we have thus The third typical competition to be outlined? It would seem, let us add, that touched upon was also a competition for a the first-prize man did not feel sufficient costly public building. Here, yet not as a confidence in himself or his plans to carry matter of fairness, but of greediness, so- them into execution ; and, desirous of havcalled prizes were offered, and it was for- ing the co-operation of his rival, and permally announced in printed proposals that haps to forestall litigation, various over“it is expected [ambiguous phrase] the tures, including personal entreaty and architect whose plans are adopted will be argument, were made to the latter, and employed," and that plans awarded prizes finally the suggestion that he should act as were to be the property of the committee. “consulting architect.” Meanwhile it is Many were the victims of this clumsy fly. understood that building is beginning on Indeed, counting the average cost of such the lines, substantially, of the second-prize plans as would be prepared in a case like plans. this as four hundred dollars, which is quite To speak of beauty, convenience, and within the mark, the value of about ten economy in relation to this sort of compethousand dollars was flung beneath the feet titions would be a gratuitous absurdity. In of this committee. Under the circum- the three types we have been considering stances, as will be presently understood, it will be seen that in each case the sucvery little time was required to reduce the cessful architect was, in fact, the commitnumber of aspirants to five, and very little tee's choice, apart from the merit of plans; more time to reduce these again to three; so that, except for the possible suggestions and now, easy-going public opinion being in those not accepted, to which commitsatisfied by the usual offering of victims, the tees had no equitable right, nobody was real struggle began. It seems to have been any better off, and a number of men definipredetermined by a considerable part of tively worse off, than if no competition had the committee that the chief of a political been had. Neither beauty nor convenclan, — himself an architect, or the next ience nor economy was insured, and fairfriend of an architect, should win the ness was made almost impossible. It may competition, in return for important politi- be said that competitions should be mancal service to be rendered ; but an opposing aged fairly ; but we think our illustrations minority was equally determined, and but show that, while human nature is what it for the entirely unforeseen simultaneous ab- is, competitions, as usually managed, must
be inherently unfair. The common remark same way. In case of simultaneous comin this connection : "Other things being petition, the above conditions become even the same, I give preference to my friend, more important, the object of course being seems conclusive. How many can safely to prevent any exclusive information or inbe trusted to their own judgment as to tercourse between architect and councilwhen“ other things” are“ the same," where man, making sure that one architect is on their friends are concerned ? Private con- the precise footing of another. In the case sciences are made tougher, moreover, when of important competitions for public buildmoving together in corporate bodies. ings, we think that it is very desirable that
If it is asked finally what remedy can be 'a standing committee or commission should had for the evils we have indicated, we be established in each principal state of the have to suggest substantially the following Union, and one for government architecture, scheme, where competition is unavoidable, which might be composed of representato be modified, of course, according to tives of local committees. Architects of circumstances. The smallest possible build- longest standing, other well-known artists, ing-committee should be chosen, whose and acknowledged connoisseurs should conduties, with the exception to be named, stitute the material for such committees, should be transferred to not more than which would mediate between the archithree members, selected mainly for expe- tect, his employer, and the public, acting rience, taste, and knowledge of architect- in an advisory capacity merely, whenever ure and art, and two of these — people of asked to do so by either party, or referred sufficient leisure — should act as the execu- to by both, being bound however to pubtive power, any disagreement between lish their judgments and reasons, and picthem to be decided by the vote of the torial illustrations of important principles third, and the whole committee to be only involved. Such commissions might in the referred to or to act when required by the first instance be appointed by the joint three. They should invite in writing one action and be composed of members of person at a time — this being a plan for state architectural and art societies, and leisurely progressive competition — and a later they would probably become the local architect, whose interest and local protégés of the state. Thus if a community pride may naturally be counted on, should or an architect should see that injustice be preferred, other things being equal. It were being done, good work discounteshould be distinctly understood that if his nanced, and beauty, economy, and fitness plans to be in pencil or ink outlines, and going to the wall, a protest would be made figured in their larger dimensions) are not to the best public through this recognized satisfactory, after careful consideration, he channel, and in a proper and authoritative is to be fully remunerated for the plans
This would not be regarded as ordered — and no others — and to with- the querulous complaint of an individual draw like a man, giving his receipt in full. or a clique, but the deliberate verdict of a This action may be repeated till satisfaction body of disinterested experts, such as could is secured ; but all communication between not fail sooner or later to disconcert politithe council and the architects must be in cal and sordid ignoramuses and schemes of writing. Any attempt on the part of either all sorts. In this way might be partly built to use influence or give information in any up that educated public taste and judgother way should exclude the architect con- ment, without which we can never hope to cerned from further consideration; and have any real success in our national archiabsolute reticence should be the rule for tecture or art, nor to establish that much to everybody concerned. Any alteration or be desired era of democratic art for human modification in the ideas or requisitions of nature's daily food, instead of that which the council should be immediately sent in ministers to the whimsical tastes and the writing to the architect, and any questions unbounded stomach of a few hundred or asked by him in writing answered in the thousand millionnaires and their imitators. THE LESSON OF A LIFE.
By Harriette R. Shattuck.
ATE in the afternoon of a summer day nice little fortune I needed to make us
two young men walked slowly along both comfortable, and who accepted me
the narrow road which leads through as soon as I asked her, and has made the little Mendon graveyard, then up over me happy ever since. There were no the hill to the worn old rustic seat under heroics about it. We liked each other, the oak-tree. To judge by their travel- and have agreed first-rate so far, and are stained appearance, the two friends had likely to continue comfortably on for the wandered there while waiting for a train, rest of our lives. You see, I haven't any and were strangers to the place. They data to judge your case by, — don't you?” were so deeply engrossed in conversation “Oh, yes, indeed !” said John, and then that they sat down almost mechanically, relapsed into silence, staring straight bewithout observing their beautiful surround- fore him across the white headstones down ings, or noticing that quite near them there over the river, and so beyond to the sea. was another man, who, indeed, was more The elder man looked inquiringly at his than half hidden by the huge tree in whose companion, began to speak, hesitated, and shade he was resting.
then went on : “ I wouldn't worry about it One of the travellers wore that settled, if I were you, anyway. Why, my boy, it is contented look which comes from a happy making you ill. What odds does it make, disposition and prosperous circumstances. after all ? One girl is very much like He was well-dressed and in all respects another; and you'll love the one you “ to the manner born.” When he spoke, marry,
you marry her. You say she which he did often, his voice had that doesn't know you care for her, so you are cheerful, hearty ring which bespeaks the safe there. You'll forget her after a while, good companion and trusty friend. The and love - the one you marry, as I said other man was younger than his friend, before. You know you thought you loved and his attire showed that attention to Mabel Dame once." details which marks the young society Oh, yes, indeed !” responded John gentleman. His manner
was the most again ; but added, “ That was before I quiet imaginable ; and while his companion saw Eleanor." Then rousing himself with talked on in a quick, nervous way, he sat an effort, he went on : “ The truth of the looking straight before him, replying matter is simply this, Andrew, as I to monosyllables, if he replied at all. Yet it I don't know what to do. Since I knew was the younger man and his interests that Eleanor I simply try to think I care for were the theme of conversation, as was Mabel ; but I can't bring myself to the manifest when the elder, with an air of point of asking her to marry me ; for when forced resignation, said: “The fact is, I even imagine myself doing so, Eleanor's John, I believe this is the one thing I can't face interposes, and I simply want to fall help you in. I think I could in everything down and worship her. I argue it all over else under the sun but this ; but here you to myself, over and over again, hour after have stumped me. can't advise you;
ur Mabel is beautiful and good and and I'm sure I don't know what I should accomplished. She would make any man do under the circumstances.” Then, after happy — but me. Her father and mine are a pause, he resumed more seriously : “ You friends. They want us to marry. She has see, I had no such problem in my marriage. a handsome fortune, which will set me on In fact, I never had any problems at all. my feet in my profession, and make my way Everytcing has gone smoothly with me easy. I think she cares for me, or would. from the time I was born. It is so with In fact, everything was as it should be, some people. One day I made up my until I saw Eleanor Maynard. Eleanor mind it was time to marry and settle down; but I can't argue about her !” and the very next day I met Annie, who Again he sank into moody silence, and just suited me, and who had exactly the his friend, as much for his own relief as
to say ;
for John's, took up the theme and went had been sitting under the tree, unseen by on : "Eleanor Maynard is pretty, beauti- them. ful, perhaps ; but most persons would call “I have been sitting here quite near Miss Dame far prettier. Eleanor Maynard you, though you did not see me. You works for a living, and a poor living it is seem so interested in my father's history too. She is only fairly well educated, your that perhaps I can enlighten you.” father would be disappointed, and you, - The two friends hastily apologized for well, you would have to work hard on their unwitting impertinence, for which nothing a year till you built up a practice. there was no need, however, as the newNot an attractive picture, eh?”
comer had enjoyed their discomfiture suf“Oh, no, indeed !” said John, — his in- ficiently to atone for any displeasure he evitable response when there was nothing might have felt. With an amused smile
“and yet – ” Here silence again he said to Andrew, “You are mistaken fell, and Andrew, having no more to say, about there being a third Mary”; and yielded to his friend's mood and was silent then, more seriously, “my father lived also. Presently he looked up and around, alone after my mother's death, — forty observing for the first time the beauty of years alone." their surroundings, and at length exclaimed “Then you are Mary Farland's son," half aloud, “Well, that is curious"; and said John, now thoroughly interested. to his companion's surprised look re- “Yes," said the stranger, “I am Mary sponded by pointing out to him two grave- Farland's only child. She died when I stones side by side a little way in front of
was born." them.
The three stood silent a moment, and “Look, read there, and see if it isn't then the stranger, turning to John, said, strange,” he said. John looked and saw with feeling, “You said, a moment ago, two plain white stones, bearing each the while I was unavoidably listening, that it same inscription, alike except as to names would be interesting to know the history and dates. One of them read : In memory of those who lie there. I will tell you, if of Mary De Long, wife of Honorable Ed- you like. It is a story that helped me mund L. Stanwood, died August 7th, 1842, when I sorely needed it.” And then at aged 23 years ; and the other : In memory John's earnest acquiescence the stranger, of Mary Farland, wife of Honorable Ed- seating himself between the two, began : mund L. Stanwood, died August 7th, 1846, “My father told me this on his deathaged 27 years.
bed. Had he not told me himself I never “Yes, it is strange,” said John, after could have believed that he was once the reading the two inscriptions slowly aloud. haughty, imperious, overbearing man that “Two Marys, both the wife of one man, he must have been to make his story and both dying so young and so near to possible. For in his age he was as gentle gether! There must be a sad story hid- and lovable as a child. Long years of den in those four years !”
sorrow and remorse changed him from a “I wonder how many more Marys there demon into an angel.” were," laughed Andrew, who was as usual The stranger ceased, went to the stone inclined to take things lightly. “None that marked his father's grave, rested his buried here at any rate. Probably the hand softly upon it for a moment, and third Mary outlived the good man.” then returned and went on : "Perhaps I
“Wait,” said John, “here is his own might never have known the story of his stone: Edmund L. Stanwood, died Dec. life had I not come to a crisis in my own. 10th, 1886, aged 75 years. Just think of I had been a close student throughout my it. Forty years after the death of the sec- youth and early manhood, and had been ond Mary. How interesting to learn their so little in society that it had never haphistory !”
pened to me to see a woman to care for “Oh, very,” laughed Andrew; and he her until I was over thirty years old, when was going on with his jest in spite of his suddenly, as things do happen sometimes, friend's seriousness, when he was inter- I became interested in two women at rupted by a voice behind them.
once. One fascinated me, while at the “Pardon me, but I could not help over- same time I knew that she was shallow hearing you.” It was the gentleman who and heartless; the other, — well, she is all