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There were those who saw in the life of the present day no opportunity for that whimsical and infrequent thing romance to creep into the world. Then Conrad wrote. And someone off Sandy Hook could once more see in the lines of a sailing vessel what earlier romanticists had seen off Trafalgar.

Conrad is dead. But romanticism, the best kind of romanticism, is not dead. Like Aristotle and those who hug the hems of his ethical garments it lingers on. And so an American, who might just as well have been a Norwegian or a Frenchman or a Jap, risks his life to cross the uncharted areas of the Polar seas, for no more potent reason than the desire to do the impossible.

Of course the American public is very glad that Commander Byrd is both American and a Nordic. For there is in those facts further proof that in Americanism and Nordicism lie germs of greatness which never take on alien soil. But there is sufficient reason why at this time true pride should be expressed that in an age so mechanical as to be morose, so intricate as to lose its intrigue one human has enough of the joie de vivre to wish to risk it.

Certain cynics have recently wondered just what it profits a man to lose his land for points unknown. There is, as they have so well said, the opportunity for a long walk home. But cynics are usually patrons of hearth fires where criticism, like Aristotelianism, is a thing easily possessed. Romanticism when it means the conquest of more matter by the mind and courage of man is so satisfying, so adequate that one wonders after all if at times romanticism and classicism are not two faces of a Janus who is the world.

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