Pessimistic and critical are the ideas of Burton Holmes, travel-lecturer interviewed in this issue, on the general topics of prohibition, education and the democratic form of government. According to this widely-travelled observer, the United States is not likely to achieve temperance, education is impossible without affectation, and rule by an absolute monarch--friendly of course--is more to be desired than rule by a majority. This has all been said before. To criticise the existing order has never been difficult.
However, the view that it is impossible to be a complete gentleman with a deficit. In the once well-stocked cellar, impossible to be an educated one with the fear of affectation constantly driving culture to cover is sufficiently widespread to deserve comment. Though total abstinence from cultivation in accent and alcohol would detract from the epicureah values of complete living, to consider the first as the inevitable result of education and the second as the necessary complement of a gentleman's domestic arrangements requires the undue stretching of a doubtful point. The true education is free from affectation; the true "gentleman" may well be complete without a discerning palate and opportunity to indulge it. As usual, the point of view rests on a definition. If the word "gentleman" necessarily implies a connoisseurship in mint juleps and if education necessarily depends upon the softening of a certain consonant, it must be admitted that prohibition has handicapped the gentleman and that unpopularity is the inevitable corollary of a college training. An argument must rest upon a premise of generally accepted truth. If these are self-evident or even tenable truths, Mr. Holmes, is a competent critic.