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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 6

Ex Cathedra

page 94

Ex Cathedra.

Many months have passed since the editor has written from The Chair. That article has been pushed into a far corner while he has been striving to crowd sixteen or twenty pages of copy into eight pages of space. When therefore the inexorable claims of the Record, which fills two pages and might easily fill three—of the new type designs,. which receive oftentimes far less attention than they deserve—the acknowledgments of new specimen-books and choice samples of work from distant friends—when these are disposed of, there is little space for aught else. So the memorial notice of the lately-departed author or printer—the item about the new book which is making its mark for good or ill, or the graceful sonnet quietly going its rounds—the gossip of the art and literary world—nearly all those not unimportant trifles that give a paper its distinctive character—are written, but that is all. Some of our friends and supporters, and all of those who should be such, but are not, have decreed that it shall be so. It is easier for us in all matters but one—that of expense—to produce a twenty-page paper than one of eight pages: one that in external attractions, to which in a trade journal printers are inclined to attach undue importance, would compare with any in the world— but the time is not yet. The editor-printer has done his part. The Chair has thus perforce had to stand aside, and the literary page—much appreciated by many subscribers—has been absent.

The Chair has done some reviewing in its time, and must thereby have given offence. Wherefore it magnanimously furnishes all outraged authors with the following missile wherewith to retaliate:

« ؟You'll never read those books? » the caller cried—
« 'Twould take a month of Sundays to go through them. »
« Not I, indeed ! » the editor replied:
« All I have got to do is to review them. »

Having thus disposed of the troublesome tribe of critics, he can with a clearer conscience tackle the poets of the New School:

The Three R's Peeticæ.
The early Poets—heaven's best bliss be with 'em!—
Thought more of Reason than of Rime or Rhythm.
A more melodious group of modern time
Place Reason last, exalting Rhythm and Rime.
And now a tribe is coming into season
Alike defying Rime, and Rhythm, and Reason.

The shrewd reader oftentimes may detect in little typographic signs and symbols the characteristic prejudices of the writers. Not to refer particularly to such offences against decency as those of certain Freethought organs who habitually print « Bible, » « Christian, » and the most sacred proper names with a small letter, we may indicate the modern « S. » for « saint, » which marks off unmistakeably the High from the Low and Broad sections of the Church of England. Now the Labor Party has its private mark—the symbol « workingman. » It is not on any grammatical grounds that the American labor unions have agglutinated the words — in fact the term has quite a different meaning from that assigned to the English form « working man. » The latter is individualistic, independent, industrious, free. The workingman need not be a worker at all—he represents, as the most casual reader can see, unionism and solidarity. Of course, if grammatical considerations prevailed in the matter, our Yankee friends would also write « laboringman » and « dancinggirl, » but they have not ventured upon these equally justifiable forms. In the interests of typography, we hope that all English printers will avoid disfiguring their work with foreign forms which have no grammatical basis, but are mere vulgar party badges. Otherwise our language will soon be as readable as the following lines, dedicated by the Chair to the genius who first consolidated the words « workingman »:—

The "Workingman."
In ancientdays the writtenline
Of many greatandmighty races
Waslettered closely with nosign
Of punctuationmarks orspaces
No crampingorthographic rules
The easygoingwriters guided—
They wroteandspelled, untaughtbyschools
In modern days, the printer's art
Has laid down laws of punctuation,
Decrees that words shall stand apart,
And each one keep its proper station.
This does not suit Our Yankee friends,
Those restless souls who whip creation;
We find their practice daily tends
Towards complete agglutination.
And thus we have the « workingman, »
By which is meant the agitator.
The working man is one who works—
The workingman a mere spectator.
Between the two there never was,
And never can be, true communion:
Free contract binds the working man
The workingman is bound by « Union. »
We bear the latter all goodwill,
And hope some day he'll be converted—
Assert his manhood, use his skill,
And have once more that space inserted.
A unit in the social plan,
In sympathy with all that's human—
And, lastly, may each workingman
Espouse a true and lovingwoman !