At what inaudible summons, at what gentle touch of Nature, are all these sleepers thus recalled in the same hour 20 to life? Do the stars rain down an influence, or do we share some thrill of mother earth below our resting bodies? Even shepherds and old country folk, who are the deepest read in these arcana, have not a guess as to the means or purpose of this nightly resurrection. Towards two in the 25 morning, they declare the thing takes place; and neither know nor inquire further. And at least it is a pleasant incident. We are disturbed in our slumber only, like the luxurious Montaigne, "that we may the better and more sensibly relish it." We have a moment to look upon the 30 stars, and there is a special pleasure for some minds in the reflection that we share the impulse with all outdoor creatures in our neighborhood, that we have escaped out of the Bastille of civilization, and are become, for the time being, a mere kindly animal and a sheep of Nature's flock.
When that hour came to me among the pines, I wakened thirsty. My tin was standing by me, half full of water. 5 I emptied it at a draft. The stars were clear, colored and jewellike, but not frosty. A faint silvery vapor stood for the Milky Way. All around me the black fir points stood upright and stock-still. By the whiteness of the packsaddle, I could see Modestine walking round and round at the 10 length of the tether; I could hear her steadily munching at the sward; but there was not another sound, save the indescribable quiet talk of the runnel over the stones. I lay lazily smoking and studying the color of the sky, as we call the void of space, from where it showed a reddish 15 gray behind the pines to where it showed a glossy blue-black between the stars.
A faint wind, more like a moving coolness than a stream of air, passed down the glade from time to time; so that even in my great chamber the air was being renewed all 20 night long. I have not often enjoyed a more serene possession of myself, nor felt more independent of material aids. The outer world, from which we cower into our houses, seemed after all a gentle, habitable place; and night after night a man's bed, it seemed, was laid and waiting for him in the 25 fields, where God keeps an open house. I thought I had rediscovered one of those truths which are revealed to savages and hid from political economists: at the least, I had discovered a new pleasure for myself. And yet even while I was exulting in my solitude I became aware of a 30 strange lack. I wished a companion to lie near me in the starlight, silent and not moving, but ever within touch. For there is a fellowship more quiet even than solitude, and which, rightly understood, is solitude made perfect.
As I thus lay, between content and longing, a faint noise stole towards me through the pines. I thought, at first, it was the crowing of cocks or the barking of dogs at 5 some very distant farm; but steadily and gradually it took articulate shape in my ears, until I became aware that a passenger was going by upon the highroad of the valley and singing loudly as he went. There was more of good will than grace in his performance; but he trolled with ample 10 lungs; and the sound of his voice took hold upon the hillside and set the air shaking in the leafy glens. I have heard people passing by night in sleeping cities; some of them sang; one, I remember, played loudly on the bagpipes. I have heard the rattle of a cart or carriage spring 15 up suddenly after hours of stillness and pass, for some minutes, within the range of my hearing as I lay abed. There is a romance about all who are abroad in the black hours, and with something of a thrill we try to guess their business. But here the romance was double: first, this 20 glad passenger, who sent up his voice in music through the night; and then I, on the other hand, buckled into my sack, and smoking alone in the pine woods between four and five thousand feet towards the stars.
When I awoke again (Sunday, 29th September) many of 25 the stars had disappeared, only the stronger companions of the night still burned visibly overhead; and away towards the east I saw a faint haze of light upon the horizon, such as had been the Milky Way when I was last awake. Day was at hand. I lit my lantern, and by its glowworm 30 light put on my boots and gaiters; then I broke up some bread for Modestine, filled my can at the water tap, and lit my spirit lamp to boil myself some chocolate. The blue darkness lay long in the glade where I had so sweetly slumbered; but soon there was a broad streak of orange melting into gold along the mountain top of Vivarais. A solemn glee possessed my mind at this gradual and lovely 5 coming in of day. I heard the runnel with delight; I looked round me for something beautiful and unexpected; but the still black pine trees, the hollow glade, the munching ass, remained unchanged in figure. Nothing had altered but the light, and that, indeed, shed over all a 10 spirit of life and of breathing peace, and moved me to a strange exhilaration.
I drank my water chocolate, which was hot if it was not rich, and strolled here and there, and up and down about the glade. While I was thus delaying, a gush of steady 15 wind, as long as a heavy sigh, poured direct out of the quarter of the morning. It was cold and set me sneezing. The trees near at hand tossed their black plumes in its passage; and I could see the thin, distant spires of pines along the edge of the hill, rock slightly to and fro against the 20 golden east. Ten minutes after, the sunlight spread at a gallop along the hillside, scattering shadows and sparkles, and the day had come completely.
I hastened to prepare my pack, and tackle the steep ascent that lay before me; but I had something on my 25 mind. It was only a fancy; yet a fancy will sometimes be importunate. I had been most hospitably received and punctually served in my green caravansary. The room was airy, the water excellent, and the dawn had called me to a moment. I say nothing of the tapestries or the inimitable 30 ceiling, nor yet of the view which I commanded from the windows; but I felt I was in some one's debt for all this liberal entertainment. And so it pleased me, in a half-laughing way, to leave pieces of money on the turf as I went along, until I had left enough for my night's lodging. I trust they did not fall to some rich and churlish drover. 5
—Travels with a Donkey.
1. What did Stevenson see during the night? What did he hear? How did he feel? The details are not unlike those in Robinson Crusoe.
2. Re-read the first paragraph, page 178, and tell what its chief idea is. Select the paragraph in which the description is clearest to you. Read it aloud. Observe how the simple words are arranged to make pictures and to produce rhythm. Stevenson rewrote many times to get this easy clearness.
3. If you have ever slept out of doors what impressed you most? What sounds did Stevenson probably fail to hear? Was he a naturalist?
4. Stevenson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1850. He belonged to a family of civil engineers. His health was always poor, so he traveled a great deal. He went to France and to Switzerland. He came to America and spent some time in the Adirondacks. Finally he settled on an island far out in the Pacific Ocean, where he lived till his death, in 1894. In spite of his poor health, he was a busy writer of novels, essays, short stories, and verse.
AUTUMN ON THE FARM
BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER
This is a poetic description of an old-fashioned autumn scene on a England farm. The huskers in the field merely jerked the ear of corn from its stalk, leaving the husk on the ear. The husks were afterwards removed in the barn at a big husking bee or picnic, in which the neighbors took part. Read the poem for its pictures.
It was late in mild October, And the long autumnal rain Had left the summer harvest fields All green with grass again; The first sharp frosts had fallen, 5 Leaving all the woodlands gay With the hues of summer's rainbow Or the meadow flowers of May.
Through a thin, dry mist, that morning, The sun rose broad and red; 10 At first a rayless disk of fire, He brightened as he sped; Yet even his noontide glory Fell chastened and subdued On the cornfields and the orchards 15 And softly pictured wood.
And all that quiet afternoon, Slow sloping to the night, He wove with golden shuttle The haze with yellow light; 20
Slanting through the painted beeches, He glorified the hill; And beneath it pond and meadow Lay brighter, greener still.
And shouting boys in woodland haunts 5 Caught glimpses of that sky, Flecked by many-tinted leaves, And laughed, they knew not why; And schoolgirls, gay with aster flowers, Beside the meadow brooks, 10 Mingled the glow of autumn With the sunshine of sweet looks.
From spire and barn, looked westerly The patient weathercocks; But even the birches on the hill 15 Stood motionless as rocks. No sound was in the woodlands Save the squirrel's dropping shell, And the yellow leaves among the boughs, Low rustling as they fell. 20
The summer grains were harvested; The stubble fields lay dry, Where June winds rolled, in light and shade, The pale-green waves of rye; But still on gentle hill slopes, 25 In valleys fringed with wood, Ungathered, bleaching in the sun, The heavy corn crop stood.
Bent low by autumn's wind and rain, Through husks that, dry and sere, Unfolded from their ripened charge, Shone out the yellow ear; Beneath, the turnip lay concealed 5 In many a verdant fold, And glistened in the slanting light The pumpkin's sphere of gold.
There wrought the busy harvesters; And many a creaking wain 10 Bore slowly to the long barn floor Its load of husk and grain; Till, broad and red as when he rose, The sun sank down at last, And like a merry guest's farewell, 15 The day in brightness passed.
And lo! as through the western pines, On meadow, stream, and pond, Flamed the red radiance of a sky, Set all afire beyond, 20 Slowly o'er the eastern sea bluffs A milder glory shone, And the sunset and the moonrise Were mingled into one!
1. What is Indian summer? Is this a description of an Indian summer day? Sketch the field described, or the sunset. Observe the color words in the last stanza.
2. What was happening in the woods on that October day? In the fields? Describe the scene in each.
BY ELAINE GOODALE EASTMAN
Most of our wild flowers that blossom in the fall are of brilliant colors. In September the fields and fence rows are a blaze of reds, yellows, buffs, and browns. Conspicuous among these is the stately yellow plume of the goldenrod, strikingly described in the following poem. Read this selection slowly. Every line adds to the picture—every word means one more idea. Try to sense the entire meaning of the author.
(Used by special permission of the author.)
When the wayside tangles blaze In the low September sun, When the flowers of summer days Droop and wither, one by one, Reaching up through bush and brier, 5 Sumptuous brow and heart of fire, Flaunting high its wind-rocked plume, Brave with wealth of native bloom— Goldenrod!
When the meadow lately shorn, 10 Parched and languid, swoons with pain, When her lifeblood, night and morn, Shrinks in every throbbing vein, Round her fallen, tarnished urn Leaping watch fires brighter burn; 15 Royal arch o'er autumn's gate, Bending low with lustrous weight— Goldenrod!
In the pasture's rude embrace, All o'errun with tangled vines, Where the thistle claims its place, And the straggling hedge confines, Bearing still the sweet impress 5 Of unfettered loveliness, In the field and by the wall, Binding, clasping, crowning all— Goldenrod!
Nature lies disheveled, pale, 10 With her feverish lips apart; Day by day the pulses fail, Nearer to her bounding heart; Yet that slackened grasp doth hold Store of pure and genuine gold; 15 Quick thou comest, strong and free, Type of all the wealth to be— Goldenrod!
1. Three of the stanzas definitely locate the goldenrod. Read the lines that tell where it grows.
2. Which stanza makes the most vivid picture for you? What descriptive words in the stanza help make this picture?
3. Read the second stanza aloud, and tell in your own words what you think each line means.
4. Find synonyms (words of similar meaning) for the following: sumptuous, unfettered, disheveled, lustrous. Substitute your synonym for each of these words and read the line aloud.
5. Make a pencil sketch of a goldenrod as you recall it. Color your sketch with crayon.
6. The goldenrod is sometimes called our national flower. Why do you think it is so called? What is your state flower?
BY JOHN MASEFIELD
(Used by permission of Dodd, Mead and Company, Publishers.)
On the west side of the Hudson River there is a cliff, or crag of rock, all carved into queer shapes. It stretches along the riverside for twenty or thirty miles, as far as Tarrytown, or further, to the broad part where the stream looks like a sea. The cliff rises up, as a rule very 5 boldly, to the height of several hundred feet. The top of it (the Jersey shore) appears regular. It is like a well-laid wall along the river, with trees and one or two white wooden houses, instead of broken glass, at the top. This wall appearance made the settlers call the crag the "Palisades." 10
Where the Palisades are the grandest is just as high up as Yonkers. Hereabouts they are very stately, for they are all marshaled along a river a mile or more broad, which runs in a straight line past them, with a great tide. If you take a boat and row across to the Palisades their beauty 15 makes you shiver. In the afternoon, when you are underneath them, the sun is shut away from you; and there you are, in the chill and the gloom, with the great cliff towering up and the pinnacles and tall trees catching the sunlight at the top. Then it is very still there. You will see no 20 one along that shore. A great eagle will go sailing out, or a hawk will drop and splash after a fish, but you will see no other living thing, except at the landing. There are schooners in the river, of course, but they keep to the New York shore to avoid being becalmed.
You can lie there in your boat, in the slack water near the crag foot, and hear nothing but the wind, the suck of the water, or the tinkle of a scrap of stone falling from the cliff face. It is like being in the wilds, in one of the desolate places, to lie there in a boat watching the eagles. 5
—A Tarpaulin Muster.
1. Put yourself in the author's place and try to visualize this scene as he viewed it. Tell what you see. From what position are you looking?
ON THE GRASSHOPPER AND CRICKET
BY JOHN KEATS
The poetry of earth is never dead: When all the birds are faint with the hot sun, And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead; That is the grasshopper's—he takes the lead 5 In summer luxury—he has never done With his delights, for when tired out with fun, He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed. The poetry of earth is ceasing never: On a lone winter evening, when the frost 10 Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills The cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever, And seems to one in drowsiness half lost, The grasshopper's among the grassy hills.
1. What keeps the poetry of earth alive in the heat of summer? In the cold of winter? What does Keats mean by his first line?
TO A WATERFOWL
BY WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT
Bryant saw a solitary waterfowl winging its way high up in the air in the twilight of evening. The sight sets him thinking of the inborn sense of the bird. Where was it going? How did it know it was on the right way? Who gave it the power to direct its flight? Then he imagines that the bird is bound for its nesting place among its fellows. And he finally gets for himself—and for us all—a fine lesson from the flight of the waterfowl. Try to follow the poet's thinking, step by step, as you read the poem.
Whither, midst falling dew, While glow the heavens with the last steps of day, Far through their rosy depths dost thou pursue Thy solitary way?
Vainly the fowler's eye 5 Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong, As darkly painted on the crimson sky, Thy figure floats along.
Seek'st thou the plashy brink Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide, 10 Or where the rocking billows rise and sink On the chafed ocean side?
There is a Power whose care Teaches thy way along that pathless coast— The desert and illimitable air— 15 Lone wandering, but not lost.
All day thy wings have fanned At that far height the cold, thin atmosphere, Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land, Though the dark night is near.
And soon that toil shall end; 5 Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest, And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend, Soon, o'er thy sheltered nest.
Thou'rt gone; the abyss of heaven Hath swallowed up thy form; yet on my heart 10 Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given, And shall not soon depart.
He who from zone to zone Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight, In the long way that I must tread alone, 15 Will lead my steps aright.
1. What time of day is it when Bryant observes the bird? Is it clear or cloudy weather? Prove both answers.
2. In the third stanza, how many places does he mention as the possible ends of the bird's flight? Name each.
3. Has the waterfowl traveled far? Read the line that answers this.
4. Explain line 5, page 190; the third stanza on page 191.
5. What lesson does Bryant get from the bird? Memorize the last stanza.
6. William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) was born at Cummington, Massachusetts, where his father practiced medicine. He attended the district school and later studied law, but gave up his practice for journalism. He was very successful and was for many years editor of The New York Evening Post. This poem was written when he was unsettled and discouraged about his law practice.
A NIGHT IN THE TROPICS
BY RICHARD HENRY DANA, JR.
Those who have spent their lives on the ocean say that we dwellers on land know nothing of life under the open sky. The following extract is a bit of night scenery aboard ship in the days of wooden vessels with canvas wings.
One night while we were in the tropics, I went out to the end of the flying jib boom upon some duty; and having finished it, turned around and lay on the boom for a long time, admiring the beauty of the sight below me. Being so far out from the deck I could look at the ship 5 as at a separate vessel; and there rose up from the water, supported only by the small black hull, a pyramid of canvas spreading far out beyond the hull and towering up almost, as it seemed in the indistinct night, into the clouds. The sea was as still as an inland lake; the light trade wind was 10 gently and steadily breathing from astern; the dark-blue sky was studded with the tropical stars; there was no sound but the rippling of the water under the stem; and the sails were spread out wide and high—the two lower studding sails stretching out on either side far beyond the 15 deck; the topmost studding sails like wings to the topsails; the topgallant studding sails spreading fearlessly out above them; still higher the two royal studding sails, looking like two kites flying from the same string; and highest of all the little skysail, the apex of the pyramid, seeming 20 actually to touch the stars and to be out of reach of human hand. So quiet, too, was the sea, and so steady the breeze, that if these sails had been sculptured in marble they could not have been more motionless—not a ripple on the surface of the canvas, not even a quivering of the extreme edges of the sail, so perfectly were they distended by the breeze. I was so lost in the sight that I forgot the presence of the man who came out with me, until he said (for he 5 too, rough old man-of-war's man that he was, had been gazing at the show) half to himself, still looking at the marble sails: "How quietly they do their work!"
—Two Years Before the Mast.
1. This is a painting in words. From what position did Mr. Dana view the scene? What impressed him most?
A WINTER RIDE
BY AMY LOWELL
Who shall declare the joy of the running! Who shall tell of the pleasures of flight! Springing and spurning the tufts of wild heather, Sweeping, wide winged, through the blue dome of light. Everything mortal has moments immortal, 5 Swift and God-gifted, immeasurably bright.
So with the stretch of the white road before me, Shining snow crystals rainbowed by the sun, Fields that are white, stained with long, cool, blue shadows, Strong with the strength of my horse as we run. 10 Joy in the touch of the wind and the sunlight! Joy! With the vigorous earth I am one.
1. What was the author doing? How did the ride affect her? What does she mean in line 5? In line 12? If you have ever coasted or had a swift sleigh ride tell the thrills you experienced.
BY RALPH WALDO EMERSON
The following selection is an artistic description of a winter storm. Read it carefully to get the successive pictures that are presented. Try to determine, as you read, when the snow fell, whether the scenes are in the country or in town; if the author was an actual observer of the storm or if he wrote the poem out of imagination.
Announced by all the trumpets of the sky, Arrives the snow, and driving o'er the fields, Seems nowhere to alight; the whited air Hides hills and woods, the river and the heaven, And veils the farmhouse at the garden's end. 5 The sled and traveler stopped, the courier's feet Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit Around the radiant fireplace, inclosed In a tumultuous privacy of storm.
Come see the north wind's masonry! 10 Out of an unseen quarry evermore Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer Curves his white bastions with projected roof Round every windward stake, or tree, or door. Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work 15 So fanciful, so savage, naught cares he For number or proportion. Mockingly, On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths; A swanlike form invests the hidden thorn; Fills up the farmer's lane from wall to wall, 20 Mauger the farmer's sighs; and at the gate A tapering turret overtops the work; And when his hours are numbered and the world Is all his own, retiring as he were not, Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art 5 To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone, Built in an age, the mad wind's night work— The frolic architecture of the snow.
1. The first stanza describes the effect of the storm on people. Who are some of those inconvenienced?
2. In the remainder of the poem, the storm is thought of as an architect. What words describe him and his work? Why is he "myriad-handed?" Explain windward; mauger; "Parian wreaths." Why is the storm said to use the last mockingly? What other fanciful or mischievous things does the storm do?
3. Express in your own words the idea in lines 3-8, page 195. Compare the work of human builders with the work of the storm.
4. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was an American essayist, poet, and philosopher. He lived at Concord, Massachusetts.
BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER
The sun that brief December day Rose cheerless over hills of gray, And darkly circled, gave at noon A sadder light than waning moon. Slow tracing down the thickening sky 5 Its mute and ominous prophecy, A portent seeming less than threat, It sank from sight before it set. A chill no coat, however stout, Of homespun stuff could quite shut out— 10
A hard, dull bitterness of cold, That checked, midvein, the circling race Of lifeblood in the sharpened face— The coming of the snowstorm told. The wind blew east; we heard the roar 5 Of ocean on his wintry shore, And felt the strong pulse throbbing there Beat with low rhythm our inland air.
Meanwhile we did our nightly chores: Brought in the wood from out of doors, 10 Littered the stalls, and from the mows Raked down the herd's grass for the cows; Heard the horse whinnying for his corn; And sharply clashing horn on horn, Impatient down the stanchion rows, 15 The cattle shake their walnut bows; While peering from his early perch Upon the scaffold's pole of birch, The cock his crested helmet bent And down his querulous challenge sent. 20
Unwarmed by any sunset light The gray day darkened into night, A night made hoary with the swarm And whirl dance of the blinding storm, As zigzag, wavering to and fro, 25 Crossed and recrossed the winged snow; And ere the early bedtime came The white drift piled the window frame, And through the glass the clothesline posts Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts. 30
So all night long the storm roared on: The morning broke without a sun; In tiny spherule traced with lines Of nature's geometric signs, In starry flake and pellicle, 5 All day the hoary meteor fell; And when the second morning shone, We looked upon a world unknown, On nothing we could call our own. Around the glistening wonder bent 10 The blue walls of the firmament, No cloud above, no earth below— A universe of sky and snow!
The old familiar sights of ours Took marvelous shapes: strange domes and towers 15 Rose up where sty or corncrib stood, Or garden wall, or belt of wood; A smooth white mound the brush pile showed, A fenceless drift what once was road; The bridle post an old man sat, 20 With loose-flung coat and high cocked hat; The well curb had a Chinese roof; And even the long sweep, high aloof, In its slant splendor, seemed to tell Of Pisa's leaning miracle. 25
All day the gusty north wind bore The loosening drift its breath before; Low circling round its southern zone, The sun through dazzling snow mist shone. No church bell lent its Christian tone 30 To the savage air; no social smoke
Curled over woods of snow-hung oak; A solitude made more intense By dreary-voiced elements— The shrieking of the mindless wind, The moaning tree boughs swaying blind, 5 And on the glass the unmeaning beat Of ghostly finger tips of sleet.
1. Outline, stanza by stanza, the story told. Who tells it? Where is the scene laid? How many days and nights are covered?
2. Compare this with the previous poem for clearness, pleasant sound, pictures shown, new ideas. Which do you like better? The last line of "The Snowstorm" interprets lines 14-25, page 197. How?
3. John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) was born at Haverhill, Massachusetts. Snow-bound, from which this extract is taken, gives a good description of his home and family. A great deal of his writing was done while editor of various magazines and newspapers. He was for a long time connected with the Atlantic Monthly. Many of his poems describe country life in New England; others retell old stories of pioneer days. He died at Amesbury, Massachusetts.
TOM PINCH'S RIDE
BY CHARLES DICKENS
It was a charming evening, mild and bright. The four grays skimmed along, as if they liked it quite as well as Tom did; the bugle was in as high spirits as the grays; the coachman chimed in sometimes with his voice; the wheels hummed cheerfully in unison; the brass work on 5 the harness was an orchestra of little bells; and thus as they went clinking, jingling, rattling smoothly on, the whole concern, from the buckles of the leaders' coupling reins to the handle of the boot, was one great instrument of music.
Yo-ho! Past hedges, gates, and trees; past cottages, and barns, and people going home from work. Yo-ho! Past donkey chaises drawn aside into the ditch, and empty carts with rampant horses whipped up at a bound upon the little watercourse and held by struggling carters close to 5 the five-barred gate until the coach had passed the narrow turning in the road. Yo-ho! By churches dropped down by themselves in quiet nooks, with rustic burial grounds about them, where the graves are green and daisies sleep—for it is evening—on the bosoms of the dead. 10
Yo-ho! Past streams in which the cattle cool their feet, and where the rushes grow; past paddock fences, farms, and rickyards; past last year's stacks, cut slice by slice away, and showing in the waning light like ruined gables, old and brown. Yo-ho! Down the pebbly dip, and through 15 the merry water splash, and up at a canter to the level road again. Yo-ho! Yo-ho!
Yo-ho! Among the gathering shades, making of no account the reflection of the trees, but scampering on through light and darkness, all the same, as if the light of 20 London fifty miles away were quite enough to travel by, and some to spare. Now, with a clattering of hoofs and striking out of fiery sparks, across the old stone bridge, and down again into the shadowy road, and through the open gate, and far away, into the world. Yo-ho! 25
See the bright moon! High up before we know it, making the earth reflect the objects on its breast like water—hedges, trees, low cottages, church steeples, blighted stumps, and flourishing young slips, have all grown vain upon a sudden, and mean to contemplate their own fair images till 30 morning. The poplars yonder rustle, that their quivering leaves may see themselves upon the ground. Not so the oak; trembling does not become him; and he watches himself in his stout old burly steadfastness without the motion of a twig.
The moss-grown gate, ill-poised upon its creaking hinges, crippled and decayed, swings to and fro before its glass 5 like some fantastic dowager: while our own ghostly likeness travels on, through ditch and brake, upon the plowed land and the smooth, along the steep hillside and steeper wall, as if it were a phantom hunter.
Yo-ho! Why, now we travel like the moon herself. 10 Hiding this minute in a grove of trees; next minute in a patch of vapor; emerging now upon our broad, clear course; withdrawing now, but always dashing on, our journey is a counterpart of hers. Yo-ho! A match against the moon.
The beauty of the night is hardly felt when day comes 15 leaping up. Two stages, and the country roads are almost changed to a continuous street. Yo-ho! Past market gardens, rows of houses, villas, crescents, terraces, and squares, and in among the rattling pavements. Yo-ho! Down countless turnings, and through countless mazy 20 ways, until an old innyard is gained, and Tom Pinch, getting down quite stunned and giddy, is in London.
"Five minutes before the time, too!" said the driver, as he received his fee from Tom.
1. Tom Pinch traveled by the fast night coach to London, in the days before railroads. Tell what he saw, and make sketches.
2. Explain: grays, boot, yo-ho, chaises, paddock, dowager, rickyards, brake, crescents.
3. Charles Dickens (1812-1870), an English novelist, is famous for his humor and for the marvelous characters he has created. Many of his books attack or laugh at abuses and prejudices of his time.
ODE TO A BUTTERFLY
BY THOMAS WENTWORTH HIGGINSON
The poet watches the butterfly and speaks to it, guessing in a fanciful way at its origin, commenting on its way of life, and thinking of the symbolic meaning that people in all ages have associated with it.
Thou spark of life that wavest wings of gold, Thou songless wanderer mid the songful birds, With nature's secrets in thy tints unrolled Through gorgeous cipher, past the reach of words, Yet dear to every child 5 In glad pursuit beguiled, Living his unspoiled days mid flowers and flocks and herds!
Thou winged blossom, liberated thing, What secret tie binds thee to other flowers, Still held within the garden's fostering? 10 Will they too soar with the completed hours, Take flight, and be like thee Irrevocably free, Hovering at will o'er their parental bowers?
Or is thy luster drawn from heavenly hues— 15 A sumptuous drifting fragment of the sky, Caught when the sunset its last glance imbues With sudden splendor, and the treetops high Grasp that swift blazonry, Then lend those tints to thee, 20 On thee to float a few short hours, and die?
Birds have their nests; they rear their eager young, And flit on errands all the livelong day; Each field mouse keeps the homestead whence it sprung; But thou art nature's freeman—free to stray Unfettered through the wood, 5 Seeking thine airy food, The sweetness spiced on every blossomed spray.
The garden one wide banquet spreads for thee, O daintiest reveler of the joyous earth! One drop of honey gives satiety; 10 A second draft would drug thee past all mirth. Thy feast no orgy shows; Thy calm eyes never close, Thou soberest sprite to which the sun gives birth.
And yet the soul of man upon thy wings 15 Forever soars in aspiration; thou His emblem of the new career that springs When death's arrest bids all his spirit bow. He seeks his hope in thee Of immortality. 20 Symbol of life, me with such faith endow!
1. What color was the butterfly that the poet watched? What does he imagine it to be in the second stanza? In the third? What does he say about its habits in the fourth stanza? In the fifth?
2. What are the four stages in the life of a butterfly? The Greeks represented Psyche, the soul, with butterfly wings. Why? Express the meaning of the last stanza in your own words.
3. Use these words in sentences of your own: cipher, fostering, imbues, blazonry, satiety, orgy, sprite, arrest, symbol.
4. Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823-1911) was an American writer of essays and biography.
IN THE DESERT
BY A. W. KINGLAKE
The following sketch vividly describes an English traveler's impression of the desert country that lies between Jerusalem and Cairo. Mr. Kinglake had only an interpreter, two Arabian attendants and two camels in his little caravan.
Eothen, the title of the volume from which this selection is extracted, is a Greek word meaning "From the East."
Once during this passage my Arabs lost their way among the hills of loose sand that surrounded us, but after a while we were lucky enough to recover our right line of march. The same day we fell in with a sheik, the head of a family that actually dwells at no great distance 5 from this part of the desert during nine months of the year. The man carried a matchlock, and of this he was inordinately proud, on account of the supposed novelty and ingenuity of the contrivance. We stopped, and sat down and rested awhile, for the sake of a little talk. 10
There was much that I should have liked to ask this man, but he could not understand Dthemetri's language, and the process of getting at his knowledge by double interpretation through my Arabs was tedious. I discovered, however (and my Arabs knew of that fact), that this man 15 and his family lived habitually for nine months of the year without touching or seeing either bread or water. The stunted shrub growing at intervals through the sand in this part of the desert enables the camel mares to yield a little milk, and this furnishes the sole food and drink of 20 their owner and his people. During the other three months (the hottest, I suppose) even this resource fails, and then the sheik and his people are forced to pass into another district. You would ask me why the man should not remain always in that district which supplies him with water during three months of the year, but I don't know 5 enough of Arab politics to answer the question.
The sheik was not a good specimen of the effect produced by his way of living. He was very small, very spare, and sadly shriveled—a poor overroasted snipe—a mere cinder of a man. I made him sit down by my side, and 10 gave him a piece of bread and a cup of water from out of my goatskins. This was not a very tempting drink to look at, for it had become turbid and was deeply reddened by some coloring matter contained in the skins; but it kept its sweetness and tasted like a strong decoction of 15 Russia leather. The sheik sipped this drop by drop with ineffable relish, and rolled his eyes solemnly round after every draft as though the drink were the drink of the Prophet and had come from the seventh heaven.
An inquiry about distances led to the discovery that this 20 sheik had never heard of the division of time into hours.
About this part of my journey I saw the likeness of a fresh-water lake. I saw, as it seemed, a broad sheet of calm water stretching far and fair towards the south—stretching deep into winding creeks and hemmed in by 25 jutting promontories, and shelving smooth off toward the shallow side. On its bosom the reflected fire of the sun lay playing and seeming to float as though upon deep, still waters.
Though I knew of the cheat, it was not till the spongy 30 foot of my camel had almost trodden in the seeming lake that I could undeceive my eyes, for the shore line was quite true and natural. I soon saw the cause of the phantasm. A sheet of water, heavily impregnated with salts, had gathered together in a vast hollow between the sand hills, and when dried up by evaporation had left a white saline deposit; this exactly marked the space which the waters 5 had covered, and so traced out a good shore line. The minute crystals of the salt, by their way of sparkling in the sun, were made to seem like the dazzled face of a lake that is calm and smooth.
The pace of the camel is irksome, and makes your 10 shoulders and loins ache from the peculiar way in which you are obliged to suit yourself to the movements of the beast; but one soon, of course, becomes inured to the work, and after my first two days, this way of traveling became so familiar to me that (poor sleeper as I am) I now and then 15 slumbered for some moments together on the back of my camel.
After the fifth day of my journey, I no longer traveled over the shifting hills but came upon a dead level—a dead level bed of sand, quite hard, and studded with small shining 20 pebbles.
The heat grew fierce; there was no valley, no hollow, no hill, no mound, no shadow of hill nor of mound, by which I could mark the way I was making. Hour by hour I advanced, and saw no change. I was still the very center 25 of a round horizon. Hour by hour I advanced, and still there was the same, and the same, and the same—the same circle of flaming sky—the same circle of sand still glaring with light and fire. Over all the heaven above, over all the earth beneath, there was no visible power that 30 could balk the fierce will of the sun. "He rejoiced as a strong man to run a race; his going forth was from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there was nothing hid from the heat thereof." From pole to pole, and from the east to the west, he brandished his fiery scepter as though he had usurped all heaven and earth. As he bid the soft Persian in ancient times, so 5 now, and fiercely too, he bid me bow down and worship him; so now in his pride he seemed to command me, and say, "Thou shalt have none other gods but me." I was all alone before him. There were these two pitted together, and face to face—the mighty sun for one, and for 10 the other this poor, pale, solitary Self of mine.
But on the eighth day, and before I had yet turned away from Jehovah for the glittering god of the Persians, there appeared a dark line upon the edge of the forward horizon, and soon the line deepened into a delicate fringe that 15 sparkled here and there as though it were sown with diamonds. There, then, before me were the gardens and the minarets of Egypt, and the mighty works of the Nile, and I, I had lived to see, and I saw them.
When evening came I was still within the confines of the 20 desert, and my tent was pitched as usual; but one of my Arabs stalked away rapidly toward the west without telling me of the errand on which he was bent. After a while he returned. He had toiled on a graceful service; he had traveled all the way on to the border of the living world, 25 and brought me back for a token an ear of rice, full, fresh, and green.
1. Several aspects of the desert are herein described. The first is a native sheik. What are the others?
2. The camel and the blazing sun belong peculiarly to the desert. What comments has Mr. Kinglake made on each?
3. Show on your maps approximately where this journey was made.
MAY IS BUILDING HER HOUSE
BY RICHARD LE GALLIENNE
This poem is a series of clearly drawn pictures grouped about a central image of the month of May as the builder of a house. While you read it, preferably aloud, try to see the pictures and feel the rhythm of the words. The thought in the last stanza may remind you of the "Ode to a Butterfly." Richard Le Gallienne is a poet of our own day, now living in this country.
(Used by permission of the author)
May is building her house. With apple blooms She is roofing over the glimmering rooms; Of the oak and the beech hath she builded its beams, And, spinning all day at her secret looms, With arras of leaves each wind-swayed wall 5 She pictureth over, and peopleth it all With echoes and dreams And singing of streams.
May is building her house. Of petal and blade, Of the roots of the oak, is the flooring made; 10 With a carpet of mosses and lichen and clover, Each small miracle over and over, And tender, traveling green things strayed.
Her windows, the morning and evening star, And her rustling doorways, ever ajar 15 With the coming and going Of fair things blowing, The thresholds of the four winds are.
May is building her house. From the dust of things She is making the songs and the flowers and the wings; From October's tossed and trodden gold She is making the young year out of the old; Yea: out of winter's flying sleet 5 She is making all the summer sweet, And the brown leaves spurned of November's feet She is changing back again to spring's.
1. What form the roof, the beams, the floors, the doors and windows, of the house of May? What is arras? When was it used? Why was it so called? What form the hangings and the carpets of the house? Who inhabit it? Why are the rooms "glimmering"?
2. What is October's "tossed and trodden gold"? Is the poet telling the truth in the last stanza? Explain what is meant.
3. This verse is different in form from most that you have studied. Do you think it is especially suited to the subject?
BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH
I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, 5 Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the Milky Way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay; 10 Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they Outdid the sparkling waves in glee: A poet could not but be gay In such a jocund company: I gazed—and gazed—but little thought 5 What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; 10 And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.
1. Have you ever seen a daffodil? If not, find out all you can about the color, time of blooming, etc. of this flower. Remember that the scene of the poem is the north of England.
2. Put briefly into your own words the experience, as told in the first three stanzas, and its result, as told in the last stanza. At what time of year did the incident occur? Was the day fair or cloudy? Why did the flowers show up so well against the lake as a background? What change took place in the poet's state of mind while he looked at the flowers? What was the wealth that the sight brought him?
3. Wordsworth's purpose in poetry was "awakening the mind's attention . . . by directing it to the loveliness and wonders of the world before us." His best poetry is about things out of doors and their influence on people's minds. You may like to read "Fidelity," "To the Cuckoo," "The Solitary Reaper," "The Reverie of Poor Susan," and others that you find for yourself.
4. Wordsworth was born in 1770, at Cockermouth, England, and was educated at Cambridge University. He gave all his time to writing poetry and lived an uneventful life, surrounded by his family and friends, in the beautiful Lake District, in the North of England, which he describes in his poems. From 1843 till his death in 1850 he was Poet Laureate of England.
THE FALLS OF LODORE
BY ROBERT SOUTHEY
Robert Southey (1774-1843) was Poet Laureate of England from 1815 till his death. He wrote several long poems and a great deal of history and biography, but his best-remembered works are shorter poems like this and "The Inchcape Rock" and "The Battle of Blenheim." He is sometimes associated with Wordsworth and Coleridge in the group called the "Lake Poets".
How does the water come down at Lodore? Here it comes sparkling, And there it lies darkling; Here smoking and frothing, Its tumult and wrath in, 5 It hastens along, conflicting and strong; Now striking and raging, As if a war waging, Its caverns and rocks among. Rising and leaping, 10 Sinking and creeping, Swelling and flinging, Showering and springing, Eddying and whisking, Spouting and frisking; 15 Turning and twisting, Around and around, Collecting, disjecting, With endless rebound. Smiting and fighting, 20 In turmoil delighting, Confounding, astounding, Dizzying and deafening the ear with its sound. Receding and speeding, And shocking and rocking, 5 And darting and parting, And threading and spreading, And whizzing and hissing, And dripping and skipping, And hitting and spitting, 10 And shining and twining, And rattling and battling, And shaking and quaking, And pouring and roaring, And waving and raving, 15 And tossing and crossing, And running and stunning, And hurrying and skurrying, And glittering and frittering, And gathering and feathering, 20 And dinning and spinning, And foaming and roaming, And hopping and dropping, And working and jerking, And guggling and struggling, 25 And heaving and cleaving, And thundering and floundering, And falling and brawling, and sprawling, And driving and riving and striving, And sprinkling and crinkling and twinkling, 30 And sounding and bounding and rounding, And bubbling and troubling and doubling; Dividing and gliding and sliding, Grumbling and rumbling and tumbling, Clattering and battering and shattering, And gleaming and streaming and skimming and beaming And rushing and flushing and brushing and gushing, 5 And flapping and rapping and clapping and slapping, And curling and whirling and purling and twirling; Retreating and meeting and beating and sheeting, Delaying and straying and spraying and playing, Advancing and prancing and glancing and dancing, 10 Recoiling, turmoiling, and toiling and boiling; And thumping and bumping and flumping and jumping, And thrashing and clashing and flashing and splashing; And so never ending, But always descending, 15 Sounds and motions forever and ever are blending, All at once and all o'er With a mighty uproar;— And this way the water comes down at Lodore.
1. The Falls of Lodore, in the Lake District, England, consist of a series of cascades in which a small stream rushes over a great rock about 200 feet high.
2. Read this poem aloud and notice how the sound fits the sense. Does it give you an idea of the sound of the waterfall? Why do you think the poet uses first two, then three, and then four, participles to a line? Other poems in which this method of creating an impression of sound and motion is used are Poe's "The Bells" and parts of Browning's "How We Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix" and "The Pied Piper." Words like bubble and gurgle imitate sounds. Look for such words in this poem and elsewhere.
3. Compare this poem with Lowell's "The Fountain," Tennyson's "The Brook," and Lanier's "Song of the Chattahoochee." Decide which you like best, and why.
STORIES THAT TEACH
If any man can convince me and bring home to me that I do not think or act aright, gladly will I change; for I search after truth, by which man never yet was harmed. But he is harmed who abideth on still in his own deception and ignorance.
AN ADVENTURE IN BROTHERHOOD
In an ancient city of the East there were seven brothers who were constantly quarreling among themselves. They fell out about the way their father divided his property among them; they argued about the number of camels each had a right to; they disagreed over the management 5 of their business; and altogether they behaved so rudely to each other that their acquaintances came to speak of them as the "unbrotherly brothers."
Their father was much grieved over the actions of his sons, and he pondered long what means to take to teach them 10 a lasting lesson. At length he called them together in his own house and spoke to them in this manner:
"As you know, I still have much wealth of my own. The whole of this I shall bequeath to that son of mine who can perform a task I have to set. Should two or more succeed, 15 the property will be divided equally among the winners. But before any of you can take part in this contest, each must pledge himself to live up fully to any lesson he may have exemplified here this day. Are you willing to make me this promise?" 20
Each stepped forth in turn and gave a solemn assurance to his father that come what might he would be true in spirit and in deed to any lesson that the test might bring forth.
The father then took from a chest a bundle of seven sticks, ingeniously tied together. "In accordance with what I 25 have said," he told them, "whichever of you breaks these sticks shall be the winner of the prize."
Each tried in turn, beginning with the youngest. Each tugged and strained in vain. At best the bundle could only be bent. Finally the turn of the seventh came, and he too was unsuccessful. They all said the task could not be done and agreed that they had failed. 5
Thereupon the father took the bundle, sought out the end of the cord that held the sticks together, and unwound it at a single pull. Seizing each stick separately he broke all seven, one after another, before his astonished sons could protest. 10
"Now," said he, "those broken sticks are you, my seven sons. As long as you hold together, nobody can break your friendship or your reputation. When you fall apart, anybody can make broken reeds of you. Need I say more about the lesson that you have pledged yourselves to learn 15 in spirit and in deed?"
The rebuke touched the seven brothers. They agreed to forget their petty grievances, thanked their father for the lesson he had taught them, and gladly joined in a big feast he had had prepared. And thereafter all who knew them 20 spoke of them as "the seven blood brothers."
1. Did the seven brothers have any good reason for quarreling? About what matters did they disagree? What is the difference between disagreeing and quarreling? How did they probably get into their contentious habits?
2. What was their father's agreement with them? Was it a fair one? What part of the story is illustrated on page 214?
3. This is an old story retold. Groups of seven, three, or twelve are very common in folk tales and legends. See how many famous groups of seven you can find.
THE PRAYER PERFECT
BY JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY
Dear Lord! kind Lord! Gracious Lord! I pray Thou wilt look on all I love, Tenderly to-day! Weed their hearts of weariness; 5 Scatter every care Down a wake of angel wings Winnowing the air.
Bring unto the sorrowing All release from pain; 10 Let the lips of laughter Overflow again; And with all the needy Oh, divide, I pray, This vast treasure of content 15 That is mine to-day!
1. James Whitcomb Riley (1853-1916) is an American poet, best known for his poems for and about children. You probably know "The Raggedy Man," "Little Orphant Annie," and "The Circus-Day Parade." "The Prayer Perfect" is an example of his serious verse.
2. From what three evils does the poet pray to have his friends delivered? What good things does he want them to have? What, beside the things he says here, shows that Riley thought laughter a blessing?
(From the Biographical Edition of the Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley, copyright 1913, used by special permission of the Publishers, The Bobbs-Merrill Company)
GET OUT OR GET IN LINE
BY ELBERT HUBBARD
This selection is a sermon that begins with an illustration. The text is the title. The whole incident of Lincoln's letter to Hooker is used to enforce the text, whose title might be "Loyalty." Why?
Elbert Hubbard (1859-1915) is an American writer of essays and biography. He was interested in the revival of the old handicrafts, especially in the art of printing and binding books.
If all the letters, messages, and speeches of Lincoln were destroyed except that one letter to Hooker, we should still have a good index to the heart of "The Rail-splitter."
In this letter we see that Lincoln ruled his own spirit; and we also behold the fact that he could rule others. 5 The letter shows frankness, kindliness, wit, tact, wise diplomacy, and infinite patience.
Hooker had harshly and unjustly criticized Lincoln, his commander in chief, and he had embarrassed Burnside, his ranking officer. But Lincoln waives all this in deference 10 to the virtues that he believes Hooker possesses, and promotes him to succeed Burnside. In other words, the man who had been wronged promotes the man who had wronged him, over the head of a man whom the promotee had wronged and for whom the promoter had a warm personal friendship. 15
But all personal considerations were sunk in view of the end desired. Yet it was necessary that the man promoted should know the truth, and Lincoln told it to him in a way that did not humiliate nor fire to foolish anger, but which certainly prevented the attack of cerebral elephantiasis to 20 which Hooker was liable.
Perhaps we had better give the letter entire, and so here it is:
"Executive Mansion, Washington, January 26, 1863. Major-General Hooker:
I have placed you at the head of the Army of the Potomac. Of course I have done this upon what appear to me to be sufficient reasons, and yet I think it best for you to know that there are some things in regard to which I am not quite satisfied with you. 10
I believe you to be a brave and skillful soldier, which, of course, I like. I also believe you do not mix politics with your profession, in which you are right.
You have confidence in yourself, which is a valuable, if not indispensable, quality. 15
You are ambitious, which, within reasonable bounds, does good rather than harm; but I think that during General Burnside's command of the army you have taken counsel of your ambition and thwarted him as much as you could, in which you did a great wrong to the country and 20 to a most meritorious and honorable brother officer.
I have heard, in such a way as to believe it, of your recently saying that both the army and the government needed a dictator. Of course it was not for this, but in spite of it, that I have given you the command. Only 25 those generals who gain successes can set up dictators. What I now ask of you is military success, and I will risk the dictatorship. The government will support you to the utmost of its ability, which is neither more nor less than it has done and will do for all commanders. I much 30 fear that the spirit you have aided to infuse into the army, of criticizing their commander and withholding confidence from him, will now turn upon you. I shall assist you as far as I can to put it down. Neither you nor Napoleon, if he were alive again, could get any good out of an army while such a spirit prevails in it. And now beware of rashness; beware of rashness, but with energy and sleepless 5 vigilance go forward and give us victories.
Yours very truly, A. Lincoln."
One point in this letter is especially worth our consideration, for it suggests a condition that springs up like 10 deadly nightshade from a poisonous soil. I refer to the habit of sneering, carping, grumbling at, and criticizing those who are above us.
The man who is anybody and who does anything is surely going to be criticized, vilified, and misunderstood. 15 This is a part of the penalty for greatness and every great man understands it; and understands, too, that it is no proof of greatness. The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure contumely without resentment. Lincoln did not resent criticism; he knew that every life must be its 20 own excuse for being; but look how he calls Hooker's attention to the fact that the dissension Hooker has sown is going to return and plague him! "Neither you nor Napoleon, were he alive, could get any good out of an army while such a spirit prevails in it." Hooker's fault falls on 25 Hooker—others suffer, but Hooker suffers most of all.
Not long ago I met a college student, home on a vacation. I am sure he did not represent the true college spirit, for he was full of criticism and bitterness toward the institution. The president of the college came in for 30 his share, and I was supplied items, facts, data, with times and places, for a "peach of a roast."
Very soon I saw the trouble was not with the college, the trouble was with the young man. He had mentally dwelt on some trivial slights until he had got so out of harmony with the institution that he had lost the power to derive any benefit from it. No college is a perfect institution—a 5 fact, I suppose, that most college presidents and college men are quite willing to admit; but a college does supply certain advantages, and it depends upon the students whether they will avail themselves of these advantages or not. 10
If you are a student in a college, seize upon the good that is there. You get good by giving it. You gain by giving—so give sympathy and cheerful loyalty to the institution. Be proud of it. Stand by your teachers—they are doing the best they can. If the place is faulty, make it a better 15 place by an example of cheerfully doing your work every day the best you can. Mind your own business.
If the concern where you are employed is all wrong, and the Old Man is a curmudgeon, it may be well for you to go to the Old Man and confidentially, quietly, and kindly 20 tell him that he is a curmudgeon. Explain to him that his policy is absurd and preposterous. Then show him how to reform his ways, and you might offer to take charge of the concern and cleanse it of its secret faults.
Do this, or if for any reason you should prefer not, then 25 take your choice of these: Get Out or Get in Line. You have got to do one or the other—now make your choice. If you work for a man, in heaven's name work for him!
If he pays you wages that supply you your bread and butter, work for him—speak well of him, think well of 30 him, stand by him, and stand by the institution he represents.
I think if I worked for a man I would work for him; I would not work for him a part of the time, and the rest of the time work against him. I would give an undivided service or none. If put to the pinch, an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness. 5
If you must vilify, condemn, and eternally disparage, why, resign your position, and when you are outside, damn to your heart's content. But, I pray you, so long as you are a part of an institution, do not condemn it. Not that you will injure the institution—not that—but 10 when you disparage the concern of which you are a part, you disparage yourself.
More than that, you are loosening the tendrils that hold you to the institution, and the first high wind that comes along, you will be uprooted and blown away in the 15 blizzard's track—and probably you will never know why. The letter only says "Times are dull and we regret there is not enough work," et cetera.
Everywhere you find those out-of-a-job fellows. Talk with them and you will find that they are full of railing, 20 bitterness, and condemnation. That was the trouble—through a spirit of faultfinding they got themselves swung around so they blocked the channel and had to be dynamited. They are out of harmony with the concern, and no longer being a help they had to be removed. Every 25 employer is constantly looking for people who can help him; naturally he is on the lookout among his employees for those who do not help, and everything and everybody that is a hindrance has to go. This is the law of trade—do not find fault with it; it is founded on nature. The reward 30 is only for the man that helps, and in order to help, you must have sympathy.
You cannot help the Old Man so long as you are explaining in undertone and whisper, by gesture and suggestion, by thought and mental attitude, that he is a curmudgeon and his system dead wrong. You are not necessarily menacing him by stirring up discontent and warming envy into strife, 5 but you are doing this: You are getting yourself upon a well-greased chute that will give you a quick ride down and out.
When you say to other employees that the Old Man is a curmudgeon, you reveal the fact that you are one; and when you tell that the policy of the institution is "rotten," 10 you surely show that yours is.
Hooker got his promotion even in spite of his failings; but the chances are that your employer does not have the love that Lincoln had—the love that suffereth long and is kind. But even Lincoln could not protect Hooker forever. 15 Hooker failed to do the work, and Lincoln had to try some one else. So there came a time when Hooker was superseded by a Silent Man, who criticized no one, railed at nobody—not even the enemy. And this Silent Man, who ruled his own spirit, took the cities. He minded his own business and 20 did the work that no man ever can do unless he gives absolute loyalty, perfect confidence, and untiring devotion.
Let us mind our own business and work for self by working for the good of all.
1. Find in the letter instances of the qualities named in paragraph two. What is the moral of the selection?
2. What is there humorous about the third paragraph on page 221?
3. Explain: ranking officer, waives, cerebral elephantiasis, dictator, deadly nightshade, data, disparage, curmudgeon, chute, superseded.
4. You are a clerk in a shoe store on Saturday afternoon, and learn that your employer is overcharging some customers. What should you do?
5. What incentive to loyalty is suggested here? Name a better one.
(Used by permission of Elbert Hubbard II, East Aurora, N. Y.)
JOHN MARSHALL OF VIRGINIA
BY JOHN ESTEN COOKE
This anecdote about a great American begins with a short account of his life and work. It goes on to tell about his appearance and habits and then relates the story that illustrates something fine in his character. Judge Marshall was born in 1755 and died in 1835. By recalling what events happened during his lifetime and what great men were his contemporaries, you will get a clearer idea of the setting of the story. In reading it try to picture costumes, houses, etc.
Among the great men of Virginia, John Marshall will always be remembered with honor and esteem. He was the son of a poor man, and his early life was spent in poverty; but he was not afraid of labor, and everybody saw that he was a person of more than common ability. 5
Little by little he rose to distinction, and there was scarcely any public office in the gift of the people that he might not have had for the asking. He served in the legislature of Virginia; he was sent as envoy to France; he was made Secretary of State; and finally he became Chief 10 Justice of the United States. When he died at the age of eighty, he was one of the greatest and most famous men in America.
My father knew him well and loved him, and told me many things about him. He was very tall and thin, and 15 dressed very plainly. He wore a suit of plain black cloth, and common yarn stockings, which fitted tightly to his legs and showed how thin they were. He was a very great walker, and would often walk out to his farm, which was several miles from Richmond. But sometimes he went on horseback, and once he was met riding out with a bag of clover seed on the saddle before him.
His manners were plain and simple, and he liked to talk about everyday matters with plain country people and laugh and jest with them. In a word, he was so great a man 5 that he never thought of appearing greater than other people, but was always the same unpretending John Marshall.
It was the fashion among the gentlemen of Richmond to walk to market early in the morning and buy fresh meats 10 and vegetables for their family dinners. This was a good old fashion, and some famous gentlemen continued to do so to the end of their lives. It was the habit of Judge Marshall, and very often he took no servant with him. He would buy what he wanted and return home, carrying his 15 purchases on his arm; and on one of these occasions a little incident occurred which is well worth telling.
Judge Marshall had made his purchases at the market and was just starting for home when he heard some one using very rough and unbecoming language. He turned 20 round and saw what was the cause of the hubbub. A finely dressed young man, who seemed to be a stranger, had just bought a turkey in the market. Finding that it would not be carried home for him, he became very angry. Judge Marshall listened a moment to his ungentlemanly 25 talk, and then stepping up to him asked very kindly, "Where do you live, sir?"
The young man looked at the plainly dressed old countryman, as he supposed him to be, and then named the street and number where he lived. 30
"I happen to be going that way," said Judge Marshall with a smile, "and I will take it for you."
The young man handed him the turkey and left the market, followed by Judge Marshall. When they reached the young man's home, Marshall politely handed him the turkey and turned to go.
"What shall I pay you?" asked the young man. 5
"Oh, nothing," answered Marshall. "You are welcome. It was on my way, and no trouble at all." He bowed and walked away, while the young man looked after him, beginning now to see that he had made a mistake.
"Who is that polite old gentleman who carried my turkey 10 for me?" he asked of a friend who was passing.
"That is John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States," was the answer.
The young man was astounded and ashamed. "But why did he offer to carry my turkey?" he exclaimed. 15
"To give you a reprimand and teach you to attend to your own business and behave like a gentleman."
This little anecdote will show you the character of John Marshall; and I cannot believe that it was his wish merely to reprimand the foolish young man. He was too sweet-tempered 20 and kind to take pleasure in reprimanding anyone; and I have not a doubt that he carried the turkey simply from the wish to be obliging.
—Stories of the Old Dominion.
1. What were the offices that Judge Marshall held? What great men did he probably meet and talk with? What important events happened during his lifetime? Describe his appearance, character, and habits.
2. Relate the story about the turkey. Did the young man mean to be disagreeable? About whom was he thinking? What was the difference between his point of view and Judge Marshall's? Why did Judge Marshall carry the turkey for him?
BY EDWARD ROWLAND SILL
This poem is an allegory. In reading it try to get a clear picture of the scene described, and at the same time remember that everything in it has a hidden meaning; to understand it fully, you must find out what the pictures represent. The title gives you the necessary key.
This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:— There spread a cloud of dust along a plain; And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince's banner 5 Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes. A craven hung along the battle's edge, And thought, "Had I a sword of keener steel— That blue blade that the king's son bears,—but this Blunt thing!" He snapped and flung it from his hand, 10 And lowering crept away and left the field. Then came the king's son, wounded, sore bestead, And weaponless, and saw the broken sword, Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand, And ran and snatched it, and with battle shout 15 Lifted afresh, he hewed his enemy down, And saved a great cause that heroic day.
1. What do the following represent: the battle; the swords; the craven; the king's son; the broken sword buried in the sand? Express the meaning of the allegory in a sentence of your own.
2. Define an allegory, a fable; a parable. Most allegories are long. Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress is a very famous one.
BY DR. FRANK CRANE
Dr. Frank Crane is an American writer whose little essays you often see in newspapers and magazines. This description of the right sort of boy is put in the form of a "Want ad" in a newspaper. While you read it, consider whether the boy you are best acquainted with could apply for the job.
(Used by special permission of the author.)
A boy who stands straight, sits straight, acts straight, and talks straight.
A boy who listens carefully when spoken to, who asks questions when he does not understand, and does not ask questions about things that are none of his business. 5
A boy whose finger nails are not in mourning, whose ears are clean, whose shoes are polished, whose clothes are brushed, whose hair is combed, and whose teeth are well cared for.
A boy who moves quickly and makes as little noise about 10 it as possible.
A boy who whistles in the street but not where he ought to keep still.
A boy who looks cheerful, has a ready smile for everybody, and never sulks. 15
A boy who is polite to every man and respectful to every woman and girl.
A boy who does not smoke cigarettes and has no desire to learn how.
A boy who never bullies other boys or allows other boys 20 to bully him.
A boy who, when he does not know a thing, says, "I do not know"; and when he has made a mistake says, "I'm sorry"; and when requested to do a thing immediately says, "I'll try."
A boy who looks you right in the eye and tells the truth 5 every time.
A boy who would rather lose his job or be expelled from school than tell a lie or be a cad.
A boy who is more eager to know how to speak good English than to talk slang. 10
A boy who does not want to be "smart" nor in any wise attract attention.
A boy who is eager to read good, wholesome books.
A boy whom other boys like.
A boy who is perfectly at ease in the company of respectable 15 girls.
A boy who is not a goody-goody, a prig, or a little Pharisee, but just healthy, happy, and full of life.
A boy who is not sorry for himself and not forever thinking and talking about himself. 20
A boy who is friendly with his mother and more intimate with her than with anyone else.
A boy who makes you feel good when he is around.
This boy is wanted everywhere. The family wants him, the school wants him, the office wants him, the boys and 25 girls want him, and all creation wants him.
1. What is the difference in use between the first two and the last two "straight's" in the first paragraph?
2. Which of the requirements are matters of good manners? Of health? Of courage? Of ambition? Of unselfishness? Of honesty?
3. Which of these items would you cut out, if any? What others would you put in the list?
BY CHARLES MACKAY
John Littlejohn was stanch and strong, Upright and downright, scorning wrong; He gave good weight and paid his way, He thought for himself and said his say. Whenever a rascal strove to pass, 5 Instead of silver, a coin of brass, He took his hammer and said with a frown, "The coin is spurious—nail it down!"
John Littlejohn was firm and true, You could not cheat him in "two and two"; 10 When foolish arguers, might and main, Darkened and twisted the clear and plain, He saw through the mazes of their speech The simple truth beyond their reach; And crushing their logic said with a frown, 15 "Your coin is spurious—nail it down!"
John Littlejohn maintained the right, Through storm and shine, in the world's despite; When fools or quacks desired his vote, Dosed him with arguments learned by rote, 20 Or by coaxing, threats, or promise tried To gain his support to the wrong side, "Nay, nay," said John with an angry frown, "Your coin is spurious—nail it down!"
When told that kings had a right divine, And that the people were herds of swine, That nobles alone were fit to rule, That the poor were unimproved by school, That ceaseless toil was the proper fate 5 Of all but the wealthy and the great, John shook his head and said with a frown, "The coin is spurious—nail it down!"
When told that events might justify A false and crooked policy, 10 That a decent hope of future good Might excuse departure from rectitude, That a lie, if white, was a small offense, To be forgiven by men of sense, "Nay, nay," said John with a sigh and frown, 15 "The coin is spurious—nail it down!"
Whenever the world our eyes would blind With false pretenses of such a kind, With humbug, cant, or bigotry, Or a specious, sham philosophy, 20 With wrong dressed up in the guise of right, And darkness passing itself for light, Let us imitate John and exclaim with a frown, "The coin is spurious—nail it down!"
1. What kinds of cheating are mentioned? Which is most dangerous?
2. Littlejohn could detect and put down lies because he kept his head clear and told the truth to himself. What lines tell you this? Who is the person most likely to deceive you about right and wrong?
3. Explain: spurious, mazes, logic, despite, quacks, rote, policy, rectitude, cant, bigotry, specious.
THE DISCONTENTED PENDULUM
An old clock that had stood for fifty years in a farmer's kitchen without giving its owner any cause of complaint, early one summer's morning, before the family was stirring, suddenly stopped. Upon this, the dial plate (if we may credit the fable) changed countenance with alarm; 5 the hands made a vain effort to continue their course; the wheels remained motionless with surprise; the weights hung speechless; and each member felt disposed to lay the blame on the others. At length the dial instituted a formal inquiry into the cause of the stoppage; when hands, wheels, 10 weights, with one voice, protested their innocence. But now a faint tick was heard below from the pendulum, who thus spoke:
"I confess myself to be the sole cause of the stoppage; and I am willing, for the general satisfaction, to assign my 15 reasons. The truth is, that I am tired of ticking." Upon hearing this the old clock became so enraged that it was on the very point of striking.
"Lazy wire!" exclaimed the dial plate, holding up its hands. 20
"Very good!" replied the pendulum. "It is vastly easy for you, Mistress Dial, who have always, as everybody knows, set yourself up above me—it is vastly easy for you, I say, to accuse other people of laziness! You, who have had nothing to do all your life but to stare people in 25 the face and to amuse yourself with watching all that goes on in the kitchen! Think how you would like to be shut up for life in this dark closet and wag backward and forward, year after year, as I do."
"As to that," said the dial, "is there not a window in your house on purpose for you to look through?"
"For all that," resumed the pendulum, "it is very dark 5 here; and although there is a window, I dare not stop, even for an instant, to look out. Besides I am really tired of my way of life; and if you wish, I'll tell you how I took this disgust at my employment. This morning I happened to be calculating how many times I should have to tick in the 10 course of only the next twenty-four hours; perhaps some of you, above there, can give me the exact sum."
The minute hand, being quick at figures, instantly replied, "Eighty-six thousand four hundred times."
"Exactly so," replied the pendulum. "Well, I appeal to 15 you all, if the thought of this was not enough to fatigue one? And when I began to multiply the strokes of one day by those of months and years, really it is no wonder if I felt discouraged at the prospect; so after a great deal of reasoning and hesitation, thinks I to myself, I'll stop!" 20
The dial could scarcely keep its countenance during this harangue, but resuming its gravity it at last replied: "Dear Mr. Pendulum, I am really astonished that such a useful, industrious person as yourself should have been overcome by this suggestion. It is true you have done a 25 great deal of work in your time; so have we all, and are likely to do; and though this may fatigue us to think of, the question is, will it fatigue us to do? Would you, now, give half a dozen strokes to illustrate my argument?"
The pendulum complied, and ticked six times at its 30 usual pace. "Now," resumed the dial, "may I be allowed to ask, was that exertion at all fatiguing to you?"
"Not in the least," replied the pendulum; "it is not of six strokes that I complain, nor of sixty, but of millions."
"Very good," replied the dial; "but recollect that although you may think of a million strokes in an instant, you are required to execute but one, and that however often 5 you may hereafter have to swing, a moment will always be given you to swing in."
"That consideration staggers me, I confess," said the pendulum.
"Then I hope," resumed the dial plate, "we shall all 10 immediately return to our duty; for the maids will be in bed till noon if we stand idling thus."
Upon this the weights, who had never been accused of light conduct, used all their influence in urging him to proceed; when, as with one consent, the wheels began to 15 turn, the hands began to move, the pendulum began to swing, and, to its credit, ticked as loud as ever; while a beam of the rising sun that streamed through a hole in the kitchen shutter, shining full upon the dial plate, made it brighten up as if nothing had been the matter. 20
But when the farmer came down to breakfast that morning, he looked at the clock and declared that his watch had gained half an hour in the night!
1. Write a single short sentence expressing the moral of this story.
2. Why did the minute hand make the calculation (page 233)? Is its calculation correct?
3. What play on words is made in line 21, page 233. In line 13-14, page 234?
4. There is an old saying to the effect that we should let each day's work take care of itself. How far is this true?
TWO SIDES TO EVERY QUESTION
In the days of knight-errantry and paganism, one of the old British princes set up a statue to the goddess of Victory in a point where four roads met together. In her right hand she held a spear, and her left hand rested upon a shield. The outside of this shield was of gold and the inside 5 of silver. On the former was inscribed, in the old British language, "To the goddess ever favorable"; and on the other, "For four victories obtained successively over the Picts and other inhabitants of the northern islands."
It happened one day that two knights completely armed, 10 one in black armor, the other in white, arrived from opposite parts of the country at this statue, just about the same time; and as neither of them had seen it before, they stopped to read the inscription and to observe its workmanship.
After contemplating it for some time, "This golden 15 shield—" said the black knight.
"Golden shield!" cried the white knight (who was as strictly observing the opposite side); "why, if I have my eyes, it is silver."
"I know nothing of your eyes," replied the black knight; 20 "but if ever I saw a golden shield in my life, this is one."
"Yes," returned the white knight smiling, "it is very probable indeed that they should expose a shield of gold in so public a place as this! For my own part, I wonder that even a silver one is not too strong a temptation for the 25 devotion of some people who pass this way; and it appears by the date that this has been here above three years."
The black knight could not bear the smile with which this was delivered and grew so warm in the dispute that it soon ended in a challenge; they both, therefore, turned their horses and rode back so far as to have sufficient space for their career; then, fixing their spears in their rests they flew at each other with the greatest fury and impetuosity. 5 Their shock was so rude, and the blow on each side so effectual, that they both fell to the ground much wounded and lay there for some time as in a trance.
A good druid who was traveling that way found them in this condition. The druids were the physicians of those 10 times as well as the priests. So he stanched their blood, and brought them, as it were, from death to life again. As soon as they were sufficiently recovered he began to inquire into the cause of their quarrel.
"Why this man," cried the black knight, "will have it 15 that yonder shield is silver."
"And he will have it," replied the white knight, "that it is gold."
And then they told him all the particulars of the affair.
"Ah!" said the druid, "my brothers, you are both of you 20 in the right and both of you in the wrong. Had either given himself time to look at the opposite side of the shield, as well as that which first presented itself to view, all this ill feeling and bloodshed might have been avoided. Allow me, therefore, to entreat you by all our gods, and by this 25 goddess of Victory in particular, never again to enter into any dispute till you have fairly considered both sides of the question."
1. This story is a fable. State the moral in your own words. Tell a story of your own, with a modern setting, to enforce the same moral; or one with animals for characters, as in AEsop's Fables.
IF I WERE A BOY
BY WASHINGTON GLADDEN
If I were a boy again, and knew what I know now, I would not be quite so positive in my opinions as I used to be. Boys generally think that they are very certain about many things. A boy of fifteen is a great deal more sure of what he thinks he knows than most men of 5 fifty. You ask the boy a question and he will answer you right off, up and down; he knows all about it. Ask a man of large experience and ripe wisdom the same question, and he will say, "Well, there is much to be said about it. I am inclined on the whole to think so and so, but other 10 intelligent men think otherwise."
When I was eight years old, I traveled from central Massachusetts to western New York, crossing the river at Albany and going by canal from Schenectady to Syracuse. On the canal boat, a kindly gentleman was talking to me 15 one day, and I remarked that I had crossed the Connecticut River at Albany. How I got it into my head that it was the Connecticut River I do not know, for I knew my geography very well then, but in some unaccountable way I had it fixed in my mind that the river at Albany was the 20 Connecticut, and I called it so.
"Why," said the gentleman, "that is the Hudson River."
"Oh, no, sir!" I replied politely, but firmly. "You're mistaken. That is the Connecticut River."
The gentleman smiled and said no more. I was not 25 much in the habit, I think, of contradicting my elders; but in this matter I was perfectly sure that I was right and so I thought it my duty to correct the gentleman's geography. I felt rather sorry for him that he should be so ignorant. One day, after I reached home, I was looking over my route on the map, and lo! there was Albany standing 5 on the Hudson River, a hundred miles from the Connecticut.
Then I did not feel so sorry for the gentleman's ignorance as I did for my own. I never told anybody that story until I wrote it down on these pages the other day; but I have thought of it a thousand times and always with a 10 blush for my boldness. Nor was it the only time that I was perfectly sure of things that really were not so. It is hard for a boy to learn that he may be mistaken; but unless he is a fool, he learns it after a while. The sooner he finds it out, the better for him. 15
If I were a boy, I would not think that I and the boys of my times were an exception to the general rule—a new kind of boys, unlike all who have lived before, having different feelings and different ways. To be honest, I must own that I used to think so myself. I was quite inclined 20 to reject the counsel of my elders by saying to myself, "That may have been well enough for boys thirty or fifty years ago, but it isn't the thing for me and my set of boys." Of course that was nonsense. The boys of one generation are not very different from the boys of any 25 other generation.
If we say that boyhood lasts fifteen or sixteen years, I have known three generations of boys, some of them city boys and some of them country boys, and they are all substantially alike—so nearly alike that the old rules of 30 industry and patience and perseverance and self-control are as applicable to one generation as to another. The fact is, that what your fathers and teachers have found by experience to be good for boys will be good for you; and what their experience has taught them is bad for boys will be bad for you. You are just boys, nothing more nor less.
1. Why would a boy of fifteen be more likely to "think he knew all about it" than an equally honest and intelligent man of fifty? Apply to your answer the preceding story about the two knights. What is the value of experience?
2. Retell the story of the boy's mistake about the river. Why was he so ashamed?
3. What is meant by saying that all boys are substantially alike? What four rules does the author say are always applicable? Compare the training of a boy in ancient Sparta and of a page in medieval times with that of a modern schoolboy.
THE LESSON OF THE WATER MILL
BY SARAH DOUDNEY
Listen to the water mill; Through the livelong day, How the clicking of its wheel Wears the hours away! Languidly the autumn wind 5 Stirs the forest leaves, From the field the reapers sing, Binding up their sheaves; And a proverb haunts my mind As a spell is cast, 10 "The mill cannot grind With the water that is past."