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Title: Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 10: The Guide

Author: Charles Herbert Sylvester

Release date: March 16, 2008 [eBook #24857]

Language: English



E-text prepared by Juliet Sutherland, Julia Miller,
and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team


Transcriber’s Note

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. A list of these changes is found at the end of the text. Inconsistencies in spelling and hyphenation have been maintained. A list of inconsistently spelled and hyphenated words is found at the end of the text.



A knight on horseback is approaching the sea. A castle is visible in the background and there are ships on the sea

Oliver Wendell Holmes      Nathaniel Hawthorne
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Washington Irving      John Greenleaf Whittier
James Russell Lowell      William Cullen Bryant


Journeys Through Bookland


Author of English and American Literature

New Edition

For parents, teachers, and all who have
children under their charge; for adult
who wish to renew their acquaintance
with the friends of their youth, or to
open for the first time the world’s great
treasure house of literature; for youthful
readers who must study the classics



Copyright, 1922



I. Introduction 1
II. Journeys Through Bookland—Its Contents and Plan 7
The Masterpieces 9
Arrangement and Grading 10
The Studies and Helps 13
Studies 15
Notes 15
Introductory Notes 15
Biographies 16
Pronouncing Vocabularies 16
Pictures 17
Tables of Contents 17
Index 17
The Nursery Rhymes 18
Discussion of each Volume 24
Volume One 24
Volume Two 26
Volume Three 28
Volume Four 29
Volume Five 29
Volume Six 30
Volume Seven 31
Volume Eight 33
Volume Nine 34
Volume Ten—The Guide 35
III. Pictures and Their Use 36
What Should We Notice in a Picture? 36
Line 36
Light and Shade 37
Tone and Color 39
Composition 39
Atmosphere and Perspective 40
Application of Principles 41
Bob and Tiny Tim 41
Pictures and Their Value in Literature 44
On the Use of Pictures in Journeys 48
Nursery Rhymes 51
Jack and the Beanstalk 52
Nurse Helps Me when I Embark 52
[viii] Wynken, Blynken, and Nod 53
Shuffle-Shoon and Amber-Locks 54
Tom and the Dragon Fly 55
The Swallow and the Stork Came 55
Down Tumbled Wheelbarrow 58
Geraint Hears Enid Singing 60
IV. Telling Stories 63
The Fairies of the Caldon-Low 68
Little Giffin of Tennessee 71
The Ballad of Agincourt 74
Hervé Riel 78
V. Reading, and the Building of Character 85
Who Stole the Bird’s Nest? 95
Lead, Kindly Light 98
Poor Richard’s Almanac 101
VI. Father and Son 107
VII. Memorizing 128
One Hundred Choice Quotations 131
VIII. How to Read Fiction 143
Different Kinds of Literature 143
Reading Stories 145
Plot 149
Cinderella 150
Persons 156
The Hardy Tin Soldier 158
The Scenes 162
The Dog and His Shadow 164
The Fox and the Stork 166
A Christmas Carol 168
The Lesson and the Author’s Purpose 170
The Fir Tree 173
The Method and Style of the Author 174
Emotional Power 176
Rab and His Friends 177
General Principles and Reflections 181
Completed Studies 185
The Hare and the Tortoise 185
The Fox and the Crow 187
The Drummer 193
Tom, the Water Baby 198
The Passing of Arthur 214
IX. Close Reading or Study 224
Rab and His Friends 225
Braddock’s Defeat 227
[ix] Industry and Sloth 229
Why the Sea is Salt 231
Faithless Sally Brown 232
The Definition of a Gentleman 234
Adventures in Lilliput 235
The Heart of Bruce 238
Annie Laurie 243
The Lost Child 243
David Crockett in the Creek War 244
The Impeachment of Warren Hastings 248
From The Death of Cæsar 253
X. Close Reading (Concluded) 256
The Author 257
Sentences 258
Figures of Speech 259
Allusions 259
Basis of Figures 262
Simile 263
Metaphor 264
Synecdoche and Metonymy 265
Apostrophe and Personification 266
Studies in Figures 268
Ode to a Skylark 268
A Visit from Saint Nicholas 270
The First Snowfall 270
XI. Reading Poetry 272
The Reaper and the Flowers 272
The Brown Thrush 276
The Child’s World 277
Seven Times One 278
The First Snowfall 281
The Potato 285
Origin of the Opal 285
The Barefoot Boy 286
The Bugle Song 287
The Petrified Fern 291
The Forsaken Merman 295
The Cloud 301
Ode to a Skylark 306
XII. Reading Aloud 311
Articulation and Enunciation 311
Emphasis and Inflection 312
Emotional States 312
Pitch 312
Rate or Time 313
Quality 315
Force 315
[x]XIII. Literature and Its Forms 317
Prose 318
Methods of Expression 318
Narration 318
Description 321
Exposition 321
Argumentation 322
Forms of Prose 322
Fiction 322
Essays 322
Orations 324
Drama 325
Poetry 327
Structure of Poetry 328
Rhythm 328
Rhyme 329
Alliteration 330
Kinds of Poetry 331
Epic 331
Lyric 333
Songs 333
Ode 335
Elegy 335
Sonnet 337
Victor and Vanquished 338
Dramatic 339
Miracle Plays 340
Morality Plays 340
Masques 341
Tragedies and Comedies 341
XIV. Journeys in Its Relation to the School—Reading and Language 345
Reading 348
Language 349
Oral Lessons 352
The Wind and the Sun 357
Written Lessons 360
Introduction 360
Literature in Written Lessons 363
Narration 363
Robin Hood and the Stranger 363
Description 365
The King of the Golden River 366
Exposition 368
Cid Campeador 368
Argument 370
The Boston Massacre 370
Conclusion 376
An Exciting Canoe Race 376
[xi]XV. Journeys in Its Relation To the School—Nature Study 380
Seven Long Selections 381
Tom, the Water Baby 381
Robinson Crusoe 382
The Swiss Family Robinson 382
Brute Neighbors 383
The Pond in Winter 384
Winter Animals 384
Trees and Ants that Help Each Other 385
Classified Selections 386
Flowers and Plant Life 386
Birds 387
Four-footed Animals 389
Reptiles 391
Insects 391
Denizens of the Water 391
Natural Phenomena 392
Geography in Nature 392
Complete Study 393
The King of the Golden River 393
XVI. Journeys in Its Relation to the School—Geography and History 400
Classified References 402
Model Geography Lesson 411
The Wind 411
Model History Lessons 413
Alfred the Great 413
Burgoyne’s Campaign 419
XVII. Journeys in Its Relation to the High School 425
Classification of Studies 427
Type Studies 431
XVIII. Recitations and Special Days in School 436
Bird Day 437
Memorial Day 438
Christmas 438
Birthdays 438
Dramatization 439
An Old-Fashioned Afternoon 440
XIX. Handy List of the Studies in Journeys Through Bookland 441
Volume One 442
Volume Two 443
Volume Three 445
Volume Four 446
Volume Five 446
[xii] Volume Six 447
Volume Seven 448
Volume Eight 449
Volume Nine 449
XX. Supplementary Book Lists 451
For the Separate Volumes 454
Volume One 454
Volume Two 455
Volume Three 457
Volume Four 458
Volume Five 459
Volume Six 460
Volume Seven 461
Classified Lists 462
Fiction 463
Poetry and Drama 464
Essays 464
Nature 465
Biography 465
History 465
Travel and Geography 466
Miscellaneous 466
Handy Table of English Writers 469
Handy Table of American Writers 473
General Index 475



Halftone Portraits of Authors

Group One Frontispiece
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Washington Irving
John Greenleaf Whittier
James Russell Lowell
William Cullen Bryant
Group Two 52
William Shakespeare
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Robert Browning
Sir Walter Scott
William Wordsworth
Geoffrey Chaucer
Joseph Addison
Group Three 100
Cardinal Newman
Sir Francis Bacon
Jonathan Swift
Daniel Defoe
Cardinal Wiseman
Father Ryan
Group Four 148
Julia Ward Howe
Benjamin Franklin
Henry David Thoreau
Patrick Henry
William H. Prescott
Francis Parkman
James Fenimore Cooper
Group Five 198
Edgar Allan Poe
Donald G. Mitchell
James Whitcomb Riley
Thomas Buchanan Read
Eugene Field
[xiv]John Howard Payne
John G. Saxe
Group Six 246
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Phoebe Cary
Alice Cary
Lucy Larcom
Felicia Hemans
George Eliot
Jean Ingelow
Group Seven 294
Robert Burns
Robert Southey
William Cowper
Lord Byron
John Keats
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Group Eight 342
Rudyard Kipling
Robert Louis Stevenson
Paul Du Chaillu
Thomas Hughes
Hans Christian Andersen
Jakob Grimm
Wilhelm Grimm
Group Nine 400
John Ruskin
Oliver Goldsmith
Matthew Arnold
Thomas Babington Macaulay
John Bunyan
Thomas De Quincey
Charles Lamb
Group Ten 454
John Tyndall
Charles Kingsley
Thomas Moore
Alexander Pope
Thomas Campbell
David Livingstone
George MacDonald




Everyone who associates with children becomes deeply interested in them. Their helplessness during their early years appeals warmly to sympathy; their acute desire to learn and their responsiveness to suggestion make teaching a delight; their loyalty and devotion warm the heart and inspire the wish to do the things that count for most. Everything combines to increase a sense of responsibility and to make the elders active in bringing to bear those influences that make for character, power and success.

Every worthy teacher in every school gives more than her salary commands and puts heart power into every act. By example and precept the lessons are taught and growth follows in response to cultivation. But the schools are handicapped by lack of time for much personal care, by lack of facilities for the best of instruction and by the multiplicity of things that must be done. Under the best conditions a teacher has but a small part of a child’s time and then instruction must be given usually to classes and not to individuals. Outside of school for a considerable time each day the child falls under the influence of playmates who may or may not be helpful, but the greater part of every twenty-four hours belongs to the home.

[2]Parents, guardians, brothers and sisters, servants, consciously or unconsciously, wisely or unwisely, are teaching all the time. It is from this great complex of influences that every child builds his character and lays the foundation of whatever success he afterwards achieves.

Undoubtedly the home is the greatest single influence and that is strongest during the early years. Before a boy is seven the elements of his character begin to form; by the time he is fourteen his future usually can be predicted, and after he is twenty, few real changes are brought about in the character of the man. The schools can do little more than plant the seeds of culture; in the family must the young plants be watered, nourished and trained. Then will the growth be symmetrical and beautiful.

When the school and the home work together, when parents and teacher are in hearty sympathy, the great work is easily accomplished. But this harmony in interest is difficult to secure. In the first place it is not possible frequently for parents and teachers to become acquainted; usually is it impossible for them to know one another intimately. Here there are two forces, each ignorant of the other, but both trying for a common end. Again, parents in many, many instances are not acquainted with the schools nor with the methods of instruction which are followed therein. What is done by one may be undone by the other. If there could be a common ground of meeting, much labor would be saved and greater harmony of effort established.

When fathers and mothers are willing to take time enough from their other duties to show that [3]sympathetic interest in juvenile tasks which is the greatest stimulus to intelligent effort, when they wish to know what work each child is doing and where in each text book his lessons are, when the multiplication table and the story of Cinderella are of as much importance as the price of meat or the profit on a yard of silk, then will the parents and the teachers come together in whatever field appears mutually acceptable.

Everybody reads, and reading is now the greatest single influence upon humanity. The day of the orator has passed, the day of print has long been upon us. No adult remains long uninfluenced by what he reads persistently, and every child receives more impressions from his reading than from all other sources put together.

Someone has shown forcibly by a graphic diagram the ideas we are most anxious to establish. In this diagram of Forces in Education, the circle represents the sum total of all those influences which tend to make the mind and character of the growing child. That half of the circle to the right of the heavy line represents the forces of the school; the half to the left, the forces that come into play outside the teacher’s domain. In school are the various studies taught; reading, writing, language, nature, geography, history, arithmetic. Other things such as morals, manners, hygiene, etc., come in for their share of force in the division “Miscellaneous.” Out of school the child’s work influences him; his playmates affect him more; the example and instruction of his parents form his habits, thought and character to a still greater extent; but more than any one, as much as the three [4]combined, does his home reading shape his destiny.

Diagram of learning

That this last statement is no exaggeration is proved by the testimony of many a wise and thoughtful man, by the observation of teachers everywhere. When a child has learned to read, he possesses the instrument of highest culture, but at the same time the instrument of greater danger. Bad books or bad methods of reading good books lead the reader’s mind astray or stimulate a destructive imagination that affects character forever; but good books and right methods of reading make the soul sensitive to right and wrong, improve the mind, inspire to higher ideals and lead to loftier effort.

[5]Here is the one fertile field wherein teacher, parent and every other person interested in the welfare of children and youth may meet and work together in the noblest cause God ever gave us the grace to see.

“I have a notion,” said Benjamin Harrison, “that children are about the only people we can do anything for. When we get to be men and women we are either spoiled or improved. The work is done.” One of the best things we can do is to create a taste for good reading and cultivate a habit of reading in the right manner. It is an easy and a delightful task.

How many parents do it? Let them live with their children in the realm the little ones love. Let them read the fairy tales, the myths, the stories, the history that childhood appreciates, not in a spirit of criticism or in the role of a dictator but as a child of a little larger growth, a man or woman with a youthful mind.

How many teachers assist? By so teaching that reading becomes an inspiration in itself; that only mastery contents; that beauty, high sentiment, lofty ideals may be found and followed; by making the reading recitation the one delightful hour of the day.

If any mature person at home can spend each week a few hours in reading and talking with the children about what has been read he will be surprised to find how lightly the time passes and how quickly his own cares and anxieties are dissipated. He will find greater delight than he has ever known in the society of his equals; and the younger ones, whose minds glow with helpful curiosity and [6]absorbing interest will be kept to that extent from the street and its attractions, while at the same time they are learning those things that count for most in life’s great battle.

Let no one feel in the least uncertain of his power to interest and delight. Let him have no hesitation in joining in with the children, in meeting them on their level and in sharing thought and feeling with them. By being a child himself he most easily makes of himself a wise and inspiring leader.



Journeys Through Bookland—Its Contents And Plan

Journeys Through Bookland is what the title signifies, a series of excursions into the field of the world’s greatest literature. Accordingly, the base of the work is laid in those great classics that, since first they found expression in words, have been the education and inspiration of man. But these excursions are taken hand-in-hand with a leader, whose province it is to explain, to interpret, to guide and to direct. Suiting his labors to the age and acquirement of the readers he helps them all, from the child halting in his early attempts to interpret the printed page to the high school or college student who wishes to master the innermost secrets of literature. In no small sense is this leadership a labor of love, for it follows an experience of twenty years of personal instruction in the public schools and among the teachers of the country.

Journeys Through Bookland must be considered as a unit; for one plan, one purpose, controls from the first page of the first volume to the last page of the tenth. The literary selections were not chosen haphazard nor were they graded and arranged after any ordinary plan. In this respect they differ in character and arrangement from the selections in any other work now upon the market.

[8]Moreover, the notes, interpretations, original articles and multifarious helps are an integral part and are inseparable. In this respect, again, is the work original and unique.

Further, the pictures, of which there are many hundreds, were drawn or painted expressly for Journeys Through Bookland and are as much a part of the general scheme as any other help to appreciation. Again, the type page, the decorations, the paper, binding and endsheets, all combine to give an artistic setting to literary masterpieces and a stimulating atmosphere for literary study.

The masterpieces which make the field of the Journeys naturally fall into three classes. First, there is the literature of culture, those things which you and I and everybody must know if we expect to be considered educated or to be able to read with intelligence and appreciation the current writings of the day. To this class belong all those nursery rhymes, lyrics, classic myths, legends and so on to which allusion is constantly made and which are themselves the legal tender of polite and cultured conversation. Next, there are those selections whose power lies in the profound influence they exert upon the unfolding character of boy or girl. As a child readeth so is he. Masterpieces of this type abound in the books and it is by means of them that the author hopes and expects to exert his greatest influence upon his unknown friends among the children. The third group consists of the masterpieces which lend interest to school work and make it pleasanter, easier and more profitable. It is what some may call the practical side of litera[9]ture. It is what, at first, appeals most strongly to those who have read little, but which ultimately appears of less value than the influence of cultural and character-building literature.

Any treatment of Journeys that is worthy of the name must consider the masterpieces themselves in their three great functions, as well as the devices by which the selections are made effective.

1. The Masterpieces

The table of contents at the beginning of each volume shows a wide selection of the best things that have ever been written for children—not always the new things, but always the best things for the purpose. The masterpieces are the tried and true ones that have long been popular with children and have formed a large part of the literary education of the race.

There are a host of complete masterpieces and many selections from other works which are too long to print here or which are otherwise unavailable. It has often happened that something written for older heads and for serious purposes has in it some of the most charming and helpful things for the young. For instance, Gulliver’s Travels is a political satire, and as such it is long since dead. Yet parts of it make the most fascinating reading for children. Moreover, Swift and many other great writers defiled their pages with matter which ought to be unprintable. To bring together the good things from such writers, to reprint them with all the graces of style they originally possessed, and yet so carefully to edit them that there [10]can be no suggestion of offense, has been the constant aim of the writer.

The books contain, too, many beautiful selections translated from foreign languages and made fresh, attractive and inspiring. Many of the old fables and folk stories have been rewritten, but others which have existed long in good form have been left untouched. In the great masterpieces no liberties have been taken with the text without making known the fact, and in every case the most reliable edition has been followed. It is hoped that children will have nothing to “unlearn” from the reading of these books.

There are not a few old things in the set that are really new, because they have heretofore been inaccessible to children except in musty books not likely to be met.

This is no haphazard collection made hastily, and largely at the suggestion of others. Everything in the books has been read and reread by the writer. True, he has availed himself of the help of others, and to many his obligations are deep and lasting; but in the end the responsibility for selection and for the quantity and quality of the helps is wholly his.

2. Arrangement and Grading

The contents of the books have been graded from the nursery rhymes in the first volume to the rather difficult selections in the ninth volume. In the arrangement, however, not all the simplest reading is in the first volume. It might be better understood if we [11]say that one volume overlaps another, so that, for instance, the latter part of the first volume is more difficult than the first part of the second volume. When a child is able to read in the third volume he will find something to interest him in all the volumes.

What has been said, however, does not wholly explain the system of arrangement. Fiction, poetry, essays, biography, nature-study, science and history are all fairly represented in the selections, but no book is given over exclusively to any subject. Rather is it so arranged that the child who reads by course will traverse nearly every subject in every volume, and to him the different subjects will be presented logically in the order in which his growing mind demands them. We might say that as he reads from volume to volume, he travels in an ever widening and rising spiral. The fiction of the first volume consists of fables, fairy tales and folk stories; the poetry of nursery rhymes and children’s verses; the biography of anecdotal sketches of Field and Stevenson; and history is suggested in the quaintly written Story of Joseph. On a subsequent turn of the spiral are found fiction from Scott and Swift; poetry from Homer, Vergil, Hay, Gilbert and Tennyson; hero stories from Malory; history from Washington Irving.

If, however, some inquiring young person should wish to read all there is on history, biography or any other subject, the full index in the tenth volume will show him where everything of the nature he wishes is to be found.

Another valuable feature of arrangement is the frequent bringing together of selections that bear [12]some relation to one another. A simple cycle of this sort may be seen where in the eighth volume the account of Lord Nelson’s great naval victory is followed by Casabianca; a better one where in the fifth volume there is an account of King Arthur, followed by tales of the Round Table Knights from Malory, and Geraint and Enid and The Passing of Arthur from Tennyson. By this plan one selection serves as the setting for another, and a child often can see how the real things of life prove the inspiration for great writers. Again, in the fourth volume is The Pine Tree Shillings, a New England story or tradition for girls; this is followed immediately by The Sunken Treasure, a vivid story for boys; next comes The Hutchinson Mob, a semi-historical sketch, followed in turn by The Boston Massacre, which is pure history. The cycle is completed by The Landing of the Pilgrims and Sheridan’s Ride, two historical poems.

Graphic Classification of Masterpieces on page 14 will show more clearly what is meant by the overlapping of subjects. In the column at the left are given the names of the subjects under which the selections have been classified, running from Fables to Drama, and Studies, the last name including all the varied helps given by the author. Across the top of the table the Roman numerals, I to X, indicate the numbers of the ten volumes. The shading in the squares shows the relative quantity of material. In using the Classification, “read across to learn in which volume the subjects are treated; read down to find what each volume contains.” Thus: The first volume contains (reading down), a great many fables, many fairy stories and [13]much folk lore, a few myths and old stories, a little biography, some biblical or religious material, selections that may be classified under the heads of nature, humor and poetry; but there is no account of legendary heroes, no travel and adventure, no history, nothing of a patriotic nature and no drama. On the other hand (reading across), there are many fables in the first volume, a few in the second but none thereafter; a few myths and some classic literature are found in the first three volumes, more in the fourth and fifth, but the number and quantity decrease in the sixth and do not appear thereafter; nature work is to be found in all the volumes but is strongest in the seventh; drama appears in the eighth and the ninth. Biography has a place in all volumes, but is strongest in the seventh; while the Studies, appearing in all volumes, reach their highest point in the tenth.

3. The Studies and Helps

As has been said, the chief factors in making Journeys Through Bookland unique and of greatest value are the many helps that are given the readers, young and old. These helps are varied in character and are widely distributed through the volumes. They must be considered one at a time by the person who would assist others to use them to the best purpose. These helps consist of what are technically known as studies, notes, introductory notes, biographies, pronouncing vocabularies, pictures, tables of contents and index. The following comments will make clear the purpose of each.


Graphic Classification of Masterpieces

Fables                   Volume
X is a
Guide for
Fairy Stories
Folk Lore
Stories Old
and New
Myths and
Classic Literature
Legendary Heroes                  
Travel and Adventure                  
Biblical, Moral, Religious                  

Read across to learn in which volumes the subjects are treated; read down to find what each volume contains.

[15]a. Studies. Every volume contains a large number of helps of different kinds for young people. Usually these are in connection with some selection and are adapted to the age of the boy or girl most likely to read the piece. As each study is presented in an interesting and informal manner and does not cover many points, it is felt that young people will enjoy them only less than the masterpieces themselves.

The studies are arranged as systematically as the selections, and are graded even more carefully. Their scope and method will be more fully explained in subsequent sections of this volume.

b. Notes. These consist of explanatory notes, that are placed wherever they seem to be needed. They explain words not usually found readily in the dictionaries, foreign phrases, and such historical or other allusions as are necessary to an understanding of the text by youthful readers. These notes are placed at the bottom of the page that needs explanation, and so are immediately available. In such a position they are more liable to be read than if gathered together at the end of the volume. They are neither formal nor pedantic, and are as brief as is consistent with clearness. Their purpose is to help the reader, not to show the writer’s knowledge.

c. Introductory Notes. At the heads of selections from longer masterpieces are introductory notes which give some little account of the larger work and enough of the context so that the selection may not seem a fragment. In some instances this note gives the historical setting of a masterpiece or tells something of the circumstances under [16]which it was written, when those facts help to an appreciation of the selection. Sometimes an acquaintance with the personality of an author is so necessary to a clear understanding of what he writes that a brief sketch of his life or a few anecdotes that show his character are given in the note preceding what he has written. These notes are printed in the same type as the text, especially in the first four volumes, for they are felt to be worthy of equal consideration.

d. Biographies. Besides the biographical notes appended to selections, there are not a few more pretentious sketches that have been given prominent titles in the body of the books. These have been prepared expressly for this work, either by the editor or by some one fully acquainted with the subject and accustomed to writing for young people. These biographies are written from the point of view of young people, and contain the things that boys and girls like to know about their favorite authors or some of the noble men and women whose lives have made this world a better and a happier place in which to live. In the earlier volumes they are brief, simple, and largely made up of anecdotes; later they are more mature, and show something of the reasons that make the lives interesting and valuable material for studies. There are, also, in the books a few lengthy extracts from some of the world’s great biographies. Care has been exercised in the selection of these, so that in each case, while the extract is of interest to young people, it is also fairly representative of the larger work from which it has been taken.

e. Pronouncing Vocabularies. Children often [17]find difficulty in pronouncing proper names, and not many have at hand any books from which they can obtain the information. At the end of every volume is a list of the important proper names in that book, and after each name the pronunciation is given phonetically, so that no dictionary or other reference work is necessary. Since each volume has its own list, it is not necessary even to lay down the book in hand and take up the last volume.

f. Pictures. The illustrations in the several volumes form one great feature in the general plan. They alone will do much to interest children in the reading, and if attention is called to them they will be found to increase in value. The color plates in each volume, the numerous fine halftones of special design, and the hundreds of pen and ink drawings that illuminate the text have been painted and drawn for these books, and will be found nowhere else. More than twenty artists have given their skill and enthusiasm to make the books brighter, clearer, and more inspiring. The initial letters and the many fine decorations also belong exclusively to the set, and combine to give it esthetic value. Everything of this nature will command attention and hold interest.

g. Tables of Contents. Beginning each volume is a table showing the contents of the volume and the names of authors. It forms a means of ready reference to the larger divisions of the work and is a handy supplement to the index.

h. Index. At the end of the tenth volume is an index to the whole ten volumes. There may be found not only each author and title in alphabetical order, but also a complete classification of the selec[18]tions in the set. To find the history in this series, look in the index under the title “History.” When a topic has as many sub-divisions as has “Fiction,” for instance, or “Poetry,” cross references are given.

4. The Nursery Rhymes

When a child is taught the little nursery rhymes which to us may seem to be meaningless jingles, he is really peeping into the fields of literature, taking the first steps in those journeys that will end in Shakespeare, Browning and Goethe. When his infantile ear is caught by the lively rhythm and the catchy rhymes, he is receiving his first lessons in poetry. That the lessons are delightful now he shows by his smiles, and in middle life he will appreciate the joy more keenly as he teaches the same little rhymes to his own children.

Most children know the rhymes when they come to school and they will like to read them there. A child’s keenest interest is in the things he knows. Later, perhaps in the high school or the grammar grades, he will be interested again in learning that the rhymes are not wholly frivolous and that there may be reasons why these rhymes should have survived for centuries in practically unchanged forms. Some of the facts that may be brought out at various times are the following:

I. There is a hidden significance in some of the nursery rhymes. For instance:

a. Daffy-Down-Dilly (page 47). In England one of the earliest and most common of spring [19]flowers is the daffodil, a bright yellow, lily-like blossom, with long, narrow green leaves all growing from the bulb. The American child may know them as the big double monstrosities the florist sells in the spring, or he may have some single and prettier ones growing in his garden. The jonquil and the various kinds of narcissus are nearly related white or white and pink flowers. This picture on page 47 of Journeys Through Bookland shows a few daffodils growing. Miss Daffy-Down-Dilly, then, in her yellow petticoat and her green gown, is the pretty flower; and the rhyme so understood brings a breath of spring with it.

b. Humpty Dumpty (page 55). This is really a riddle of the old-fashioned kind. There are many of them in English folk lore. Usually a verse was repeated and then a question asked; as, “Who was Humpty Dumpty?” The artist has answered the question for us in the picture. Possibly many people who learned the rhyme in childhood never thought of Humpty as an egg.

What answer would you give to the question, Who was Taffy (page 54)? For similar riddles, see Nancy Netticoat (Vol. I, p. 72), The Andiron (page 245) and St. Ives (page 202).

II. Some were intended to teach certain facts. For instance:

a. When children were taught the alphabet as the first step to reading, The Apple Pie (page 43) gave the letters in their order, including the obsolete “Ampersand.”

b. As children grew a little older and could begin to read what they already knew, things in which the same words were many times repeated were [20]helpful. Two examples are The House that Jack Built (page 56) and There Is the Key of the Kingdom (page 45).

c. The numbers from one to twenty were taught by One, Two (page 41).

d. The days of the week were taught by Solomon Grundy (page 42), which with its amusing provision for repetition is sure to catch the fancy of a child and keep his thoughts on the words.

III. Some of them teach kindness to animals:

a. Dapple Gray (page 22).

b. Ladybird (page 12). This is sometimes known as ladybug, and the bug is the little, round, reddish beetle whose wings are black dotted. It is a pretty, harmless beetle that gardeners like to see around their plants. Children repeat the rhyme when they find the beetle in the house and always release it to “fly away and save its children.”

c. Poor Robin (page 16).

d. Old Mother Hubbard’s amusing adventures with her dog (page 24) leave a very kindly feeling toward both.

IV. Some are philosophical, or inculcate moral precepts or good habits, in a simple or amusing way.

a. Early to Bed (page 34).

b. Little Bo-Peep (page 9). Is it not better to let cares and worries alone? Why cry about things that are lost?

c. Three Little Kittens (page 13) suggests care for our possessions.

d. There Was a Man (page 60) has the same idea that we often hear expressed in the proverb “A hair from the same dog will cure the wound.[21]

e. Rainbow in the Morning (page 48) has some real weather wisdom in it.

f. There Was a Jolly Miller (page 47), gives a good lesson in contentment.

g. A Diller, A Dollar (page 59).

h. See a Pin (page 59) suggests in its harmless superstition a good lesson in economy.

i. Little Boy Blue (page 33) makes the lazy boy and the sluggard unpopular.

j. Come, Let’s to Bed (page 34) ridicules sleepiness, slowness and greediness.

V. Mother’s loving care, at morning and evening, when dressing and undressing the baby or when putting the little folks to bed, has prompted several of the rhymes:

a. This Little Pig (page 5) the mother repeats to the baby as she counts his little toes.

b. Pat-a-Cake (page 4) is another night or morning rhyme; and here mother “marks it with” the initial of her baby’s name and puts it in the oven for her baby and herself. Another of similar import is: Up, Little Baby (page 7).

c. Diddle, Diddle, Dumpling (page 7) has kept many a little boy awake till he was safely undressed.

d. What an old rhyme must Bye, Baby Bunting be (page 6)! It goes back to the days when “father went a-hunting, to get a rabbit skin to wrap Baby Bunting in.” Some one, more recently, has added the idea of buying the rabbit skin.

e. The simple little lyric, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (page 44) has filled many a childish soul with gentle wonder, and many a night-robed lassie has wandered to the window and begged the [22]little stars to keep on lighting the weary traveler in the dark.

VI. Some of the rhymes are pure fun, and even as such are worthy of a place in any person’s memory:

a. There Was an Old Woman (page 36); Great A (page 14); Jack Be Nimble (page 28); To Market, to Market (page 6), and There Was a Monkey (page 14); Goosey-Goosey (page 21); Hey, Diddle, Diddle (page 23); There Was a Rat (page 14), and others, belong to this category.

b. Three Blind Mice (page 12) is an old-fashioned Round. Many a band of little folks has been divided into groups and has sung the nonsensical rhymes until every boy and girl broke down in laughter. Do you poor modern people know how it was done? The school was divided into a half-dozen sections. The first section began to sing and when its members reached the end of the first line, the second section began; the third section began when the second reached the end of the first line, and so on till all sections were singing. When any section reached the word “As—” they began again at the beginning. The first line was chanted in a low, slow monotone, the others were sung as rapidly as possible to a rattling little tune on a high pitch. Imagine the noise, confusion and laughter. Many a dull afternoon in school has been broken up by it, and countless children have returned to their little tasks with new enthusiasm. The old things are not always to be scorned.

c. Old King Cole (page 52) is a jolly rhyme, and the illustration is one of the finest in the books. Everybody should study it.

[23]VII. Two, at least, of the rhymes are of the “counting out” kind. Often children want to determine who is to be “It” in a game of tag, who is to be blinded in a game of hide-and-seek, or who takes the disagreeable part in some other play. They are lined up and one begins to “count out” by repeating a senseless jingle, touching a playmate at each word. The one on whom the last word falls is “out,” safe from the unpleasant task. One at a time they are counted out till only the “It” remains.

Wire, brier and One-ery, Two-ery (page 51) are examples. The artist has shown a group being counted out, in her very lifelike picture on pages 50 and 51.

VIII. There are some errors in grammar in the rhymes, many words you cannot find in a dictionary, and some of the rhymes may seem a little coarse and vulgar; but they have lived so long in their present form that it seems almost a pity to change them. Encourage the older children to find the errors and to criticise and correct as much as they wish. Probably they will not like the rhymes in their new form and correct dress any better than we would.

IX. There is really a practical value, too, in a knowledge of the nursery rhymes. Allusions to them are found in all literature and many a sentence is unintelligible to him who does not recognize the nursery rhyme alluded to. It would be safe, almost, to say that not a day passes in which the daily papers do not contain allusions to some simple little lines dear to our childhood. They are not to be sneered at; they are to be loved in babyhood [24]and childhood, understood in youth, and treasured in middle life and old age.

5. Discussion of Each Volume

Our Journeys Through Bookland contains a wealth of material and a host of studies and helps. It is not an easy matter to get even the plan of it into one’s mind in a few minutes. The object of this volume is to guide the parent, teacher or student and to show as many of the important phases of Journeys as is possible. In other chapters we take up different methods of reading or show ways in which the books can be used to accomplish certain definite purposes, and how to select the material needed for any occasion. By means of cross references to the other books this volume serves as a key to them all.

Volume One. The first sixty pages of this volume are given over to the best known of the old nursery rhymes. That they are old is one of their great merits. That all cultured people know them is proof of their value and interest. The words are old words but the pictures are new. Every one was drawn expressly for Journeys and all show the conception of artists who have not lost the appreciation of childhood. Little children love the rhymes and will learn them and repeat them at sight of the pictures long before they can read. Elsewhere in this volume are suggestions which show how the rhymes may be used profitably.

Journeys does not pretend to teach reading in the sense in which it is understood in the kindergarten and the early primary grades. Rather it begins to [25]be of service as a reader only after the child has been taught how to read for himself. Children in the third grade will read many stories for themselves; from the fourth grade on they are nearly all independent readers. Every teacher knows, however, that children like to listen to stories which it would be utterly impossible for them to read, and that later they best love to read the things which they have heard from the lips of parent or teacher. Therefore, the literature of the first volume forms a treasure house from which the parent may draw many a good story to tell, and where he may find more that will be excellent for him to read aloud. The taste for the best literature is often formed in early childhood. So no child is too young for Journeys and no child is too old. The real things we read over and over with increasing interest as the years go on. Elsewhere in this volume are directions for story-telling, and many especially good selections are named. What the parent shall read aloud is best left to him to determine; at first he will do well not to read aloud any of the comments with which the books are fitted. If he finds that the interest warrants it he can use the comments for himself and ask questions that will lead to thoughtful consideration of what is being read, even by very young children. The only thing necessary is that the reading should be taken seriously and that the parent should be as much interested as the youthful listener.

There are stories and poems, fairy tales and folk lore, biography in simple anecdotes of the great favorites of children and toward the end of the volume a few rather difficult selections for older [26]children. In this volume as in all of them it is hoped that parents will look over the table of contents again and again, select the things that seem best and suit them to the occasion. How beautiful the lullabies are for the babies, and how much the older boys and girls will enjoy them when read at baby’s side! When the children are interested in the whimsical rhymes of Stevenson, his biography should be read; and Eugene Field’s life is interesting when his sweet poems are lending their charm to the evening by the fireside. Some of the fables contain deep lessons that may be absorbed by the older children while the younger ones are interested in the story only.

Volume Two. The selections in the first part of the second volume are intentionally simpler than the last ones in the first volume. It is a good thing for a child to handle books, to learn to find what he wants in a book the greater part of which is too difficult for him. Oliver Wendell Holmes thought it was an excellent thing for himself that he had had the opportunity to “tumble around in a library” when he was a youngster. Every student who has had the opportunity so to indulge himself has felt the same thing. There are so many books published every month and so much reading to be done that a discriminating sense must be cultivated. No one can read it all or even a small part of it. Older people will discriminate by reading what they like. Children must learn to handle books and to find out what they are able to read. To put into their hands all they can read of the simple things they like is not wise. Most children read too much. Fairy stories are all right in their way, but to give a child [27]all the fairy tales he can read is a serious mistake. Hundreds of pretty, inane, senseless stories in attractive bindings with pretty, characterless illustrations tempt the children to vitiate their taste in reading, long before they are able by themselves to read the best literature.

Because they are valuable, there are fairy stories in Journeys; because their use may be abused, there are few of them; because something else should be read with them, they are not all in one volume nor in one place in a volume. The same rule of classification applies to other selections than fairy tales.

This is the volume in which the myths appear in the form of simple tales: three from the northland, two from Greece. Each story is attractive in itself, has some of the interest that surrounds a fairy tale and serves as the fore-shadowing of history. That they are something more than fairy tales is shown in the comments and elementary explanations that accompany them.

Little poems, lullabies, pretty things that children love are dropped into the pages here and there. Children seem to fear poetry after they have been in school a little while, largely because they have so much trouble in reading it aloud under the criticisms of the teacher and because the form has made the meaning a little difficult. It is, however, a great misfortune if a person grows up without an appreciation of poetry when it is so simple a matter to give the young an abiding love for it. A little help now and then, a word of appreciation, a manifestation of pleasure when reading it and almost without effort the child begins to read and love poetry as he does good prose.

[28]The beginnings of nature study appear in the second volume in the form of beautiful selections that encourage a love for birds and other animals, and Tom, The Water Baby, is a delightful story, half fairy tale, half natural history romance.

In this volume also is found The King of the Golden River, perhaps the best fairy story ever written.

Volume Three. A glance at the table of contents in the third volume will show the general nature of the selections. Fairy stories or tales with a highly imaginative basis predominate. There are some that are humorous, as for instance the selections from the writings of Lewis Carroll, and one or two of the poems.

The long selection from The Swiss Family Robinson is a good introduction to nature literature and contains all of the book that is worth reading by anyone. The two tales from The Arabian Nights are among the best in that collection and are perhaps the ones most frequently referred to in general literature and in conversation. The story of Beowulf and Grendel is a prose rendering of the oldest poem in the English language, and valuable for that reason. While it is rather terrifying in some of its details its unreality saves it from harmful possibilities. Parents and teachers are inclined rather to overestimate the unpleasant consequences of reading terrifying things when they are of this character. Few, if any, children will read the story if it displeases them and those who do will not retain the disagreeable impression it makes for any great length of time.

In this volume we begin our acquaintance with [29]the legendary heroes of the great nations. Frithiof, Siegfried, Robin Hood and Roland are all in this book, to be followed by Cid Campeador in Volume IV.

Volume Four. In this volume, with many fine poems and tales interspersed, is found the continuation of the legendary hero stories begun in Volume III, also as a natural sequence, a cycle of history that begins with a story and ends in a narrative of an actual historical occurrence. These may be found in the six selections beginning with The Pine-Tree Shillings. The article on Joan of Arc, the story of Pancratius and the account of Alfred the Great, though not related in any way, yet still serve to carry out the idea that this volume is largely an introduction to readings in history.

The Attack on the Castle is a stirring account of a mediæval battle. It prepares the way to the mediæval spirit made more prominent in the next volume. In The Arickara Indians the boys will begin to find the interest that the aborigines always have for our youth.

Volume Five. The legendary great, the half-historical personages that have been for so many centuries the inspiration of youths of many lands are found again in this volume in the person of the Greek heroes and, at much greater length, in England’s famous King Arthur. The story of his Round Table and its knights is told in an extremely interesting way. The spirit of Sir Thomas Malory is retained in his quaint accounts and Tennyson’s noble poems show how great a factor the legends of Arthur have been in literature. Besides the articles that are instructive there are a [30]few that are highly entertaining or merely humorous, for every child has a right to read sometimes for amusement only. It will be seen that some classes of literature have ceased to appear and that others are coming into view. The “spiral arrangement” is nicely illustrated in the reappearance of history and the legendary heroes and in the disappearance of myths and fairy tales, for which there is, however, some compensation in the highly imaginative Gulliver’s Travels, an extract from Dean Swift.

In this volume are also included a little cycle on one of the great heroes of the Scotch, Robert Bruce. These carry on the series of selections on legendary heroes, begun in Volume Three. These are followed by stories of adventure, of frontier life in the Central West, tales from the early history of our country. Reminiscences of a Pioneer, The Buccaneers, Captain Morgan at Maracaibo, and Braddock’s Defeat are examples of this kind of literature. These selections are authentic accounts from original sources and are among those things which boys really like, but which have not heretofore been accessible to them. Patriotic Poems, somewhat in the same vein, are given where they will be noticed and read.

Volume Six. In this volume the series of legendary and semi-historical selections is completed. It includes the best of the legends concerning the national hero of Persia, also the story of The Tournament from Ivanhoe, inserted here as a fitting introduction to Scott’s novels. There are several examples of nature studies in literature and several fine stories that have their place in the education of [31]everyone. The best of these stories and one of the finest ever written is Rab and His Friend. A cycle of a religious nature is found in those selections which are named The Imitation of Christ, The Destruction of Sennacherib, Ruth, and The Vision of Belshazzar.

The longest and best story in this book is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This is a model in construction and furnishes the basis for all the studies that would naturally accompany the most elaborate piece of fiction.

The sixth volume is one of interest and one that will give plenty of opportunity for study to those who have the inclination to follow out the suggestions that accompany the selections. Close study should be upon those things which are already somewhat familiar. The high school student will find his time more profitably spent in working on the things in this volume than in poring over the more difficult masterpieces that are sometimes prescribed in courses of study. What we desire is power to read, understand and appreciate, and that is obtained by study upon those things that interest us and about which we know enough to enable us to use our minds to best advantage.

Volume Seven. On the whole, this is a more mature volume than any that has preceded it and yet there are some selections of a simple character inserted for the purpose of interesting those who cannot yet read very heavy literature. From this point on, however, there is little difference in the grade of the volumes. The way in which the literature is studied marks the difference in rank. In fact, when a person can read intelligently and with [32]appreciation such selections as appear in this volume he can read anything that is set before him. There may be some things that will require effort and perhaps explanation, but it is merely a question of vocabulary and parallel information. Besides the stories, there are selections in every department of literature except those that have been passed in the progress of the plan of grading. The legendary heroes, the myths and the stories of classic literature are no longer to be found. In their place are more selections on nature, more of biography and history and the real literature of inspiration. Some of the last group appear in the form of fine lyrics which everyone loves but which are made more attractive and inspiring by proper setting and helpful interpretations.

In this volume biography, which has had its share of attention in every volume, becomes a strong feature, especially in the fine sketches that are given of famous writers. It is a fact that most writers have lived so quietly and in such comparative seclusion that their lives are devoid of the exciting events that make the liveliest appeal to young people, yet every one has done so much for the world and in such varied ways that there are things in their lives that interest and enthrall the mind if only they are properly presented. Our great American writers have been noble men and women and their lives are models worthy of imitation. That is the thing for us to glory in and for our young people to know, for it is not by any means a universal fact that people who wrote inspiring literature have lived inspiring lives. The literature of nature is probably stronger in this volume than in any other and the selections [33]are of the most absorbing kind. It is not expected to give a vast amount of information but to create a love for reading about the great facts in nature and an appreciation of the beauties in the writings of those who love it. This is the last volume in which there is much fiction and it marks the beginnings of the really fine essays which form a large part of the succeeding volume. The history is of a higher type and includes excerpts from the writings of some of our greatest historians.

Volume Eight. The notable feature of the eighth volume is the selection from the plays of Shakespeare. Nothing is more important in the literary education of a child than his proper introduction to the greatest of our great writers, and this has been accomplished in the following manner. The Tempest was selected as the play, because it is simple and lively in its style, appeals to young people and has in it just enough of the marvelous, the beautiful and the terrible to make a decided impression on one who reads it for the first time. There are other plays that are greater but none that may be taught so easily to juvenile readers. In this volume there is a brief article on the reading of Shakespeare; this is followed by the inimitable tale of The Tempest by Charles and Mary Lamb; this by the play, The Tempest, practically as it was written; and this, in turn, by a long series of interesting studies on the drama. The whole is attractive from start to finish and the studies are certain to lead the reader to think.

The drama, then, is the new feature of the ninth volume, but this is also the volume of fine essays, the highest type of prose. The essays are best rep[34]resented by the following titles, all of which may be found in the table of contents of the eighth volume: The Alhambra by Irving, A Bed of Nettles by Allen, Dream Children, by Charles Lamb. These titles, too, show how broad is the field covered by the essay and how delightful a variety there may be in the one style of composition. The departments of Travel and Adventure, Patriotism and History have not been neglected. On the whole it is a serious volume, one which will give the high school student and the older members of the family a plentiful supply of good reading material and a suggestion of study for the evenings of many a winter day.

Volume Nine. Most of the selections in this volume are rather difficult reading for young people but there are helps enough to make the task a pleasant one. The series of essays, begun in Volume Eight is here continued, with The Ascent of the Jungfrau by Tyndall, A Dissertation upon Roast Pig and The Praise of Chimney Sweepers by Charles Lamb, and two representative essays by Sir Francis Bacon. The studies are of an advanced nature and if carried out as intended will be of decided service to high school students. In a few cases the selections are simple, like Robert of Lincoln, for instance, but the studies that accompany it are the more complete. It is hoped by such an arrangement to show how inexhaustible a field for study literature offers and how many things there are to be known about the least of our fine lyrics. The Ode on a Grecian Urn is of a different type. This poem makes no direct appeal to sentiment or to the knowledge of the average young [35]person, yet by study it is seen to be a lyric of exquisite beauty. This volume introduces the writings of several authors who have not before appeared because of their slight appeal to young people. Among them may be mentioned particularly Addison, Boswell, and Bacon. The volume contains also orations that should be studied as models, viz: The Gettysburg Address, The Fate of the Indians and The Call to Arms. Each has a series of studies following it. As a relief from the serious work of the volume there are included an extract from Pickwick Papers; that fascinating story, The Gold-Bug; and the delightful essay, Modestine, an extract from Travels with a Donkey, by Stevenson.

Volume Ten. At the end of this volume are given two tables; the first arranges the leading English writers chronologically, and the second follows a similar plan with the American authors. The index with which the book closes is for the entire series and enables the reader to find the selections readily, if he knows either the title or the name of the author; to find all the selections on any given topic; and to find the studies quickly if they are wanted. The index should prove as useful as any of the devices with which the books are filled.



Pictures and Their Use

I. What Should We Notice in a Picture?

In his excellent little book, How to Judge of a Picture, Van Dyke speaks of the things that constitute a good painting as follows: “First, it is good in tone, or possess a uniformity of tone that is refreshing to the eye; second, it is good in atmosphere—something you doubtless never thought could be expressed with a paint-brush; third, it is well composed, and a landscape requires composition as well as a figure piece; fourth, ‘values’ are well maintained, its qualities good, its poetic feeling excellent.” A second writer has said that beauty is manifested in four ways: by line, by light and shade, by color and by composition. We will consider these characteristics in order.

a. Line. We define the boundaries of objects and limit space by means of lines, and the use of lines constitutes drawing in pictures. These lines so used may be narrow or broad, straight or curved, perfect or broken, and definite or vague and undetermined. Upon their proper use, however, depends the beauty of proportion, the strength of personality and the impressions of truthfulness and reality. There are few rigid lines in nature. What we see is an impression of line, not sharp lines. If you look at a book you may see the sharp lines that [37]bound its edges but if you move it away a little or put it in shadow its boundaries are a little hazy and gradually you lose the impression of the lines that bound it and see only a book. A tree has no sharp outline except when it stands on a horizon and looks like a silhouette against the light. Ordinarily it is a mass of moving light and shade, of color. The leaves are not separately limited by lines and yet we know that leaves are there. If the artist drew each leaf separately and accurately the general effect would be extremely unnatural and instead of a tree we should see only the minute carefulness of a painter who had failed. Perfect lines, then, are rare in good pictures. The artist does not intend to make exact representations of reality but to convey the appearance of reality, and just in so far as he succeeds in conveying that appearance of reality is he successful. This does not mean that good drawing is not necessary in a picture; it merely tells you what constitutes good drawing. If the lines of the human figure are perfect it is almost certain that the figure will be strained, unnatural and without the appearance of life or motion. In a good picture the lines of good drawing are present but they are broken, subdued and lead into one another as do the lines we see in nature.

b. Light and Shade. It is the distribution of light and shadows in a picture that gives it the appearance of reality. A mere outline drawing is flat and has no semblance of life. The paintings of the ancient Egyptians are good examples of pictures that have no light and shade, and we all know how flat, stiff and unreal they appear. In pen and ink, and charcoal drawings, light is in[38]dicated by white and shadow by black, but between the two extremes are introduced various shades and tints of gray that make the variety of tone in shadows. This varying of the strength of shadows is everywhere in nature, though most of us are blind to it. In looking at any object for the purpose of distinguishing the lights and shades upon it we should half close our eyes and look intently at all parts of it. Under an inspection of this sort the building which we thought to be all of even light is seen to be dotted with patches of shadow of different intensity, showing that there are projections where the light from the sun strikes clearly or depressions into which it cannot enter so freely. A picture should give the same effect, and it is this effect, which includes also the distance from the eye as well as the shades from the light source, that we call “values.” If we look at a tree in the way described we see that it is covered with patches of green in light or dark tints and that these color values are the lights and shades of which we are speaking. There will be one point of highest light and an opposing point of deepest shadow, and upon the proper arrangement of these as well as upon the patches of minor importance depends the lifelike appearance of the objects in the picture. Van Dyke says there are three things concerning light and shade that should be looked for in every picture, viz.: that everything, no matter how small it be, has its due proportion of light and shade; that there be one point of compass from which the light comes; that there be a center of light in the picture itself, from which all other lights radiate and decrease until they are lost in the color or shadow.

[39]c. Tone and Color. The first thing that seizes the eye in a painting is color, and the brightest, gayest colors are the ones that are most likely to attract. In fact they are the only colors that the inexperienced may see, for many a person is blind to the subdued tints and shades that are really the most attractive to the trained eye. Good coloring, then, does not mean brightness alone. It is the relationship, the qualities and the suitableness of colors one to another, whether they be in shadow, half-tint or light, that constitute good coloring. Brilliant dresses and inharmonious ornaments strike the refined eye with displeasure, the wearer is “loud” in her dress. Subdued colors relieved here and there with a harmonious dash of brightness show correct taste. So in pictures those that have the low or deep tones, that are rich and harmonious, are the ones that are most appreciated by the experts, and are the ones usually found to have been painted by the masters. Nevertheless if high color combines richness and harmony it shows a fine skill. Tone has to do with the quantity of color used in the painting, and harmony with the qualities of colors. Tone and harmony must combine to make perfect coloring.

d. Composition. If we study any great poem, drama or novel, one that is constructed with a due regard for unity, we find there is one central character or idea and that all other persons, all incidents, scenes and all the little devices that go to give reality to the conception are subordinated to the central person or idea. Unless this is done the creation lacks unity and therefore lacks force, beauty and coherence. The same facts hold true of a pic[40]ture. Every good picture is so arranged and drawn that the important idea is centralized and the parts are unified and harmonized until the whole is single in its effect. This is accomplished by what is called in the language of the painter, “composition.” Important things are recognized and lesser things subordinated to give beauty, clearness and brilliancy to the central idea. While these facts are most obvious in pictures that contain figures, it is no less true in landscapes or other pictures which contain no figures. For instance, a moonlight scene on the Hudson would have as its central idea the beauty of the light on the water and the mountains. To secure this the artist would keep down the lines of the mountains, subordinate the details in the foreground and place as the central idea in the picture the pale shimmering light from the moon whether that body be itself visible or not. Oftentimes in looking at a picture it is difficult to tell wherein its excellent composition lies, but the absence of strength and unity is unerringly felt.

e. Atmosphere and Perspective. We are all familiar with the diminished size of objects seen at a distance and realize that the apparent coming together of two parallel lines, as those of a railway track, is owing to the same cause. We know, too, that this diminishing must be shown in a picture or there is no sense of distance for the spectator. What is not so clear to us usually, is that there is as great a difference in color and the appearance of objects. The diminution of size is linear perspective and the change of color due to distance and atmospheric conditions is commonly called aerial perspective. The tendency among [41]amateurs is to paint a tree green no matter how far away from the spectator it is, while a little observation and study would show the veriest tyro that the green of a distant tree has faded till to the eye it looks a bluish gray. Moreover, outlines have faded and seem to flow into those of other objects, and all combine to give to the picture the true appearance of distance, which is what the artist seeks and the one who looks at the picture has a right to expect.

f. An Application of the Foregoing Principles. What has been said on this subject of judging a picture may be made clearer by an application to one of the pictures in Journeys. Let us take, for instance, the color plate facing page 304, in Volume VI. It is a reproduction in color of the painting in water colors, Bob and Tiny Tim, and will show what is meant by the comments above almost as well as the original painting would have done.

1. Tone and color. Are the colors in the picture bright and gay or are they subdued? What are the brightest colors? Are the colors harmonious or do they “quarrel” as they come to the eye?

Are the shades of blue and purple and lighter colors in the clothing of the various persons glaring or subdued? Do you observe any inharmony which offends the eye, or are you pleased with contrasting colors and tones? The harmony in color is due to the choice of colors that do not contrast too strongly. The artist knew which were complementary colors; that is, which, united, form white. Which colors in the picture do you think [42]show warmth, and which show cold, as suitable to out-of-door scenes? What effect on the rest of the picture does the olive green of the interior of the room have? What effect does the gray green of the open door have?

2. Light and Shade. Is the picture flat and without appearance of life, or do the persons and objects stand out in a life-like manner? Are parts of the picture in shade, so that outlines are lost? The artist has shown the left of the building in the foreground as in shadow; how is this effect produced? Do you observe gradations of tone in the shawl on Tiny Tim, which indicate relative light and shadow? Where is the highest light in the picture, and where the darkest shadow? Are the lights strong as if the sun were shining, or soft and diffused, as is noticeable on a snowy winter’s day?

3. Line. Although you cannot see Bob’s feet in the picture, do you feel that his body is well supported? Is his position natural, as of one carrying a burden on one shoulder? Are the lines of the figures in the foreground clear and distinct? How do they compare with the lines of the figures and building across the street? In both cases the artist gives us all that is necessary to convey the impression of reality. In the use of oils and water colors, sharp lines are avoided. Colors are used so that different surfaces and effects flow into one another; the lines are concealed and we have the very counterfeit of reality. This constitutes good drawing.

4. Composition. What is the central idea of the picture? The artist has brought the principal figures into the immediate foreground; do the ar[43]rangement of color, contrasts of tone values, and the smaller figures in the background give life and significance to the figures of Bob and Tiny Tim? Would the effectiveness of the picture be greater or less if the artist had failed to show the snowy outdoor scene, with its holiday spirit? Do you recall the incident in the story portrayed by the picture? Are the characteristics of Bob and Tiny Tim, as described by Dickens, faithfully followed by the artist? Do their faces show the spirit of Christmas? If you had not read the story, would you not feel a glow of sympathy for the little boy, and a wish that you could join in making a happy holiday for him? Has not the artist succeeded in bringing the scene described by the author more vividly and beautifully to us?

5. Atmosphere and Perspective. How far from the figures of Bob and the little boy are the people on the sidewalk? How does the artist express the idea of relative distance? Are there any lines in the picture which help us to determine distance? If the eye follows the lines of the cross pieces on the door, will they not come together if extended far enough to the left? Of course the buildings across the street are not very far away, but their outlines are a little hazy. Does this haziness help to give the effect of distance? Do you think the door was really a gray-green? Has the artist used this tone to show the effect of the outdoor light on a gray, or possibly a white door? The building across the street, at the left, has yellow and red and purple tones; do you think these were the actual colors? If not, why has the artist selected these particular shades? Do parts of buildings or other objects in [44]shadow take on different shades from parts in bright lights? What colors appear most frequently in the picture? Has the artist succeeded in giving the picture the atmosphere of Dickens’s story?

II. Pictures and Their Value in Literature

Pictures are in themselves a language—the oldest as well as the most universal tongue of the world. The primitive man of all races resorted to a picture-writing in his first efforts to transcribe his thoughts and emotions into a more lasting form than the oral expression. Our earliest authentic history of the customs, beliefs and life of the ancient Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Chinese and even our own American Indians comes to us from the pictured records they left on stone, wood or clay.

In the present age, what child does not yield to the magic rhythm and the compelling lilt of the old nursery rhymes! With what added joy does he discover that there are pictures for these treasured jingles! And long before the printed words can be recognized he enters the alluring world of books by “reading” the illustrations. With glowing eyes on the picture he repeats the rhyme he had learned from its many demanded repetitions.

By giving him simple, clear, realistic conceptions through pictures, we influence the child to read eagerly the text, to discover the whole story, of which such a fascinating hint is given in the portion illustrated. These first pictures must satisfy the child’s love of action and movement, and portray [45]only the most dramatic scenes, the big important facts with all superfluous happenings omitted.

In fables, where the primary purpose is to convey an abstract truth, a something bigger and broader than the mere interesting events described, the illustrations add much to the meaning and purpose of the text. Here the artist shows not only the physical attributes of the real animal, but in a subtle way goes a step further and through the features or the attitude suggests the characteristics attributed in the fable. Thus unconsciously the little reader gets from the picture an increased conception of the sly, clever, crafty ways of the fox or the slow, plodding, steadfast patience of the tortoise.

As literature develops from the simple nursery rhyme and the brief, abrupt fable to the fairy tale with its illusive beauty, so the pictures should advance in a parallel and a closely related manner. The illustrations now take on a mysterious, unreal, esthetic quality, in harmony with the world of fairy lore, and train the imagination as much as the direct words of the author. The child realizes that the forest scenes which furnish the background for so many of his favorite fairy tales have a subtle beauty which has never been seen by him. Gradually through such pictures he is led to seek an ideal beauty in the real world. He also becomes able not only to appreciate the poetic rendering of this expression of the ideal but is capable of forming more varied mental images of things about which he reads; to put more of his own individuality, his own conceptions, into his mental picture.

The passing ages have so completely revolution[46]ized the customs and ways of life that the child of today finds comparatively little in his familiar surroundings which he can link with the world of history and legend. Literature should be supplemented by pictures to bridge this chasm and to bring legendary and historical heroes into the child’s own world and enable him to follow their thoughts, interpret their emotions and appreciate their actions.

The child who sees a picture of court life where the cavalier is attired in richly colored velvet, silk, lace, and jewels, and surrounded by the luxuries of the court, and compares it with another of the same period which portrays a Puritan in his somber-hued, severe suit, stiff linen collar and cuffs, broad-brimmed, plain hat and not a single jewel or ornament used for mere decorative or esthetic value, realizes the vast difference in the types and character of the two men. He is furnished with an appropriate mental atmosphere in which to follow their history and in which to comprehend the inevitable clash that came between the Cavaliers and the Roundheads. He will then eagerly and sympathetically follow the Pilgrims in their lonely stay in Holland and in their brave struggle in the new country. Here, again, the various pictures portray a land and climate as vigorous, uncompromising and stern as the characters of the Pilgrims themselves. Then the great forests, the felling of the trees, the erection of the log houses and forts, the meeting of Puritans with the neighboring Indians, with their curious costumes, homes, customs and occupations, introduce other phases of life that put the child in a receptive mood for the [47]reading of colonial history, Indian legends and stories of pioneer life.

Familiarity with the author’s portrait, with pictures of his home or his favorite scenes, brings a something of the writer’s personality to the child. He feels the story is told more directly to him. A sympathetic bond is established that leads him to a more intimate and a more intelligent acquaintance with the author’s emotions, thoughts, style and purposes as expressed in his works. He reads Thoreau’s Journal, and notes uncomprehendingly, the potent sway of nature over the heart and life of the man. It requires the keen vision and the genius of the artist to give him a realization of the mesmeric influence nature frequently exerts.

If this author’s portrait is the work of a great artist it will perform a double service. For example, the reproduction of the Aesop of Velasquez not only gives the child an idea of the appearance of that creator of the wonderful fables, but it also introduces the great Spanish artist who has depicted marvelous interpretations of life on canvas and has so wonderfully influenced the style and method of the work of many of the artists who succeeded him.

The world of literature is filled with poems and stories which emphasize abstract truths, teach needed lessons or give universal principles of beauty. Many of these have been the subject and the inspiration of pictures. And, in the re-telling of the poem or story with brush or pen, the artists have added a something of their own individuality and character which serves not only to emphasize and perpetuate themselves through their pictured [48]translation of these noble thoughts, but also makes the principles inculcated by the author become a part of the child’s moral creed.

All have long realized the value of pictures in connection with stories involving scientific knowledge, but the co-operation of the artist with the author in presenting literature to children is of equal importance. The picture arrests the interest of the child and wins his love for books long before he can read; it arouses his desire to master the meaning of the printed forms, that he may discover the story for himself; it gives him facts regarding unfamiliar things without which knowledge the printed symbol means little; it leads him to the discovery of unseen beauties in his environment; it develops his imagination; it arouses his creative faculties; it aids him to grasp the deepest, highest meaning of the world’s literature; it opens up the undreamed beauties of the vast world of art; it interprets abstract thoughts until they become a part of his character, and CHARACTER is the true end of all READING and of all EDUCATION.

III. On the Use of the Pictures in “Journeys”

Children love pictures, and they love to make them. We of riper years are inclined to forget how very strong was our pictorial instinct when we were young. A little girl may make on a sheet of paper a few irregular lines not very well connected, wholly meaningless to us, and see in them very plainly every lineament of her favorite doll. She sees no lines, no paper, only her own precious doll.[49] A little later she will draw pictures to illustrate a story, and while we may see nothing in her work, she sees enough to make the story more real, and is in this way preparing herself to read more intelligently and with greater appreciation as she grows older. We should not laugh at these crude drawings, nor try to make them better. They express her ideas in her way, and that is enough. On the other hand, we should encourage her to try other pictures for other stories till she learns herself to distrust her drawings, or finds a way to express herself so that others may understand what she thinks and feels.

Pictures mean something, always. In the first place they show to him who can read them what some one else has thought and felt. If they are meant to illustrate something in literature, they may fail because the artist has not caught the spirit of what he is trying to depict, or because he lacks in execution. On our side, they may fail because we cannot interpret his work, either from lack of understanding or from the dullness of our sensibilities. Again, we may object to the artist’s interpretation of the literature, and his pictures may merely excite our opposition. Usually, however, we see through the artist’s eyes from a new point of view, so that, even if we do not altogether approve what we see, we are led to question and find for ourselves something new, pleasing and helpful.

Children are harsh critics, not only of pictures but of literature itself, and the critical spirit is a good one to cultivate, if it is not allowed to fall into captious fault-finding. On the whole, however, it is far better to point out the good things [50]in a picture than to call attention to poor execution or poor conception. Leave criticism generally to those infrequent cases in which the artist has actually blundered because he has not read the selection closely or accurately, or has been careless in the things he ought to know. For instance, it would be absurd to show King Arthur in a modern dress suit, or to put fire-arms in the hands of the Indians who met Columbus for the first time. But such faults occur infrequently. Usually the pictures are careful studies, and give many a hint on costuming, manners and customs, as well as on the proper surroundings of the characters.

Some selections are so universal in their nature, so freely applicable to all times and places, that the artist may be allowed to delineate any people, anywhere, at any time. Nursery rhymes, so often alluded to, lend themselves to an endless variety of imaginary people and places. The old woman might be living still in her shoe and whipping her children soundly, in a twentieth-century wrapper, or clothed in skins she might send them supperless to bed in pre-historic ages. Whether Jack and Jill wore wooden shoes or patent-leather pumps we shall never really know; perhaps their little feet were encased in moccasins, or they may have been bare and ornamented with rings: what we do know is that Jack broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after.

So we will give the artists all the latitude they wish, as long as they keep the facts straight, and we will try to help the children to see what the artist saw, and so get clearer visions for themselves.

The pictures in these books are from many artists, [51]all of whom have given an interpretation of the selection they were working upon, and have given it in such a way as to be helpful and inspiring to their youthful readers. Every time the artists have tried to get a child’s view of things and to draw so that a child will like their work. Their enthusiasm has been boundless, and their execution remarkably good. Some of their pictures are gay, some are grave, a few sad; some are highly imaginative and others very realistic. Not a few are wonderfully beautiful. Among so many designs, so many kinds, everyone will find something to admire.

Among the many, let us take a few for a brief study to show that they may be used with children to make literature clear, to give interest and keener appreciation.

The very first picture in Volume One (sub-title, Nursery Rhymes, page 1) is frankly intended as an introduction to the rhymes which follow, and is also a good illustration of many of the principles stated in this chapter.

The little boy is fond of his playthings and especially of his toy cat, but you see he is giving his chief thought just now to the rhymes and jingles which his mother is repeating, while the baby is absorbed and happy in looking at the pictures. Do you see the sewing-basket with the knitting which the mother has laid aside while she devotes an hour to play? Do the other books on the table suggest that she sets a value on good reading as an important element in the training of children even as young as these in the picture? The idea is carried out further in the decorations of the draperies around the window. You see there in simple out[52]line characters which appear in fuller detail with the rhymes which follow in this volume. The color tones are subdued and restful, not loud and glaring, but they are so happily blended, or contrasted, that both persons and objects are clear and distinct. It tells without words the story of happy childhood.

Jack and the Beanstalk (Volume One, page 159) is a picture which will repay study. A child’s imagination reaches out more or less vaguely, though often to his satisfaction, for a visualization of the exaggerations of nature which appear in almost all fables and fairy tales. Our artist has given this subject a realistic touch, which makes Jack’s adventure seem almost possible.

Does the beanstalk look natural? Does it look like the beanstalk which grows in your garden? Are the bean pods like those you have seen? Is the color natural? Does the stalk look strong enough to bear Jack’s weight? How high up do you think he must go to reach the giant’s home? How is the impression of height given? Do you see the landscape stretching away in the distance? Do the fields and the stream look far away? Do you think Jack became frightened or dizzy as he went on—up and up? Doesn’t the picture help you to understand his courage and determination to carry out his purpose?

Alfred Tennyson      Robert Browning
William Shakespeare
Sir Walter Scott      William Wordsworth
Geoffrey Chaucer      Joseph Addison

Nurse helps me when I embark (Volume One page 127) is a fine picture for study. Ask questions like the following: What toys do you see in the picture? Do boys like toys which suggest adventure? Do you think he likes his small boat? Why? Did it suggest to his mind that he would call his bed a boat, and sail away in it to dreamland? Is [53]he saying his prayer? Will the small candle give light enough? Why does it smoke? What kind of a bed is it? What is the canopy over the bed made of? Interesting questions may be asked about the poem: What is a prudent sailor? What do prudent sailors have to take on board? What is a pier? What is the pier beside which the boy finds his vessel fast?

On page 262 of Volume One is printed Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, Eugene Field’s musical lyric for little ones. The attractive picture may be looked at before the poem is read. Questions help the children more than explanations and comments, particularly where they are logically asked. The natural order is to ask about the prominent things first, and then about minor details, thus: How many children are there? Where are they? What does their boat look like? What is the child nearest the toe of the shoes doing? Where are the other two standing? What have they in their hands? What are they doing with the net? Are they catching any fish? Where is the moon? What can you see in the moon? Is the face laughing? Now let us read the poem, and when we have done so, let us see what lines in particular the artist was thinking about. Who are the three children? “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.” What did they do? “Sailed off in a wooden shoe ... into a sea of dew.” What did the moon say? “‘Where are you going and what do you wish?’” What did the children answer? “‘We have come to fish for the herring fish.’” What kind of nets have they? “Nets of silver and gold.” What did the old moon do? “The old moon laughed and sang a song.” What were the herring [54]fish? “The herring fish were the little stars.” How long did they fish? “All night long their nets they threw.” Where did they throw their nets? “To the stars in the twinkling foam.” * * * * Were there really three little children? No. How many were there? Only one. Who, then, were Wynken and Blynken? The little child’s eyes. And who was Nod? His head. What was the wooden shoe that sailed the skies? Only a trundle-bed. What then was all this story about fishing from a wooden shoe for herring fish with nets of silver and gold? Only a wee one’s dream. How can you see the “wonderful sights that be”? By shutting our eyes while mother sings. Don’t you suppose the artist shut her eyes when she thought of the picture, and perhaps dreamed of the time when she lay in her little bed and her mother sang of the wonderful sights that be? Wasn’t that just why she made such a beautiful picture, and thought even of putting wings to the shoe, so it could sail through the sky? After such a talk as that with a little child, do you not think, dear parent, that he would come nearer to you, and while you read the poem softly and smoothly to him he would learn to like its music, and through its refining influence learn to love you a little better? When he has grown to manhood, do you not think there will come times when his heart will be touched, when he will long for the loving arms around him and the sweet mother voice to sing once more of the wonderful sights that be? There are holier things to be done for children than to feed and clothe them.

In Volume Two, on page 121 may be found the picture Shuffle-Shoon and Amber Locks. How [55]many persons are shown in the picture? How is the old man dressed? In what is he sitting? How is the boy dressed? Where is he sitting? Can you sit comfortably that way? What does he hold in his left hand? What is the little boy doing? How many blocks are there in his building? How many blocks are on the floor? What is the old man placing on top of the blocks? What is on the wall back of the chair? Of what is the curtain made? Which is Shuffle-Shoon? Why is he called Shuffle-Shoon? Why is the boy called Amber-Locks? What is the color of amber? Do you think the old man has a kind face? How old do you suppose he is? How old is Amber-Locks? Do you like his face?

From Volume Two, page 264, Tom and The Dragon Fly: What is the first thing you notice when you look at this picture? What is the second thing? Where is Tom standing? Where is the dragon-fly? How many wings has it? How many legs can you see on the dragon-fly? Does Tom’s hair look as though he had just come from the water? What is he looking at? Does he seem to be afraid, or happy? Can you tell where the surface of the water is? Is any part of Tom in the water? Can you see sky or clouds in the picture? Does any land show?

From Volume Two, page 69, The Swallow and the Stork Came: After a picture has been examined, as has been explained, it is sometimes a good thing to study the way in which the artist has produced his effects. The effects in this picture are remarkably fine and Mr. Rudeen has accomplished his purposes very skilfully. What effect is [56]given by the mass of white in the center of the picture? Does it help to give emphasis to the principal figures? Does the artist use his colors in proper tones and shadings? Does he succeed in making the birds seem really to fly? Do you see the face in the fir tree? How are the eyes indicated? Are the lines and patches that make the face any different from those that indicate other leaves on the tree? Why then does it look like a face? Does the face have an expression of surprise? If the branches and leaves on the left side of the tree were curved downward instead of upward, would the expression be changed? Is there any indication of feathers on the swallows? How are feathers indicated on the stork? The artist drew the original of this picture with pen and black ink. The engraver made one plate for this drawing in black, then another plate for those portions of the picture which have any shade or tone of orange, and still another for the blue tones. The green is produced by printing from the orange and the blue inks over the same surface. Facing page 82, Volume Two is the portrait of Hans Christian Andersen. This was taken from a photograph, and under a microscope it can be seen that the ink is put on in fine dots. The border was drawn with pen and ink. The original photograph of Andersen was photographed through a screen and reduced to the size you see it. The pictures in the book are printed from the metal plates which put the ink on the paper in little dots. These prints are called halftones: the pen and ink drawings in the texts are called zinc etchings. The original of the colored frontispiece of the same volume was a water-color [57]painting by Mr. Henderson. This was reduced in size by photography and four plates were made, one showing all the black, and another all the red, a third all the blue and a fourth all the yellow in the original. Then the paper was run through the press four times, each time with the color of ink for which each plate was etched. By printing one color over another this way, the different shades were made. No better way is known for reproducing colored pictures. The border was drawn with pen and ink. The title page was drawn with pen and ink and a zinc etching made by photographic process, from which an electrotype plate was made. The end sheets are decorated by a zinc etching reduced from a large drawing made by Mr. Mitchell. The title and ornaments on the back of the books are made from strong brass dies that were engraved from drawings made by special artists. Gold leaf is laid over the section to be lettered and the dies are pressed upon it with such force as to fasten the gold upon the cover. Then the parts of the gold leaf that have not been pressed into the cover are brushed away and the design is perfect.

To learn what a picture really contains, to appreciate its purpose and merit, we should study it systematically. The following topics suggest themselves:

  1. 1. The general view.
  2. 2. The details.
  3. 3. The center of interest.
  4. 4. The purpose.
  5. 5. The artists’ conception and its appropriateness.
  6. 6. Elements of beauty.

[58]As in other cases, the best way to explain a method is to apply it. Accordingly, let us study by this method the picture Down Tumbled Wheelbarrow, on page 46 of Volume One.

1. The general view. Here is a picture of a man wheeling his wife through a London street, and the breaking down of his wheelbarrow.

2. The details. The man, and his wife sitting in the wheelbarrow; the cobbled street, the sidewalk, the houses on one side of the street, the arch-way with the house above it, and the street showing through the arch-way; the man in the distance. A shop in the middle ground, with fruit and vegetables displayed outside the window. The man with the wheelbarrow is dressed in the fashion of the past, with tall hat, blue cut-a-way long-tailed coat, black breeches and blue stockings, white vest and white gloves. His neckerchief and shoes are orange color. His wife is also fashionably gowned. Her bonnet has blue and orange feathers, she has an embroidered shawl of orange color, with a blue overdress and a gray skirt; her blue parasol is in the air, dropped in the shock of the breaking of the wheelbarrow. Her arms are extended in effort to save herself. The wheel is bent under the barrow.

3. The center of interest. The center of interest of most pictures is found near the center of the picture. It is plainly so in this picture; the man with the wheelbarrow, and his bride engage our attention, while secondarily we note the rough cobbled pavement and the narrow street.

4. The purpose. The artist’s intention is to show the dramatic moment when the wheelbarrow broke, and the bride got the fall.

[59]5. The artist’s conception and its appropriateness. In choosing the line “Down Tumbled Wheelbarrow,” the artist selected the moment which was the climax of the adventure, and in so doing he shows the shock of surprise and alarm in the attitude and expression of both bride and groom as contrasted with their very fine holiday costumes, which show how much care they had given to their preparation for their wedding journey. The artist has not overlooked the opportunity to show us a typical London street of the olden time, narrow and paved with cobble stones. The arch-way gives us the assurance that the street was very narrow, so that the wheelbarrow had to go over the rough cobbles. The conception seems appropriate and true to the story in the simple rhyme.

6. Elements of beauty. There are two main elements in this picture, which contribute to the pleasure it gives us, aside from the story it tells. In the composition of the picture, the artist has placed the main figures in the foreground and drawn them in full detail. Note the contrast of the masses of black with the open spaces of white and light shadings. The walls of the houses are indicated by few lines which are sufficient but which do not draw the eye from the center. The rough street is skillfully indicated by a few deftly drawn round cobbles, leaving the larger white space to give air and light to the central figures. The treatment of color is the second element of beauty to be noticed. Not all the picture is colored; in this class of illustration, the white spaces have the effect of giving background to the colors, and bringing out their best values.

[60]Another profitable study can be made on the full-page illustration that appears on page 159, in Volume Five. Questions best induce interest in a picture, but the questions should be asked systematically. The following is a model on the picture named above, Geraint hears Enid singing.

1. General view. How many men are in the picture? What do they appear to be doing? What is the building at the right?

2. Details. Who is the man on horse-back? How is he dressed? What is hanging from a chain on his breast? What is he looking at? What is the expression on his face? What is the color of his horse? Have you ever seen a bridle and a harness like these in the picture? Do you think the man loved his horse and took good care of him? Who is the man standing beside the horse? How would you describe his garments? What has he in his right hand? What is its use, and what does it signify? What does the gesture with his left hand indicate? What do you think of the building on the right? Is it new or old? What seems to be growing on the walls? What does this mean? What seems to be growing up between the stones of the pavement?

3. The center of interest. Are the men talking together? If so, why are they not looking at each other? Does the attitude and expression of the man on the horse suggest an interesting topic? (Tell the story in part, and read the lines covering this episode, page 156. Is the center of interest now made clear?)

4. Purpose. What did the artist mean to do by means of this picture? Did he select an important and interesting event in the story?

[61]5. Conception and appropriateness. Has the artist followed the text truthfully in his conception? Do you think there is a dramatic interest in this scene, which made it appropriate for illustration? Would it have been as effective without the old man in the picture? Why? Does the man on the horse show his character in his bearing? Has the artist succeeded in portraying the old man in the character described in the text? Does the picture please you? Do you think it is a success?

6. Elements of beauty. Do you like the soft, even tones of the picture, the heavy touches of the pen in the main figures and the light touches in the background? Is the day bright or gloomy? Is the effect of light on the wall, balcony and doorway pleasing? From what direction does the light come? How does the artist indicate surfaces in shadow? Does the outline of the castle through the arch add interest and beauty to the picture?

After the children have been taught to observe properly, you have in the pictures numberless interesting subjects for language exercises. A good, clear-cut description of a picture is worth reading, and to write one means thought and study. The exercise may be varied by asking the child to describe the picture before he has any knowledge of the subject and then asking him to call his imagination into play and write a story to fit the picture. Later you may read him the story the artist meant to illustrate.

Besides the color plates and halftones which are found in their proper places in the several volumes, the following pen and ink drawings are good [62]examples of the kind of pictures that best repay study:

Volume I, page  22.
Volume I, page  30.
Volume I, page  35.
Volume I, page  67.
Volume I, page 159.
Volume I, page 203.
Volume I, page 375.
Volume I, page 391.
Volume II, page 111.
Volume II, page 228.
Volume II, page 384.
Volume III, page 141.
Volume III, page 324.
Volume IV, page 452.
Volume V, page  97.
Volume V, page 253.
Volume VI, page 145.
Volume VI, page 361.
Volume VII, page 281.
Volume VII, page 439.
Volume VIII, page 160.
Volume VIII, page 321.
Volume IX, page 118.
Volume IX, page 248.



Telling Stories

Before a child can read he develops a passion for stories, and nothing delights him more than an interesting tale from the loving lips of father or mother. In good kindergartens and primary schools, there are teachers who tell stories to the little ones and do it well, but parents will not wish to delegate it entirely to teachers, for story-telling is the best way of getting at the hearts of children and planting those germs which later grow into refined taste in reading as well as ripen into real character. On the other hand, the teachers may neglect to tell stories to their pupils or are not skilled either in selection or in manner of telling. Parents who are interested in the welfare of their small boys and girls will wish to know what is being done and how it is accomplished, but may have little idea of the material it is wise to use or where to find good subjects for their tales.

Proper selection is highly important, for taste and appetite for certain kinds of literature may be created long before the child can read for himself. Strong-minded, courageous little boys will love to hear of giants and ogres, and will revel in adventures that may terrify their more delicate sisters. George hates the fierce foes that Jack the Giant-Killer meets, and dreams of the time when he can [64]overpower and slay his own ogres. Alice listens tremblingly, and when she goes to her little bed at night lies in fear and trembling, while hideous faces leer at her from out the shadowed recesses. George never wearies of our oldest poem, Beowulf, while Alice wants only Cinderella, or at most Bluebeard. It is nothing less than cruelty to fill the imaginations of sensitive children with deeds of violence and tales of sadness and woe. Yet it is no less true that some young folks are the better for their giants, their knights and their battles. On the whole, it is wiser to keep the giants, the ogres and the suffering people in the background, or to dwell upon them only when there seems a demand for them; later, lead the young imaginations into the realms of history and real life where giants are very real and ogres yet remain to be subdued. Do not tell sad or exciting stories in the evening. Keep the quiet, peaceful things for bed-time stories.

Here, then, is the great opportunity for the parent. The teacher has thirty or more children of as many different temperaments from homes as varied in culture as the children are different in appearance, and to them she must tell her story as to one. The parent has but his own little flock, whom he has known every day of their lives, and whose souls are as transparent as glass to his watchful and sympathetic eye. How certain may he feel in his selection of material, how powerful in his recital!

Perhaps, however, he may find the pleasant task an unaccustomed one, may have forgotten what he knew as a boy, and may not know where to turn for material. Here these books come to his assistance with material for every taste and suited to [65]every occasion. In the beginning of the first volume are the nursery rhymes which children have enjoyed for ages, which are read, or far better told, to infants who rejoice in the pictures. Between the nursery rhymes and the literature that follows is quite a gap, intentionally left by the editor. There are no pretty little tales in words of one syllable for beginners to read, but there are good fables and stories to be told while the children are learning to read, and later, to be read by the young people themselves. No parent can go astray in selection if he knows his own children.

Do not be afraid to tell the story—reading it aloud will not be half so effective. Select a fable or a short story first. Read it carefully, and then shut the book and think about it. Be sure you have the plot in your mind, make the hero and the other characters seem very real to yourself, picture the scenes vividly in your mind’s eye, and you are ready to begin.

1. Use Your Own Words. Simple words, graphic, commonplace words, are the best. The older children will be just as much entertained, and the younger ones can understand better. On the other hand, do not talk down to their level; they will resent the idea and laugh at you. Keep on their level. That means that you must be sure you know your audience before you begin to talk.

2. Talk Naturally. Forget that you are telling a story for the effect it will produce. Forget yourself. Tell the story as you would tell them an incident you have just seen.

3. Look Your Children in the Eyes. Find the responsive eyes and get your inspiration from [66]them; seek out the dull and uninterested eyes and talk to them till they brighten up and respond to your enthusiasm. Let every child know that many times you have looked him square in the face and make everyone feel you are talking straight at him.

4. Supply Many Details. Children love them; their lives are made up of little things. Don’t think you are ignoring the real story by your additions. The details you give are probably the very ones the author of the original story intended you to supply from your own imagination as you read. Under this head comes the giving of names to characters; descriptions of clothes, of facts, of feelings; the addition of new incidents.

The recital of a bare plot is not an interesting story. For instance: “A boy on his way to school found a yellowbird’s nest with four little birds in it,” is the recitation of a bare plot. Is it interesting? Would the story appeal to children? What do you think of the form following?

“John told me an interesting story this morning. As he was coming to school today he saw a little yellowbird fly from the bushes by the big tree at the corner of Mr. Brown’s yard. He parted the leaves and looked into the bush, but for quite a while he could see nothing. At last, however, he spied a pretty little nest in the fork of a limb and so low that he could look right down into it. John must have made some noise, because when he looked in he saw four little, wide-open red mouths, and that was about all. Of course, there were little half-naked bodies under the gaping mouths, but he couldn’t see them, for each little bird was shaking his head about, stretching it up higher and higher [67]and opening his mouth wider and wider. You see, to each little bird a rustling sound meant that the mother bird had come back with a bit of tasty breakfast in her mouth. When the wee babies found that they had made a mistake they closed their mouths, drew down their heads and packed themselves away so tightly that I’m sure they can’t be cold while their mother is away.”

5. Be Intimate and Personal with Your Audience. Express your opinion now and then as your own; interrupt the story occasionally (not often enough to spoil the interest) by asking for the ideas of the children. Let them guess, sometimes, at the outcome of the story. Make them feel that they are an important part of the exercise. Sometimes they will help you wonderfully.

6. Use Direct Discourse Wherever Possible. Make your characters speak in their own words. Say, “John said, ‘I saw the nest,’” rather than, “John said that he saw the nest.”

7. Keep the Climax Out of Sight as Long as Possible. Curiosity is a large factor in interest, and if the children know “how the story is coming out” you are liable to lose their attention. However, you will find that some stories will prove such favorites to young children that they will call for the tales again and again. Occasionally small children are very particular about the way in which a story is repeated—there must be no deviations from the way in which it was first told. You may congratulate yourself on having told the story well, if the children ask for its repetition; and if they criticise your second telling you may know you did very well in your first attempt.

[68]8. Be Enthusiastic; Be Dramatic. Throw yourself into the tale; see what you are describing; feel what your characters feel, and enjoy the story itself. Speak distinctly; use clear, sympathetic tones; speak slowly or rapidly as the action demands, and use pauses effectively. Don’t be in a hurry. See that your face expresses your feelings, that your attitudes are easy and your gestures appropriate and graceful. Act your part.

9. Do not Preach. Tell the story so the moral, if there is any, may be seen and felt without your striving to point it out.

10. Talk the Story Over Freely with Your Children. Try to get their ideas, rather than to give your own. You can tell whether you have succeeded and what your faults in narration have been.

The Fairies of the Caldon-Low

The difference between poetry and prose may be shown in rather a startling manner with such a selection as The Fairies of the Caldon-Low (Volume II, page 395). Children like Mary Howitt’s little narrative, but what does it really say? Let us put it in plain prose and see!

“Where have you been, Mary?”

“I’ve been to the top of Caldon-Low to see the midsummer night.”

“What did you see?”

“I saw the sunshine come down and the winds blow.”

“What did you hear?[69]

“I heard the water-drops made and the ears of corn fill.”

“Tell me everything, Mary, for you must have seen the fairies.”

“Then take me on your knee, mother, and listen. Last night a hundred fairies danced on lively feet to the merry music of nine harpers, but the merriest thing was the sound of the fairy talk.”

“What did you hear them say?”

“I’ll tell you, but let me do it in my own way. Some rolled water down the hill and said, ‘this will turn the poor old miller’s wheel, and a busy man he will be by morning. There has been no rain since the first of May, and how the jolly old miller will laugh till the tears fill his eyes when he sees the water rise in the milldam.’ And some seized the winds and put horns to their mouths and blew sharply. ‘And there!’ said they shrilly, ‘the merry winds go from every horn to clear the damp mildew from the blind old widow’s corn. Though she has been blind for a long time she’ll be merry enough when the corn stands up stiff and strong without any mildew!’ Then some brought flax seed and flung it down, saying, ‘by sunrise this will be growing in the weaver’s field, and how the poor lame fellow will laugh when he sees his vacant field filled with blue flax flowers in a single day.’ Then a brownie with a long beard spoke, ‘I have spun all the tow and I want more. I have spun a linen sheet for Mary’s bed and an apron for her mother.’ I couldn’t help but laugh out loud, and then I was alone. On the top of Caldon-Low, the mists were cold and gray and I could see nothing but mossy stones lying about me. But as I came down I [70]heard the jolly miller laughing and his wheel going merrily. I peeped into the widow’s cornfield and, sure enough, the golden corn was free from mildew, and at the gate of the croft stood the weaver, whose eye told the good news about his flax field. Now that’s all I heard and all I saw, so please make my bed, mother, for I’m as tired as I can be.”

Rather a pretty story, even in plain prose, is it not? It is re-written just about as it would be told to a little child for the first time, a child interested in the good fairies who do good things for the poor and the suffering. Then a little later, when the child reads for himself he can see how much better Mary Howitt tells the story in verse. Nevertheless, some children will prefer it in prose and often may ask to have other poems “told in prose.” There is no reason for refusing. Story first, poem afterward, is a good rule to follow if you want to create a taste for poetry. Sometimes just a remark, “Let us see how this sounds in poetry,” will create enough interest to enable the parent to begin reading aloud to an attentive audience. Most children will not learn to like poetry if left to their own devices. It must be read aloud to them and its beauties pointed out occasionally to create a love for so artificial a thing as metrical composition.

Parents will find in the General Index at the end of this volume not only reference to the contents of Journeys by title and author, but also a classification of subject matter, so that it will be easy to find different examples of poetry,—lyric, ballad, sonnet,—and of prose,—fiction, adventure, history, etc., offering a wide range of selection for story-telling purposes.


Little Giffin of Tennessee

This little narrative poem (Volume IV, page 461), is intensely dramatic. Too abrupt in style for easy reading and filled with words the children may not understand, it is not well adapted to the very young. But there’s a story in it of courage and deep patriotism that will be an inspiration to every child who can hear it. What better subject can a parent find for his son’s encouragement than a tale told in his own words or read in the following?

Little Giffin of Tennessee was only a boy, only a boy of sixteen, not bigger nor stronger than Charlie, Thomas or George Jones whom you see going by to school every day. Yet he wasn’t running along bareheaded carrying a bat or swinging his books by a strap. Little Giffin was a poor wounded soldier boy who had been already in eighteen battles; more than one, you see, for every year of his short life.

In the last terrible charge, a grape shot had struck him in the leg and arm and torn the flesh from his broken bones. Over him his comrades swept up to the face of the enemy’s guns, and little Giffin was left to fight his battle with cold, and rain and hunger. All night long he lay moaning on the ground, and it was late in the forenoon of the next day when he was found and taken to the hospital.

There they laid his mangled body among the hundreds of others who had met with a fate as hard as his own. It was hours before the surgeons could [72]come to him, and then so hurried were they by other calls upon them that only a hasty dressing of his poisoned wound was possible.

Some kindly visitors found him there, his fair young face flushed with the deadly fever, and begged the surgeons to do something for him.

“We can do nothing,” they said. “Our hands are full. His case is hopeless. We must help where it will do some good.”

“But may we take him with us? May we see what we can do for him? Perhaps we can find a doctor who can cure him.”

“Take him and welcome,” the surgeon replied. “But you can find no doctor who can save the dead. Little Giffin can never get well.”

But the good people lifted the broken form and carried it out from the hospital’s deadly air, into the golden sunshine and away to a clean little cot in a humble home where a good doctor treated him and a kind motherly nurse hung over him and soothed his feverish brain for many a weary hour. For days it seemed that every breath would be his last and for months his sufferings wrung the hearts of his friends.

But at last there came a day when he could sit up a little, and then for weeks he hobbled about, an almost helpless cripple with a rude crutch for his only support.

But his new friends had known that he would get well, for even during the days of burning fever and the weeks of weary recovery his heart had been filled with courage and his steel blue eye had glinted with a dauntless spirit that would not die.

The crippled right arm and mangled fingers [73]were slow in healing and nearly useless when the wounds were closed and only ugly scars remained. In spite of all, though, he learned again to write, and you can imagine that the first letter, in its scraggly writing, began, “My Dearest Mother,” and the next, “Dear Captain.”

Mother’s answer came first and brought warmth and love to the heart of the brave little cripple who dreamed now only of home—home, which he had not dared hope to see again. But then the Captain’s letter came:

“Dear Giffin:

“Your letter reached me tonight. God bless you, my boy. I thought you were gone with the others. Of the eighty-five who made that fatal charge only you and I are now alive. They say that Johnston is hard pressed and needs every man——”

Little Giffin never finished reading the letter. He was up and ready to start away to the front, to his Captain and to Johnston.

“Johnston needs every man,” he said, as the first tears he had shed came to his brave blue eyes. “He needs every man and I’ll be some help. I’ll write to you, if I’m spared. Good bye. God bless you, kindest of friends.”

He was gone. Long his friends waited for word from Giffin, little Giffin of Tennessee. But there came only the news of a terrible battle with Johnston, where indeed every man was needed.

And little Giffin? Little Giffin never wrote.

But I’d rather have one loyal Giffin, in a nameless grave on a southern battle field, than all the cowardly men who would fawn around me if I were a king.

[74]Now I’ll read you a little poem which tells better than I can the story of brave little Giffin of Tennessee.

The Ballad of Agincourt

By telling the story and giving some explanation of difficult terms, we are often able to create an interest in poems that would otherwise remain unread. The best of old English ballads are so full of martial spirit that they may well prove an inspiration to many a boy in these days when war has so recently rent the whole world and proved the courage of our own young men. Back of the action that brought bloodshed and suffering is a spirit of loyalty, a genuine patriotism that is as much needed now as when it animated the souls of the British soldiery in those days of long ago. It is part of our inheritance, and may not be forgotten. It is to be hoped that we may never need it again amid the smoke and carnage of the battlefield, or in the silent horror of the trenches, but we have each for himself conflicts to wage with foes more insidious than the armed forces of rival nations, and we can win them only by the same spirit of devotion that brought victory at Agincourt. The Ballad of Agincourt (Volume V, page 95), is followed by notes that make clear its historical setting, but a few comments may help to a better appreciation of the inspirational value of the selection.

It is natural that in verses written about three hundred years ago there should be found some crudities in style, some lapses in syntax, and not [75]a few words strange to us or having a meaning somewhat different from their present significance. Among such lapses in syntax we find the slight confusion of tenses in the first stanza, caused in the poet’s mind by the necessity of making a rhyme for France, though this might have been obviated by writing “stands” for “stood” and using the present tense throughout. The necessities of rhyme troubled Drayton not a little: he must pronounce “Agincourt” as it is written to rhyme with “sort,” which, by the way, is not a perfect rhyme for “fort” in the sixth stanza, and “great” does not rhyme with “seat” nor “feat”; in the seventh, “rear,” “there” and “were” do not rhyme; other instances are easily found. Of words not now familiar, or used in an unfamiliar sense, the following are examples: We do not frequently speak of the wind “standing” in a certain direction; we do not often “advance” our sails nor “prove” our chance; “vaward” and “bilboes” are old words; “ding” in the sense used here has long been forgotten; of “archery” except as a sport we know nothing; “Spanish yew” is no longer valuable for bows, and few can tell how long a “clothyard” (the English ell, 45 inches long) is, or whether it differs from any other “yard” as a measure of length.

If the things just mentioned are defects they are of little moment and add to the quaintness of the verses without detracting from their force. Anyone who reads for inspiration and for his own betterment puts aside the critical spirit, places himself in the position of the writer, harmonizes thoughts and reads for the message without much concern for the medium. But there are force, [76]action, rhythm, clearness and beauty in this old ballad. Let us see what we can find without carrying analysis to the point where it destroys the spirit. All we need is an understanding of the meaning of the sentences and an expressive reading aloud. The former, we can supply here, the latter the reader must contribute. Poetry must be read aloud to be appreciated by any but those who can listen to their thoughts and hear the words their eyes garner from the printed page. Such readers are few.

Here is the paraphrase that makes the meaning clear.

With a wind blowing straight for France the English soldiery spread their sails to try one more campaign against their ancient enemies. Crossing the open sea they landed at the mouth of the Seine river, following King Henry and his noble courtiers.

There was fighting all the way, and many a strongly garrisoned fort was taken, to the joy of all the English. Every day had its skirmish with the French, who stoutly defended the way to Agincourt where lay their commander with all his great army of fifty thousand men. Here the Frenchman sent to King Henry the sarcastic message: “You are going to your doom. Better get your ransom ready before you advance further.” To this insult the English king made no answer, but an angry smile that foreshadowed the fall of his vile opponents flashed from his eyes.

Turning to his men, however, the brave king spoke: “Don’t be alarmed if they do outnumber us ten to one. We have begun nobly. Battles so bravely won as these we have fought, have always [77]been lauded to the skies. Your fame shall never die. And as for myself, this is my task. I shall not ask England to mourn for me nor to praise me. If I am not victor here, or if I am slain, never shall she be asked for one penny to redeem me. From the great battles of Poitiers and Cressy we learn that when the French were the most swollen with pride they fell beneath our swords. Our skill is none the less than that of those who fought under our great grandsire when he defeated the French and cut their national emblems to the ground.”

What a battle array it was! The vanguard was led by the dread Duke of York; the king himself in the midst of his brave guards sped in the center with the main body of the troops, while the valiant rearguard was captained by Excester, courageous as any man in the great army.

And now the fight begins! Armour on armour shines; drum now to drum does groan,—to hear is wonder; that, with the cries they make, shakes the very earth; trumpet to trumpet speaks, thunder to thunder.

From the ambuscade of our hidden forces the noble Erpingham gives the signal for the English archers to fire. Now like a storm the cloth-yard-long arrows sped by the strong bows of Spanish yew strike the French horses, stinging them like serpents through the withers. Every bowman stands to his place, not one deserting; every true English heart rejoices in the slaughter.

Down go the bows when the arrows are shot, out spring the great swords, as the English fly on the French, not one laggard in the company; straight from their shoulders spring the blows that [78]cleave the heads of the French peasants and drop them in the dust of trampling feet.

Meantime the noble king, brandishing his broad-sword, dashes along the French line as though to overwhelm it with his mighty blows, while many a wound sheds blood on his arms and many a cruel dint sinks into his helmet.

The good duke Glo’ster, next of the royal blood, fights side by side with his brave brother, and the youthful Clarence in this almost the first of his battles fights as furiously as any experienced knight; Warwick wades in blood, and Oxford adds to the cruel slaughter of the foe. Suffolk plies his axe manfully while Beaumont, Willoughby, Ferrers and Fanhope, names for the English to conjure with, bear themselves as bravely.

Hervé Riel

Let us take, as a final example, Browning’s poem Hervé Riel (Volume VIII, page 168). We will set about the preparation of it together. First we will read the note and then the poem. * * * It is a stirring thing, a noble monument to a noble man. It is worth the telling. We will read through it again and mark the passages that contain the incidents that make the story, so that we may not have to hesitate for ideas after we begin to talk. * * * Really, the plot is more simple than we thought. It is merely this: “The French fleet, defeated by the English, arrives off the harbor of Saint Halo. They call for pilots, but none will try to conduct the big ships through the dangerous channel, and the captains [79]decide to wreck and burn their ships, so the English may not capture them. Just at this time a simple Breton sailor offers to pilot the vessels through, under penalty of death. The commander puts him in charge of the fleet and he takes them safely into the harbor. The English arrive just too late to do any damage, and the French commander, grateful to his deliverer, offers him any reward he may wish. The Breton laughs and asks for one day’s leave to go and visit his wife who lives near by.”

Let us consider the persons. Evidently Hervé Riel is the only one we need mention by name. We could give him a simpler name, but if the story is true, everyone ought to remember him. We must try to make him seem alive. We must make his deed seem great and must make a point of his patriotic devotion and of his beautiful love for his wife.

Now we are ready to talk, as soon as we have thought a little and assured ourselves that we are in the right spirit. So, facing our audience of small children, we begin:

I’ve just been reading Hervé Riel, a story that I like so much I must tell it to you. A long time ago, before there was a (name your town), really before there was a United States, there was a long war across the ocean between the great nations, England and France. There had been a bloody battle between their navies, and the French had been beaten. Still twenty-two of their ships escaped, sailed to their own country and arrived outside the harbor of Saint Malo. But they were not safe, by any means. The English were close behind and could soon overtake and capture or destroy all the French vessels, and put to death [80]many of their crews. Inside the harbor the French knew they would be safe, for no English vessel could get through the long, crooked channels without a pilot, and no Frenchman would lead the English.

Without even waiting to anchor, the captains made signals for pilots and many skilled ones came off to the ships. When the pilots heard that the French were crippled and must get into the harbor they laughed at the captains.

“Go through there now?” they said. “Why, you can’t do it. Don’t you see it’s low tide and the rocks are showing everywhere? The channel is crooked and very dangerous at high water and now you could not get your smallest ship through safely, let alone such a large ship as the Formidable here, with her ninety-two big guns. It can’t be done.”

Nothing could change the minds of the pilots. They knew their business thoroughly. So the captains met to decide what they should do. The commander addressed them, saying:

“The English are at our heels. What shall we do? Do you want them to tow us all, one behind the other, back to their country to become their prizes? Not I. Better run all the ships aground, set fire to them, and escape ourselves if we can.”

The brave captains all looked at their commander. Every man shut his teeth together, set his brows, and with flashing eyes said, “Speak the word; we will obey.”

But the commander never gave his order! Right into the excited group stepped a man; not a captain, not even a second mate; just a plain, simple sailor who lived near Saint Malo. He had not even [81]joined the fleet of his own will, but had been seized and carried on board long before the battle, because the navy was short of sailors. You might think he would want revenge for being taken away from his home and his fishing. Did he? At first he was too much excited to speak, but in a moment he stormed out:

“What’s the matter with you pilots? Are you mad, or fools, or cowards, or have the English bought you body and soul? Don’t talk to me of rock and shallow places and crooked channels! Haven’t I sailed these waters for years, and don’t I know every shallow place, every dangerous turn, every inch of the way? You cowards! There’s a way through, I tell you.”

Then Hervé Riel turned to the commander and shouted, “Put me in charge of this ship, the biggest, this Formidable, and I’ll steer her through. Make the others follow me closely. They’ll all come safely in. Try me; I’ll do it. I haven’t much to offer for the chance, but if this ship so much as touches her keel on a hidden rock, you may cut off my head. Let me try, sir.”

The commander replied, “We have not a second to spare. You’re admiral here! Take the helm and lead us through!”

Hervé Riel was as prompt as the commander, and seizing the tiller, he soon had the great ship sailing along under perfect control. She went into the narrow channel, with the great rocks high on both sides. The waves beat up angrily and the breakers threw their spray high over the decks. With eyes fixed on the channel and both hands on the helm, he guided the staunch vessel on the wind[82]ing course. Time and again it seemed as though she must be wrecked, but just at the moment of greatest danger Hervé Riel shifted the helm, and the stately ship moved safely on. With hearts beating high, the officers watched the wonderful deed, and the frightened sailors clung speechless to the rail. Finally, between two great rocks that seemed to block the channel completely, the ship sailed majestically into the harbor, and Hervé Riel had kept his promise. Not once had the great Formidable touched her keel to a rock; not a scratch, except the battle scars, marred her fair sides.

After her, one by one, came the other ships of the squadron, till all were anchored safely in the harbor. Just as the last ship came to anchor, the English fleet, coming up in helpless anger, began to throw shells across the passage. The French, however, were out of range and could laugh at the fruitless attempts of their enemy. With one voice the captains and sailors of the rescued fleet shouted, “Hervé Riel! Hervé Riel! Now, let the king of France reward the man who has saved his fleet!”

And what of the brave sailor? He stood calm and quiet without a gleam of pride in his frank blue eyes. Just the same man as he was before his gallant deed, he answered the commander’s call and stood before him.

“My friend,” began the commander, “I can scarcely speak, but you know praise comes from the heart and not from the lips. You have saved the fleet from certain destruction and have preserved the lives of many of your countrymen. No reward is too great for you. Ask what you will and it shall be granted.[83]

Hervé Riel’s blue eyes danced with merriment as he said, “Now that my work is over I would like, if I may have it, one whole day to visit my wife, whom I call ‘Beautiful Aurora,’ and who lives just a little way from Saint Malo. That is all I want. May I go?”

You can imagine whether or not his request was granted.

Now, do you know, that brave act was forgotten; Hervé Riel was forgotten for many centuries. No monument was erected to his memory; there seemed nothing to keep the patriotic man alive in the hearts of his countrymen. But one day, not so many years ago, Robert Browning, the great English poet, heard the story, and he was so moved by the heroic deed and the quiet humor of the man, that he wrote a fine, manly poem and called it Hervé Riel, so that it should remain as a monument to the patriotism and character of the simple French sailor.

If the children are older and studying history, we would give more of an idea of the place, and of the occasion and show what the effect of saving the ship really was. The poem is an excellent one, but most children do not care for it till they have heard the story and have studied the text. Then they are delighted with it and will read it again and again. It has been many years since the writer of this first read Hervé Riel, but he has never wearied of it and cannot read it now without a thrill of admiration for the hero and for Browning’s monument.

When you tell the story, do not try to tell it as this has been told. Use your words, select for emphasis the parts that appeal to you and give the children just the ideas that you have conceived.


Other classics that will make just as good subjects for story telling are in every volume of Journeys. The following list contains only a few of them. By adapting them to the age of the young listeners, almost any of them may be made suitable for almost any age:

Volume I, page  79. Little Red Riding Hood.
Volume I, page 101. Silver Locks and the Three Bears.
Volume I, page 134. The Dog in the Manger.
Volume I, page 431. Baucis and Philemon.
Volume I, page 456. The Story of Joseph.
Volume II, page 111. The Punishment of Loki.
Volume II, page 448. The Story of Esther.
Volume II, page 387. What the Old Man Does Is Always Right.
Volume III, page 436. Robin Hood.
Volume IV, page 192. The Pine-Tree Shillings.
Volume IV, page 274. David.
Volume IV, page 383. The Wooden Horse.
Volume V, page 130. Balin and Balan.
Volume V, page 237. The Passing of Arthur.
Volume VI, page 143. Ruth.



Reading and the Building of Character


The influences which unite to make character are so numerous, subtle and complex that it is next to impossible to detect them or to classify them in order of importance. Not only is this true of the aggregate, but it is true of the individual. It is doubtful if any person in middle life can tell just what he is or just how he became himself. He is aware of some great influences that have exerted their power over him at certain crises in his life, but the little things which, taken together, have done more to form and fix his character are often unrecognized or undervalued. Fortunately, at this time we need to give attention to only one phase of the great question.

Character is the one important thing. Great as is the value of book education, of practical power and of good health, still greater is the importance of sound, wholesome character; and, consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally, the teacher and the parent are incessantly at work building the characters of the young people placed in their charge. Most of us, too, are working toward right ends as conscientiously as possible. Yet often we grow faint-hearted, or are puzzled to know what we can do to help the children and how we can do it most effectively.

[86]That the influence of reading on character is one of the most powerful is granted by every high-minded person who has written or spoken upon the subject. Really, it is not an influence, but a series of influences, wide, complex, far-reaching. The extended range of subjects, the infinite variety in style, the unlimited shades in sentiment to be found in literature make its presence influential everywhere and always. In reading there is comfort for the sorrowing, companionship for the lonely, encouragement for the downcast, entertainment for the leisurely, inspiration for the sluggish. Gentle, pervasive, almost unnoticed, yet stronger than iron bands, is the power of literature over us. We are what we read.

If such be the case, then there need be no argument concerning the importance of suitable reading matter for the young. To leave a child wholly to his own inclinations in reading is as absurd as to send him to take honey from a swarm of angry bees and not expect him to be stung. Inevitably, he will be injured, and that seriously. To supply him with honey, all that he wants, at all times and without exertion to himself, is to clog his taste and destroy his appetite. We must see that he is led to look for the sweet, taught to recognize it when he finds it, and to extract it from the comb. He will enjoy working to get it. On the other hand, he must not be sent where his reward is too difficult to find and secure, lest he become discouraged and cease to work.

School readers furnish much excellent material for reading; in the majority of schools there is furnished more or less of supplementary reading [87]which is quite as good as that in the text-books and which will have the merit of novelty and exclusiveness. Yet, in spite of this, parents and teachers are continually finding themselves at a loss for fresh and inspiring things for special occasions. All these may be had from Journeys Through Bookland and to assist in finding them and in using them after found the following has been written.


Character is made up of a great variety of traits; some of the mind, some of the heart, some of the soul. That is, what we are is composed of what we know, what we feel and what we believe. In response to those things we act; we govern ourselves in respect to ourselves and in respect to others.

The grave responsibility that rests upon parents and teachers is to encourage those traits which make for noble manhood and womanhood and to correct or eradicate as far as possible those which are bad in themselves or which help to neutralize or destroy the good ones.

Much may be accomplished by correct teaching of good principles, but human nature is such that people learn even more through indirection than through instruction. By means of the study of literature the best direct instruction may be given, and wholesome lessons may be taught abundantly in that charming way which accomplishes its purpose without a recognition on the part of the readers that they are being taught. The force and persistence of a good lesson of the latter kind can[88]not be estimated. It may be years before it exhausts itself, and its effect may be revolutionary.

The wise instructor, though she does not make known all her plans, works systematically. That is, having learned that a child is lacking in some respect, such as a knowledge of what constitutes good character, or in certain desirable traits of character, or possesses some characteristics that should be changed, she proceeds slowly and persistently to bring about the results she desires.


In Journeys Through Bookland the mother will find much to assist her. The influence of nearly all the selections will be for the betterment of character, will tend to make better men and women of the children. But when she is looking for some direct help, for something to produce a certain definite result, she will study the books carefully and select the things which are most effective. To help her in her selection we have prepared the following outline. It does not contain everything of value, but it is sufficiently comprehensive for its purpose, and will save much time for anyone.

Now let us not be unwise in teaching these things. Let us be satisfied if we secure the interest of the pupils in the selection and get from them the smile of approval, the look of guilt, the slight indication of a determination to profit by the lesson. Many times we will refrain from comment lest we spoil the effect of something much finer, more inspiring than anything we can say ourselves.

[89]The things we have chosen for their direct influence on the growing character of children will be grouped by subject in three general classes:

A. The selections in this group are calculated to set children to thinking properly about some serious subjects. While not as important as some others may be in the formation of character, they are yet of no small consequence.

1. Wisdom, ignorance, keenness, wit, etc., in some of their many phases are shown in the fables and the brief poem listed here:

2. The importance of attention to little things is inculcated in the following:

3. The following will help to create habits of promptness, industry and perseverance:

4. These show the sterling worth of independence and the real equality of man:

5. Courage and bravery are shown to be admirable and cowardice is made shameful in these selections:

6. The evil of conceit and overweening self-esteem may be shown emphatically by the use of such selections as these:

7. Flattery as a vice is made to seem unworthy, and its victim ridiculous in the two selections following:

B. Our character is largely made up of our feelings and emotions. Reason takes us in hand and tells us right from wrong, but we must feel before we can act. To cultivate right feeling, laudable emotions; to make one wish to do and hence will to do is perhaps the greatest function of real literature, that is the literature of beauty and of [91]inspiration. Our collection is rich in this direction and to find material for lessons is an easy task. Yet not everyone has the time to find, classify and use everything; hence the following lists.

Before giving them, however, a word of caution is necessary. Remember that these selections are not all suitable for children of every age. Some that will delight the little children and stimulate them to enthusiastic efforts to do right, will not appeal to older ones. Moreover, the natural bent of a child’s mind, the associations he has formed, his home surroundings, and his present character will all need to be considered before making choice of the subject matter. As for the manner of presentation, enough will be found in the studies in Journeys Through Bookland and in other parts of this volume safely to guide the young and inexperienced.

1. The influences of home and family are the greatest that come into the lives of most children. Love of home, of parents, of brothers and sisters, of children, are the perfectly natural things of existence. Yet often the ties are weak; not infrequently are they broken. Children drift away from the restraining and helpful influence of their parents, and families disintegrate. The results are bad. By properly teaching such selections as the following, much may be done to correct the evil and to intensify the highest, holiest emotions of mankind:

2. Honesty and truthfulness are cardinal virtues; they are the foundation of every strong character. Teach these selections and note their effect:

3. Friendliness, kindness, consideration of others, charity and love are a group of strong characteristics which are admirably shown in the following:


4. Generosity is admirable; selfishness is despicable. Prove the facts by these:

5. Kindness to animals is next to kindness and sympathy for human beings. It is best inculcated by teaching the beauty and loveliness of animals, their value to man and their dependence upon him. The following will help:

6. Patience and gentleness seem charming in these selections:

7. Faithfulness is a virtue. We admire it in:


8. That envy and covetousness are unpleasing and unprofitable are shown by these:

9. Contentment, peacefulness, hopefulness are made very attractive in the following:

C. We have grouped together here two classes of selections which inculcate patriotism or devotion to one’s fatherland and devotion to God. How admirable the selections are! You have only to read them to see:

1. Patriotism:

2. Suitable selections under this topic are difficult for teachers to find, owing to the objection there is against religious teaching in the public schools. Parents have greater liberty of selection. The following are beautiful and seem wholly unobjectionable:

Who Stole the Bird’s Nest?

The obvious purpose of these verses (Volume II, page 399), is to create a love for birds by making things appear uncomfortable for the boy who steals their nests. Perhaps the lesson is too obvious. The people who never steal nests and who always treat birds lovingly will approve of the verses, but the boy to be reached is the one who does destroy nests and [96]frightens or kills their owners or the boy who is liable to be led to do such things. Such a child may have no interest in the verses, may laugh at the sentiment, even if he can be induced to read or listen to the rhymes. Sometimes interest can be created and good effects produced by making prominent every feature except the moral. This can be made into a little play or dialogue with the following characters:

Unfortunately, there is only one boy character and he is any boy, in fact almost every boy, at some time in his life. But he is so ashamed that he doesn’t speak, not even to give his name. Suppose, then, we don’t mention him at all. Just leave him off the list. If he isn’t mentioned and is in the audience, he’ll remember what he has done and feel ashamed and go home and perhaps hide behind the bed and resolve never to steal another nest. Yes, we are inclined to agree with you that the poem might be better if there were no last stanza. So the little drama, in outline, is something like this.

The Yellow-breast. Who stole my nest and the four eggs I laid?

The Cow. I didn’t take your nest. I wouldn’t do such a thing. I gave you a wisp of hay.

The Yellow-breast. Who stole my nest? Bobolink, who do you think stole my nest from the plum tree?

[97]The Dog. (Interrupting). I didn’t; I wouldn’t be so mean. I gave my hairs to make the nest.

The Yellow-breast. Now listen to me. Who stole my nest, Bobolink?

The Bobolink. Yes, who stole the Yellow-breast’s pretty nest?

The Sheep. Not I. I wouldn’t treat a bird so. I gave my wool to line the nest.

The Yellow-breast. Who stole my nest, I say?

The Bobolink. Who stole her nest?

The Crow. I should like to know the thief. Who was it?

The Hen. Don’t ask me. The chicks and I each gave a feather and she used them. We would be ashamed to intrude on her.

A Bird. Let’s all make a stir and find out who it is. Then we’ll cry “For shame!” together.

Mary Green. I wouldn’t rob a bird. I never heard anything so mean.

Alice Neal. It is very cruel. I wonder if the thief knew how sad the Yellow-breast would feel.

Boys do not steal nests because they are mean and want to give pain. They admire the pretty eggs, they like the skilfully built nests, and they do not realize that anything suffers real pain. That is a lesson they must be taught. Can you teach kindness by cruelty? Is it not rather cruel to say right out before Mary Green and Alice Neal and the other girls that the boy was so ashamed he hung his head, hid behind the bed and wouldn’t tell his name?


Lead, Kindly Light

Note.—John Henry Newman, the author of this beautiful poem (Volume V, page 110), was born in London in 1801. He entered Oxford before he was sixteen and achieved the highest distinction in his college course. He entered the Church of England and became noted for his wonderful sermons. After some years of prominence in his calling, he was convinced that his belief was wrong, and in 1845 he entered the Roman Catholic Church. In 1879 he was created cardinal by Pope Leo XIII. but he continued to reside in England, where he died in 1890. Besides his great influence as a spiritual thinker, Newman’s writings and sermons were characterized by a forcible and elevated style and by remarkably melodious utterance. Lead, Kindly Light shows these traits.

Some words and phrases in the hymn may be made clearer by explanation: “Kindly Light.”—“The light shall shine upon thy ways.” (Job xxii, 28.) “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” (Psalms xxvii, 1.) “The Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.” (Isaiah lx, 20.)

In the Bible there are many other instances besides those just given in which there is a figurative use of the word light. It is a natural and beautiful figure. A person in doubt intellectually or spiritually looks upon himself as in darkness, and light to him is an intellectual or spiritual awakening.[99] The light that came to the poet was a kindly light; it removed his doubts and comforted him.

Garish day.” The dazzling or glaring day.

Moor and fen.” While these words seem new and unusual to us, we must remember that in England they are as common as the terms marsh and swamp are with us.

Those angel faces smile,” etc. The subject of this clause is faces, and the verb is smile.

Children will love this hymn though they cannot appreciate its full significance till maturer years have brought with them the deeper experiences of life. Still they should know and love the poem and may be led to a partial understanding of its beauty in sentiment by means of interpretation carried not too far. By comment and reading somewhat in the following manner may the most be accomplished:

1. The poet had reached mature years and had felt the oppressing influence of questioning and doubt, but had reached a sublime faith in the power and love of God. He still feels, however, the need of the personal care and guidance of the Almighty, and asks that it may continue through life. So we may imagine him in one of those thoughtful moments which come to every one, musing thus: Darkness and night surround me with their encircling gloom, and I feel that years must pass before I reach my heavenly home, so—

Lead, kindly light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead thou me on;
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on;

[100]While he no longer doubts the care and protection of God, yet he feels that his own strength is not sufficient; that he may err and stumble in the path he has chosen. He does not ask that all should be clear, nor that he should see the long course of his life, but is content to pray—

Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

2. After this invocation and prayer, his thoughts turn back into the past, and he remembers that in youth he had not this divine faith, nor did he wish to place his reliance in God. He preferred to lay out his own course and to plan his life far into the future, without the feeling of dependence that now rules him. So he sings:

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead thou me on;

He remembers that then he loved display and ostentation and was proud, wilful and self-confident; nevertheless, there were times when for a moment he feared, but in spite of that timidity, he went on in his masterful way:

I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will:

The thought of his self-complacency, his pride and arrogance brings out the plea, the supplication, “remember not past years.”

Sir Francis Bacon      Jonathan Swift
Cardinal Newman
Daniel Defoe      Cardinal Wiseman
Father Ryan

3. He remembers that through all his rebellions he has been surrounded by the power and [101]goodness of God, who has led him through all his devious paths, and the feeling comes that the same protecting influence will surround him till doubt is swept aside.

So long thy power hath blessed me, sure it still
Will lead me on
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone.

He is confident, too, that the same power will lead him through the dark night of doubt till the angels of love and faith, in whom he once trusted but whom he has doubted for a time, will come about him and smile their welcome to the light:

And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost the while.

Poor Richard’s Almanac

It is doubtful if Journeys Through Bookland contains any other selection so full of meat as this extract (Volume VI, page 407) from the writings of Benjamin Franklin; in fact, it is so full of wisdom on so many homely subjects and contains so much practical advice that no one can master it in a single reading.

It is condensed to the utmost limit and every sentence should be weighed and considered. The wise maxims and old saws need to be expanded in thought, illustrated by example and applied to the reader’s personal experience.

As a whole it is not particularly attractive to young people, but every child can be attracted to [102]parts of it. A little of it to-day, more of it next week, a third part some time in the future, and in time the whole will be assimilated.

If the truths in this one selection are thoroughly embedded in the mind of a boy, if the traits of character here taught are made a part of him, he will be a sound man of business, a sensible head of a family and a valuable citizen in a community.

Poor Richard’s Almanac contains the religion of work, of economy, of prosperity. It is a manly doctrine, a clear-cut, respectable philosophy, a reasonable rule of business activity. Never more than today were the precepts needed. The whole tendency of our modern activities is against its precepts. Disaster and ruin may be seen on every hand and traced directly to the neglect or violation of those sound principles which the wise old Franklin put in such homely words.

These maxims of life and policy are not those which it is the special province of the school to teach. They are the elementary law which a boy or girl must learn in his home and see exemplified therein if they are ever to become a practical part of life’s equipment.

The wisdom of the Almanac is the wisdom of practical experience, the wisdom of those who have lived and worked, who have lost and won. It does not deal with the finer phases of character, but with those practical things which lead to a bread-and-butter success.

A boy who knows what Poor Richard teaches and follows his precepts will be a business success. If a parent can grind into the character of his child these lessons of industry, simplicity, tem[103]perance and frugality he will have left a legacy more valuable a thousand times than the wealth he may have amassed, although that is reckoned by the millions.

Because of the extreme condensation of the address by Father Abraham, the following outlines have been made to enable a parent to find easily what is wanted and to present it attractively. The selection is one of those which children will not master by themselves, but one which the parent can easily make interesting if he will follow the plans given below.


  1. I. (Page 409.) Taxes are heavy, but we are taxed:
  2. 1. Twice as much by our Idleness.
  3. 2. Three times as much by our Pride.
  4. 3. Four times as much by our Folly.
  5. II. Idleness and Industry. (pages 409, 411.)
  6. 1. Time wasted in doing nothing (page 409), sloth.
  7. (In this connection see fable, Industry and Sloth, Volume I, page 300. Consult index in this volume).
  8. 2. Time wasted in sleep (page 410).
  9. 3. Time wasted in wishing and hoping (page 411).
  10. 4. Industry lost by putting off till tomorrow (page 412).
  11. 5. Steadiness in industry wins (page 412).
  12. III. Folly. (pages 414-416).
  13. 1. Of trusting to others (page 414).
  14. 2. Of neglect of small matters (page 414).
  15. [104]3. Of extravagance and the sensibleness of frugality (page 414).
  16. 4. Of vice (page 415).
  17. 5. Of high living (page 415).
  18. 6. Of purchasing unnecessary things (page 415).
  19. 7. Of luxury (page 416).
  20. IV. Pride. (page 417).
  21. 1. Of dress (page 417).
  22. 2. In table luxuries (page 417).
  23. 3. Of appearance (page 417).
  24. V. The Madness of Debt. (pages 417-420).
  25. 1. Brings shame (page 417).
  26. 2. Causes lying (page 418).
  27. 3. Destroys virtue (page 418).
  28. 4. Brings slavery (page 419).
  29. 5. Prevents success (page 420).
  30. VI. Ask for the Blessing of Heaven (page 420).
  31. VII. Accept Counsel. Do not wait for Experience.

Following the arrangement of the analysis above we may group a series of typical maxims, each of which can be made the basis of one of those little fireside talks which bear so prominent a part in the recollection of every man and woman who had the blessing to be brought up in a real home where father and mother joined in a sincere effort to bring up their children to honest, earnest, successful maturity.

  1. I. “We are taxed twice as much by our Idleness, three times as much by our Pride and four times as much by our Folly.”
  2. [105]II. Idleness and Industry.
  3. 1. “Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears; while the used key is always bright.”
  4. 2. “The sleeping fox catches no poultry.”
  5. 3. “He that lives on hope will die fasting.”
  6. 4. “Industry need not wish.”
  7. 5. “Have you somewhat to do tomorrow? Do it today.”
  8. 6. “Three removes are as bad as a fire.”
  9. III. Folly.
  10. 1. “If you would have a faithful servant and one that you like, serve yourself.”
  11. 2. “For want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; for want of a horse the rider was lost.”
  12. 3. “A fat kitchen makes a lean will.”
  13. 4. “What maintains one vice would bring up two children.”
  14. 5. “Who dainties love shall beggars prove.”
  15. 6. “At a great pennyworth pause awhile.”
  16. 7. “Silks and satins, scarlets and velvets put out the kitchen fire.”
  17. IV. Pride.
  18. 1. “Fond pride of dress is, sure, a very curse.
    Ere fancy you consult, consult your purse.”
  19. 2. “Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty and supped with infamy.”
  20. 3. “What is a butterfly? At best
    He’s but a caterpillar drest.”
  21. [106]V. The Madness of Debt.
  22. 1. “You will be ashamed to see your creditor.”
  23. 2. “Lying rides upon debt’s back.”
  24. 3. “It’s hard for an empty bag to stand upright.”
  25. 4. “Creditors have better memories than debtors.”
  26. 5. “Those have short Lent who owe money to be paid at Easter.”
  27. VI. “Job suffered and was afterward prosperous.”
  28. VII. “They that won’t be counselled can’t be helped.”
  29. “If you will not hear reason, she’ll surely rap your knuckles.”



Father and Son

Properly enough, the responsibility for health and development of young children rests upon the mother, and in most families this care remains with her till the children are able to look out for themselves. However, upon the father devolves more responsibility than the mere providing for the daily need of his children. Especially is it true that the boys of a family need the personal influence of the father fully as much as that of the mother. However patient, wise and devoted a mother may be, there comes a time in every boy’s life when he ought to be under the influence and subject to the control of a man. Every boy looks to men for his models and for a time follows them blindly, in spite of the most careful training a mother can give. Curiously enough it is often to a man other than his father that the boy looks for advice and direction. It is some other man who influences his thought and through his thought his actions and the development of his character. Even when the relations between father and son are of the closest the boy begins to look around him and often, for no other reason than the novelty of the influence, he falls under the tutelage of another to whom he gives a confidence that his father could never secure. As they enter the period of adolescence, boys will often talk on [108]many subjects with strangers with a freedom that parents, especially fathers, can never hope to see equalled unless the most perfect confidence has existed from the earliest childhood. Those who have taught for many years and who have had growing boys in their charge know how true this fact is and try to make it of service by seeing that someone of strong character shall be at hand for the boys to lean upon. They are impressionable, these men in embryo, and will go to such lengths for persons they happen to admire and who have secured their confidence, that those who know tremble when they find evil or trifling influences gathering about their charges.

Unfortunately in too many cases the parents fail to realize the importance of this change of relationship and allow children to drift without any effort to stem the tide that is bearing their progeny away. Fathers are particularly blind. One would think that they would remember how it was with themselves in their youth and be guided accordingly. But as a matter of fact a large majority of the fathers of the land have forgotten the perils of their own boyhoods; they look upon their own sons as proof against the temptations they weathered, or as being exempt because of their better position in life. If these same fathers would only consider that the temptations come from within and are inseparable from our race and from the age of the children they would regard with the greatest concern every influence that is brought to bear upon their rapidly developing boys.

This is no light matter we are discussing and is one that ought to be considered seriously by every [109]father. Every teacher, every psychologist knows that the time comes when a man must lead the changing youth. Who shall do it? Obviously the father. No man can put aside his responsibilities in this matter nor can he delegate it to the mother. She may be the one big factor in the development of her boy’s character and yet there is one time when all her carefully laid plans may go awry, when for a little while her restraining influence is powerless to save. No father can, in fairness to the children he has brought into the world, say that when he has made the home and furnished it, when he has fed and clothed his wife and children he has done all that he ought to do. It matters not how difficult a task it has been to find the money to support his family, nor how hard he has been obliged to work to get the daily bread; it matters not how tired or how much in need of recreation he may be when he returns to his home at the close of the day; he finds his responsibility always facing him. Do not misunderstand the question, nor the purpose of these lines. This is in no sense a criticism nor is it a bit of preaching at the hard-working fathers upon whom rest the hopes of the race. Every true father is willing to give his life if necessary for his offspring and there is no greater devotion in the world than that of father to son. But the fact remains that many a busy man has been so overburdened with the cares of his everyday life that he has had no time to make himself familiar with even the smallest of his duties to his family.

Suddenly he becomes conscious that his son is growing away from him, that the little things that [110]have bound them together have no longer the strength to hold, that they are drifting apart. Perhaps the father never has been on intimate terms with his son and has never really known what his child was thinking about or what his ideas and ideals really were. When this consciousness comes to the father, when he learns that he is no longer the one big figure on his son’s horizon and that his words have ceased to be accepted as final on every question, he is startled and seeks strenuously to regain his position. Difficult will it be. To regain what has been lost is always difficult; more difficult is it to displace an influence that is already established. How many, many times there comes to the earnest teachers the anxious parent with the oft-repeated statements and questions. “My boy has grown away from me. I don’t know him any more. What I say no longer has any influence with him. I don’t know what to do. How can you help me? He thinks more of what you say than of what I say and would follow you even if I objected. What can I do? What advice can you give?” In many instances it is too late and never again can the father recover the influence he has lost.

On the other hand, it is possible in most cases for the father to reinstate himself if he proceeds in the right way. That way is never through command or restraint or discipline. By only one process can he succeed, and that is by placing himself in the position of the boy, learning the boy’s tastes and interests and in joining with the boy in the things the latter likes. If there has never been much community of thought between the two, the parent may say in substance or show by his acts [111]that he has rather neglected the youth because he was too young to be in sympathy with a man’s work and because it was better for the mother to have the care of her son during his boyhood; but that now he is old enough to begin to think a man’s thoughts and to take an interest in a man’s occupations. Sometimes if this is followed by a real hearty confidence, if the father takes the boy with him on his business trips, shows him how the money for the family is made and what are the joys and compensations of a busy career, the boy’s confidence is won, his interest aroused and a frank comradeship established, new bonds are created and the father finds a delightful companion, the boy an honored friend and a worthy leader. Such fathers have said again and again, “I have found a new and trustworthy friend, a helper whose enthusiasm and good sense is worth more to me than anything I have had in years; and it is my boy who is doing it.” Unfortunately, most men fail to realize the power of a boy’s mind, the helpfulness of his companionship. His outlook on life is so fresh and true, his ambition so strong and his willingness to be taught so refreshing that intimacy with him makes the adult much stronger and better able to master the annoyances of the day, and to win the commercial victories upon which subsistence depends.

But at its best this latter-day acquaintanceship is never so strong nor so helpful as that which begins when the child is an infant and continues through boyhood to the larger youth and manhood. And it is easy to win the confidence and respect of the very young, easy to retain it when won. Yet many a sincere and anxious man fails [112]utterly to earn that sympathetic companionship which any father may have for the asking, if the request is made in a way the child can understand and appreciate. The foundation of it all is a sympathy in the things that children know and love. A child lives on a plane of his own. You cannot take him very far from it nor substitute anything in its place except by the slowest and most careful management. There can be no sympathy, no understanding that is not located on the childish plane. The father must come down where the child lives, must find his interest in the things that the child loves and must be sincere in every manifestation of that interest. Right here is where so many fathers fail. They try to interest the child in things which the older mind enjoys, and finding themselves unable to create the artificial atmosphere give up in discouragement and disgust. Such a course is foolish in the extreme. The older person who knows more and has had the experiences that are now new to youngsters must go back into his memories and join in the little things that make up the big complex of a child’s world. Unless you become as little children you can never enter into the lives of children.

To become young again in a genuine fashion is not permitted to many of us and we must accordingly seek some common ground where we can meet the children and be as they are in seeming if not in reality. We may not be able to play their games with interest and sympathy, or the boys may be so skilful that we lose standing rather than gain influence by participation. We may not be able to sympathize with the rivalries of [113]school or talk intelligently on the sports that make up a large part of their daily occupation. Where, then, can we meet them and how shall we put ourselves on an equality with them and at the same time preserve our leadership?

Such a question is not easy to answer in detail, but many a man has found a way and a simple one at that. In the first place, play is part of the life of every child and he has as much right to his fun as any adult has to the recreation he finds necessary to keep him at the top of his working power. Many a child may properly complain that he has had no childhood, that all the time he was being repressed and never allowed to express himself in his own way. He may not realize at the time that anything is wrong in the treatment that his father gives him, but the time comes when he will know and understand. Right there is a fact that every father ought to know and realize so thoroughly that he will never lose sight of it. Yes, some time every boy will know just what kind of a father he has had and just how worthy of respect and veneration that father has been. A little boy is credulity itself and everything tends to make him believe in his father. But as he grows older he will surely know. Woe be it to the parent who when disillusionment comes falls below the standard the child has set. Some time the boy will know. If he has never had the pleasure that was his due, if he has never had the fun in his home that he had a right to expect, his estimate of his parent will be appallingly low.

Through play in the home in the evening after the day’s work is ended has many a father laid the [114]foundation for an influence that controlled when other ties seemed strained to the breaking point. It is in this playtime that the boy expresses himself most fully. Every animal has its playtime, and the most savage of the beasts play with their little ones to educate them to succeed in the struggle for existence. If play is a natural expression of the child’s mind and body, anything that represses play is a hindrance to development. In the cheery home where to have fun and lots of it is a daily habit every child grows and matures as perfectly as a plant where there are just the right amounts of sun and moisture and where the soil is perfectly adapted to growth. A little less light, a little less moisture, and the plant will wither and fail. A little less play and more repression and the child will become morose and fail to keep pace with his mates. To repress is so easy, to reconstruct so difficult!

After the play comes the work, but the work may be made as interesting as the play and may proceed in the same spirit of jollity and freedom that marked the time given up wholly to amusement. The work is the second factor in the father’s influence—something on the plane of the child’s own mind, not too difficult, not too long continued. Closely related, too, it must be with things that the child has done and understands. Some phase of school work may need to be carried on by the older ones in the family, but the younger boys are free to work with the father in anything that will stimulate and inspire. What shall the work be? To every one who has had to do with a large number of children the answer comes quickly enough. In reading[115] and conversation will the boy and his father come most closely together, in a field that is attractive to both and where it is as easy to find entertainment and pleasure as it is to gain information and culture.

Two quotations from men of good judgment come into mind at this point. Arthur T. Hadley, recently President of Yale University, has said, “Men in every department of practical life, men in commerce, in transportation or in manufactures, have told me that what they really wanted from our college was men who have this selective power of using books efficiently. The beginnings of knowledge are best learned in any home fairly well furnished with books.” Professor William Mathews has added, “It is not the number of books which a young man reads that makes him intelligent and well-informed, but the number of well-chosen ones that he has mastered so that every valuable thought in them is a familiar friend.”

In those two quotations the ideas of prime importance to every father are, first, that the beginnings of knowledge are best learned in the home; and, second, that it is the mastery of what is read that really counts. In school a child learns to read; at his home he reads to learn. At school he learns how he ought to read; but it is at his home that he learns to read in that manner. What a boy does in school is a small part of the total amount of his reading, and its influence is small indeed. In home reading, then, reading of the right material in the right way, is to be found the great influence in education and the great factor in the building of character.

If such is the case, what more important work [116]can there be for the father than to read with his son, to watch these beginnings of education which mean so much more than the mere instruction in school, and to be a power in developing that right method of reading which means not only the acquisition of knowledge but also the acquirement of power and the making of character. The busy man is tired at night and inclined to think that he has no time to give to reading with his boys. He may think, too, that reading childish stories is beneath his dignity. Such is not the case. There is a great abundance of literature that is manly, and at the same time interesting to a boy. If the father feels that he is past the time when he has any sympathy with the fairy stories and the little poems that the infants like, if he thinks the nursery rhymes are silly and the fables too old to be true, that is because he has not recently read them. Busy men, men of power and influence, like to renew their youth by going to the simple things they loved as children, and not a few of them find that the years have given them new powers of interpretation and that what was to them at one time only an amusing tale is now replete with the philosophy of the universe. Yet there may be fathers of so practical a mind that works of imagination have no hold upon them. To them, however, the world of literature is by no means barren. There are history, biography and essays upon a thousand subjects, any one of which will interest a boy and at the same time his father. Particularly is this true when the reading is aloud and interspersed with free conversation upon the subjects that come to the surface. If the father can only select the right material [117]and read it with his son there is no question whatever about the interest that will develop for both. A busy man has little time to select reading; in all probability he has not had the experience to enable him to do so wisely, for he has been so absorbed in business that he has forgotten what he knew best as a boy and is unable to tell just what appealed to him most. It may be that he never in his youth had the opportunity to read the best of literature and does not know where to turn to find it. He hears his little family talking about what they read at school and how they ought to read and feels himself behind the times and hesitates to make an exhibition of himself before his children. To any father, a collection such as that in Journeys Through Bookland is of inestimable value. When it is considered that in addition to the literary material there are abundant suggestions as to how interest may be created and how the reading may be made most profitable, then the set becomes indispensable. In other words, Journeys contains the material that must be in every family to make it “fairly well furnished with books,” and it provides a way of “mastering the books so that every valuable thought is a familiar friend.”

If fathers could be persuaded to spend one evening with their boys in the reading and discussion of some selection in Journeys, they would not willingly forego the pleasure thereafter. It has happened so many times that we know this is not an overstatement. Fathers by the score have written us on the subject. One says, “I have solved the problem of keeping my boys off the streets, or, rather, Journeys has done it for me.” “I have never [118]spent a happier evening. The boys staid up with me till after their usual bed time and when they had retired, I read on for half the night,” says another. “I feel young again, and John and I are great chums. Reminiscences of a Pioneer kept me telling stories long after we had finished reading the sketch.” Who are these fathers? Clergymen, lawyers, doctors, teachers, we may expect, for they are somewhat interested in reading, because of their life work. But they are not the most numerous, by any means. Railroad men, manufacturers, farmers, men in hundreds of vocations acknowledge the delight of reading Journeys with their children. Is there anything finer, more wholesome, more inspiring than the thought of fathers and children reading together, and together feeling the inspiration that radiates from the great masterpieces.

But this chapter is not an argument for the purchase of Journeys. That you, father of a growing boy, are reading these lines is evidence that you have thought well enough of the Journeys idea to place a set of books in your family. You have done this because you recognized that in this age of specialists, you, a business man, could not be expected to select reading matter for your son and assist him in his growth and development with the same skill as can those who have devoted many years to that special problem. No attempt is made to advise you on the conduct of your business or to direct the management and control of your son. But a sincere effort has been made to help you to join with your boy in that hearty sympathy which will make him happier, better and more of a man; [119]which will make you young again and add to your pleasure without increasing your burdens. What we want is to make the books most effective, to help them be the power for good that we know they can be, and more than anything else, to make them a living bond between father and son. So let us examine the books together with these thoughts in mind and see if we cannot find just the things that will arouse your enthusiasm and make you young again, an equal and a friend who can lead your boy where you want him to go and where he will gladly follow you.

For instance, there is in the sixth volume that kindly humorous account of a boyhood in Wisconsin in the early part of the last century, Reminiscences of a Pioneer (Volume V, 340). Every man will be interested in it, and he cannot read it aloud to a boy of seven without catching the attention of the child. Even a lad of sixteen will get into the spirit of the thing, although it may not be the same incidents that will attract him. Think of the contrast between that humble log cabin with its visiting Indians and the luxurious steam-heated flat of your son, or the farm house with all modern conveniences that a friend of yours may have in the very region where our little friend was frightened more by the strange Dutch immigrants than he was by the red men whom he saw every day. Think of a six or seven year old boy that had never seen an apple and who could enjoy chokecherries and crab apples, even though he couldn’t get his face back into line on the same day in which he ate them fresh from the tree. Think of offering raw turnips to the guests and of [120]people coming twenty miles to get a small piece of salt pork, because they were so tired of fresh meat and fish. Think that these things happened less than a hundred years ago and within forty miles of the now big and flourishing city of Milwaukee. What lessons there are in courage, skill, self-reliance and contentment in the lives of these early pioneers, especially the devoted mother who kept her yeast alive so many years, and stood off the Indians with one hand while she tended to her increasing family with the other. Can you imagine a boy who wouldn’t be interested in the sturdy youngster who earned and refused his first quarter of a dollar for paddling a man across the river in a heavy dugout? Don’t you think your son will have a host of questions to ask about it all and that you will be glad to talk to him about the Indians he likes to imitate when he plays? Can’t you see that reading such as this is worth while and that every moment spent in this way is an investment for yourself in the boy’s confidence and good graces?

Other selections of a somewhat similar nature, all of which will appeal to boys at the time when Indians and adventure are of more interest than anything else, are the following:

Have no fear that the boy’s love for Indians and adventure is a thing to suppress. It is an evidence of growth and of development. You know every boy lives over in himself the history of his race, and as there was a time when the life of mankind was a struggle with physical difficulties and personal danger so there is a time when every boy feels within himself the admiration for brave deeds and the desire to fight and conquer. Your province it is to meet him on that ground, enjoy with him the tales of lofty daring and physical prowess, the tales of stirring adventure and narrow escapes, and to lead him gently with you into the fields of history where achievements in science, commerce and engineering take the place of battles with wild animals and wilder Indians.

Don’t feel that you have not the time to do the things recommended. We can always find the time to do the things we like to do, and this means of joining in the thoughts of your boy will be one of the things you will most enjoy when you have once accustomed yourself to it.

We get out of reading just what we put into it. That is to say, the same selection read by different people will have just as many meanings as there are people reading it. By assistance, a person may be caused to see more in what he reads and in time [122]may approximate the full understanding of his teacher. But it is unwise and useless to expect a child to read with the same appreciation that an adult has. Accordingly the father, if he is wise, will be satisfied when his boy is really interested in a thoroughly good selection if he sees at the same time that the boy is setting about his interpretation in the right way. To illustrate: If you are reading about a storm at sea and you are a survivor of a shipwreck in such a storm, your appreciation of the description will be infinitely more vivid than that of your son, who has not even seen the sea. All that you can do is to give him some idea of the power of the waves, make him feel that the sight is a thrilling one and that there is imminent danger to life and property in the storm. Some time he will have the experience to interpret and then his mind will recur to the description and he will understand it somewhat as you do now. This brings us to think for a moment on the permanent value of all that is read. The mind holds things in abeyance, brings them out to the light now and then, and each time finds them more and more intelligible and influential. Many a maxim learned in youth when an understanding of it was impossible becomes a power for good for the person in later years when its inner significance appears.

Some poetry will appeal to boys, even though they may look askance at most of it. Some lyrics are virile and powerful, well worthy the study of the keenest minds. There is an unfounded prejudice against poetry in many men because of the fancied puerility of it and its silly sentiment. Such a prejudice always disappears if the person reads [123]enough and selects the things that are worthy of study. Narrative poems are more likely to appeal to men and boys than the lyrics. When the narrative is a stirring one and the action dramatic, the poetic form adds decidedly to its interest and effectiveness. Take, for instance, that little poem by Robert Browning that is known as Incident of the French Camp (Volume IV, page 174). No man can read it without being stirred by it, and its appeal to boys is immediate and strong. But strong as it is, the whole influence of it may be intensified if it is discussed in the manner indicated on the pages immediately after the poem. What we would have you do is to read the little epic with your boy and talk it over with him along the lines of the comments given. It will not be necessary for you to point the moral. He will see it for himself, but if you can show a little enthusiasm and delight in the incident he will go away feeling better toward you and will be a convert to poetry, at least to some kinds of it. Later in life the lesson will come back to him and he will seek for more of the same sort.

There are a great number of poems of similar import in the books. Any one of the following will be capital for reading aloud with your boy. Try them and be convinced.

Any one of the national anthems or patriotic poems is fine reading and a source for many a kindly talk that will tend to make a better citizen of your son and perhaps give you a fresher and truer conception of your own duties and responsibilities to the government. These you may readily find from the index in the tenth volume, under the title, Patriotic Poems.

For older boys there are plenty of good selections, and the discussion of some of them must help to bring nearer to the lad his increasing responsibilities. A normal boy of sixteen has a lot of the man in him and wants to be treated as a man, at least to have his ideas, hopes and ambitions given some consideration. He does not want always to be called “Bobby” or “Jimmy” or “Tommy.” He likes better to be called “Smith,” “Jones,” or “Robinson,” or whatever his last name is. He is tired of being told to do this and that and would like to join in some of the family councils and feel that father is beginning to see the man and forget the “kid.” He will be interested in anything that relates to commerce, or manufacture or government if it is presented to him in such a way that he can “be somebody” in the discussion.

It is easy to interest boys in speaking, in orations, in debates. In Journeys (Volume IX, page 321) is printed the Gettysburg Address by Abraham[125] Lincoln. It is the one great, masterly American address, noted not only for its perfect construction, but for its sentiment, its power and its brevity. In no other great address are all these elements combined. Tested by any standard it rings true in thought and is perfect in form. It is worth while to commit it to memory, and father and son should be equally interested in the task, if it can be called a task. Preceding the address is a note giving its historical setting, and following it is an analysis of the thought and a series of questions tending to give the thought a more personal application. The Fate of the Indians and A Call to Arms, both in Volume IX, are good orations accompanied by studies.

An essay that is in effect almost an oration is the extract from the Impeachment of Warren Hastings by Macaulay (Volume IX, page 32), and in this volume are studies on that essay (page 248).

The Boston Massacre by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a pleasing bit of history which in this volume (page 370) is used as the basis of a study in argument. You may prefer to read the studies first and arrange the arguments for your sons or for yourself and your boy. It is surprising into what different directions the argument will lead you and how many interesting questions will arise which will make good subjects for discussion. To make conversation worth while there is needed only something interesting to talk about. To be a good talker is worth a great deal to any young man and there is no better way to give him this power than by conversing freely with him while he is young.

[126]Moral instruction is difficult. A thousand little things tend to neutralize it and there is an almost universal spirit of opposition to moral teaching, on the part of youth. And yet it is easy to give moral lessons in an indirect way that shall arouse no opposition and that shall be effective for lifetime. Journeys is full of what for lack of a better name we call character-building literature. Some of it is adapted to boys and girls of a very tender age and more of it to the older children. The Cubes of Truth (Volume VI, page 406), by Oliver Wendell Holmes, is a beautiful little essay that expresses a great truth in a way to impress it indelibly upon the memory of every person who reads it. So clear is the language, so clever the idea that the selection is read with absorbing interest, and so impressive is the lesson that no real attention need be called to it. In reading it the beauty of the language and the quaintness of the figure are the real subjects of discussion, but all the time the great lesson is making its subtle appeal. Cardinal Newman’s Definition of a Gentleman (Volume IV, page 170) is more obviously a didactic selection, but here again the definition is given so clearly and so forcibly that no possible offense can be taken and the weight of the statements will produce their effect without much comment.

In this connection it should be necessary merely to call attention to the chapter on character-building, to be found in this volume. In preparing that chapter the writer had in mind children of all ages and both sexes, but it will be an easy matter for you to select the things which you know will appeal to your son.

[127]In fact, you will find in every chapter of this volume something to help you in making your way into the thoughts and the hearts of your family, and we know that as the years pass away and manhood comes to your boys they will look back upon the hours spent in reading with you as the most momentous of their lives. Do you want your son to say in his manhood, “I look upon Mr. A or Mr. B as the person who most influenced my life”? Do you want him to say, “I might have been a cultured man with a wide range of interests if my father had given to me a little of the time he spent at his club”? Do you want your boy to think that he was a wanderer from home, because he could not find in that home the manly sympathy that his soul craved? In many a family there is no trouble in keeping the boys off the streets. There is no place half so attractive as the home and for them no inclination to seek among others the fun and intellectual stimulus they crave as they crave their food.

Usually the reading habit must be formed early or not at all. A man in middle life will not acquire the habit easily unless there is some stimulus which keeps him reading for a time, in spite of himself. In the active minds of his boys he may find just that stimulus, and in his declining years when time weighs heavily upon his hands and great activities are denied him he will find in his later acquirement an unfailing source of enjoyment. In such hours will come to recollection the days he spent with his boys and his heart will fill with joy that he did not neglect his rich opportunities.




Whenever children are interested in any selection, it is well to encourage them to commit it to memory, if it be brief, or if they find in it phrases or sentences which seem to them beautiful or filled with meaning. If, however, the young people are driven to memorizing selections of any kind, the practice is of little value, and it is likely to create a prejudice against the very things for which they should feel admiration. By a show of interest, however, the parents may, without difficulty, lead the children to learn a great deal of the best literature, and thus not only strengthen their knowledge but improve their style of writing as well, for unconsciously the young will follow the style of those whom they admire. Moreover, it frequently happens that some of the inspiring thoughts which children have learned become rules of action to them in after life. If the practice is begun early enough children will form the habit of learning those things which they like, and such a habit is of greatest value. In many schools, during certain years, the learning of “memory gems” is a daily practice; it should be no less a practice at home.

Some of the many things in these books which may well be learned in their entirety are the following:


Volume I, page 66. A Thought.
Volume I, page 67. The Swing.
Volume I, page 83. Singing.
Volume I, page 110. Rain.
Volume I, page 133. Little Blue Pigeon.
Volume I, page 144. The Land of Counterpane.
Volume I, page 204. Sleep, Baby, Sleep.
Volume I, page 246. Norse Lullaby.
Volume I, page 262. Wynken, Blynken and Nod.
Volume I, page 339. The Owl and the Pussy Cat.
Volume I, page 340. Time to Rise.
Volume I, page 410. The Reaper and the Flowers.
Volume II, page 11. The Baby.
Volume II, page 32. Lullaby.
Volume II, page 123. Windy Nights.
Volume II, page 121. Shuffle-Shoon and Amber-Locks.
Volume II, page 87. Picture Books in Winter.
Volume II, page 119. Seven Times One.
Volume II, page 403. The First Snowfall.
Volume II, page 481. In Time’s Swing.
Volume III, page 347. Barbara Frietchie.
Volume IV, page 82. Footsteps of Angels.
Volume IV, page 126. Nearer Home.
Volume IV, page 127. Pictures of Memory.
Volume V, page 396. The American Flag.
Volume V, page 399. Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Volume VI, page 119. Annie Laurie.
[130]Volume VI, page 122. Sweet and Low.
Volume VI, page 133. The Bugle Song.
Volume VII, page 1. The Daffodils.
Volume VII, page 4. To the Fringed Gentian.
Volume VII, page 340. Those Evening Bells.
Volume VII, page 395. To a Waterfowl.

While usually it is better to allow each person to learn the lines that most appeal to him, yet some help should be given children. No two people will select all of the same things, though probably all would agree on some few things as being of the highest excellence. Some lines should be learned because of their beauty in description, others because of beauty in phraseology, and still others because of beauty in sentiment. Search should be made, too, for those things which are inspirational, and which will be strong aids in the building of character.

We append a few pages of quotations taken at random from the volumes. They will prove handy when the parent or teacher is pressed for time, and the references to volume and page will enable the busy person readily to find the context, if that seems desirable.

The quotations below are arranged in the order of their appearance in Journeys Through Bookland. This will enable anyone to locate them easily. The lines cover a wide range of thought and will furnish an endless variety of material for stories, comment, question and conversation. Some of them cannot be appreciated without a knowledge of their setting in the original poem or prose selection, while others are complete and perfect as they stand.

[131]One of the best ways to teach a poem or selection is to begin by creating an interest in a quotation from it. For instance, “Write me as one who loves his fellow men,” will lead the way to an acquaintance with the old favorite Abou Ben Adhem. In fact, only after the poem has been read and appreciated will a person get the full force of the idea, “Write me as one who loves his fellow men.”

One Hundred Choice Quotations

(Volume I)

Early to bed, and early to rise,
Is the way to be healthy, wealthy and wise. —Page 48.

Had it not been for your buzz I should not even have known you were there. —Page 70.

The Rock-a-by Lady from Hushaby street,
With poppies that hang from her head to her feet. —Page 94.

I saw the dimpling river pass
And be the sky’s blue looking-glass. —Page 130.

In through the window a moonbeam comes,
Little gold moonbeam with misty wings. —Page 133.

Oh, the world’s running over with joy. —Page 147.

The honorable gentleman has not told us who is to hang the bell around the Cat’s neck. —Page 197.

Here is the mill with the humming of thunder,
Here is the weir with the wonder of foam,
Here is the sluice with the race running under—
Marvelous places, though handy to home. —Page 349.


Then she smooths the eyelids down
Over those two eyes of brown—
In such soothing, tender wise
Cometh Lady Button-Eyes. —Page 367.

One must be content with the good one has enjoyed. —Page 379.

Oh, not in cruelty, not in wrath,
The Reaper came that day;
’Twas an angel visited the green earth,
And took the flowers away. —Page 411.

It matters nothing if one is born in a duck yard, if one can only be hatched from a swan’s egg. —Page 427.

(Volume II)

Did you ever hear of a bird in a cage, that promised to stay in it? —Page 2.

The very violets in their bed
Fold up their eyelids blue. —Page 32.

Rejoice in thy youth, rejoice in thy fresh growth, and in the young life that is within thee. —Page 70.

You are more than the Earth, though you are such a dot—
You can love and think, and the Earth cannot. —Page 67.

Thank him for his lesson’s sake,
Thank God’s gentle minstrel there,
Who, when storms make others quake,
Sings of days that brighter were. —Page 214.

[133]You must expect to be beat a few times in your life, little man, if you live such a life as a man ought to live. —Page 242.

Those that wish to be clean, clean they will be. —Page 247.

Reckon not on your chickens before they are hatched. —Page 376.

He saw the rocks of the mountain tops all crimson and purple with the sunset; and there were bright tongues of fiery cloud burning and quivering about them; and the river, brighter than all, fell, in a wavering column of pure gold, from precipice to precipice, with the double arch of a broad purple rainbow stretched across it, flushing and fading alternately in the wreaths of spray. —Page 420.

(Volume III)

In darkness dissolves the gay frost-work of bliss. —Page 96.

Peace and order and beauty draw
Round thy symbol of light and law. —Page 349.

Lips where smiles went out and in. —Page 386.

All the little boys and girls,
With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls,
And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls. —Page 391.

(Volume IV)

Prince thou art,—the grown up man
Only is republican. —Page 3.

O’er me, like a regal tent,
Cloudy-ribbed, the sunset bent,
[134]Purple-curtained, fringed with gold,
Looped in many a wind-swung fold. —Page 6.

Now in memory comes my mother,
As she was long years agone,
To regard the darling dreamers
Ere she left them till the dawn. —Page 8.

I chatter over stony ways,
In little sharps and trebles,
I bubble into eddying bays,
I babble on the pebbles. —Page 60.

For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever. —Page 61.

And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man. —Page 86.

Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes may be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought. —Page 88.

And when the arrows of sunset
Lodged in the tree-tops bright,
He fell, in his saint-like beauty,
Asleep by the gates of light. —Page 129.

Save me alike from foolish pride,
Or impious discontent,
Or aught thy wisdom has denied,
Or aught thy goodness lent. —Page 173.


And there through the flash of the morning light,
A steed as black as the steeds of night,
Was seen to pass as with eagle flight. —Page 224.

Noiselessly as the springtime
Her crown of verdure weaves,
And all the trees on all the hills
Open their thousand leaves. —Page 267.

Who dies in youth and vigor, dies the best,
Struck through with wounds, all honest, on the breast. —Page 369.

(Volume V)

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead thou me on;
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years. —Page 111.

Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment. —Page 112.

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man. —Page 112.

the knotted column of his throat,
The massive square of his heroic breast,
And arms on which the standing muscle sloped,
As slopes a wild brook o’er a little stone,
Running too vehemently to break it. —Page 150.


Ye think the rustic cackle of your bourg
The murmur of the world! —Page 156.

For man is man and master of his fate. —Page 158.

Perseverance gains its meed
And Patience wins the race. —Page 316.

Forever float that standard sheet!
Where breathes the foe but falls before us,
With Freedom’s soil beneath our feet,
And Freedom’s banner streaming o’er us? —Page 398.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment seat;
O, be swift, my soul, to answer him! be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on. —Page 399.

Silence! ground arms! kneel all! caps off!
“Old Blue-Light’s” going to pray.
Strangle the foe that dares to scoff!
Attention! It’s his way. —Page 401.

(Volume VI)

To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods. —Page 8.


When by my bed I saw my mother kneel,
And with her blessing took her nightly kiss;
Whatever Time destroys, he cannot this;—
E’en now that nameless kiss I feel. —Page 122.

Sweet and low, sweet and low,
Wind of the western sea;
Low, low, breathe and blow,
Wind of the western sea!
Over the rolling waters go,
Come from the dying moon, and blow,
Blow him again to me;
While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps. —Page 122.

Sublime words make not a man holy and righteous, but it is a virtuous life that maketh him dear to God. —Page 134.

Who hath a stronger battle than he that useth force to overcome himself? This should be our occupation, to overcome ourselves and every day to be stronger and somewhat holier. —Page 136.

And the sheen on their spears was like stars on the sea,
Where the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee. —Page 142.

Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people and thy God my God. —Page 144.

For we are all, like swimmers in the sea,
Poised on the top of a huge wave of fate,
Which hangs uncertain to which side to fall. —Page 186.


Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home. —Page 224.

“God bless us every one!” said Tiny Tim. —Page 309.

All hail’d, with uncontroll’d delight
And general voice, the happy night,
That to the cottage, as the crown,
Brought tidings of Salvation down. —Page 357.

The short and simple annals of the poor. —Page 363.

The paths of glory lead but to the grave. —Page 363.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air. —Page 365.

Along the cool, sequestered vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way. —Page 366.

He gained from Heaven (’twas all he wished) a friend. —Page 368.

Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears; while the used key is always bright. —Page 410.

He that riseth late must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night; while laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him. —Page 410.

Have you somewhat to do tomorrow? Do it today. —Page 412.

[139]For want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost. —Page 414.

Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship. —Page 415.

’Tis foolish to lay out money in the purchase of repentance. —Page 416.

Fools make feasts and wise men eat them. —Page 415.

’Tis hard for an empty bag to stand upright! —Page 418.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. —Page 420.

(Volume VII)

That inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude. —Page 1.

Then doth thy sweet and quiet eye
Look through its fringes to the sky. —Page 5.

The bonny lark, companion meet,
Bending thee ‘mang the dewy weet
Wi’ spreckled breast,
When upward springing, blithe to greet
The purpling east. —Page 8.

He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.
He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small. —Page 57.

The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,
The man’s the gowd for a’ that! —Page 149.


By fairy hands their knell is rung,
By forms unseen their dirge is sung. —Page 151.

Still stands Thine ancient Sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget! —Page 164.

The remarkably adult yet innocent expression of their open and serene eyes is very memorable. All intelligence seems reflected in them. They suggest not merely the purity of infancy, but a wisdom clarified by experience. Such an eye was not born when the bird was, but is coeval with the sky it reflects. The woods do not yield such another gem. —Page 263.

Sound of vernal showers
On the twinkling grass,
Rain-awakened flowers,
All that ever was
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass. —Page 278.

Imagine a stream seventy yards broad divided by a pebbly island, running over seductive riffles and swirling into deep, quiet pools where the good salmon goes to smoke his pipe after his meals. —Page 287.

I once had a sparrow alight on my shoulder for a moment while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn. —Page 299.


And while in life’s late afternoon
Where cool and long the shadows grow,
I walk to meet the night that soon
Shall shape and darkness overflow,
I cannot feel that thou art far,
Since near at hand the angels are;
And when the sunset gates unbar,
Shall I not see thee waiting stand,
And, white against the evening star,
The welcome of thy beckoning hand? —Page 389.

He who, from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright. —Page 397.

(Volume VIII)

Go tell the Spartans, thou that passeth by,
That here, obedient to their laws, we lie. —Page 90.

Thermopylae had her messenger of defeat:
The Alamo had none. —Page 152.

England expects every man to do his duty. —Page 297.

An’ Oh! be sure to fear the Lord alway!
An’ mind your duty, duly, morn and night! —Page 322.

They never sought in vain that sought the Lord aright. —Page 322.

The best acid is assiduity. —Page 332.


(Volume IX)

Write me as one who loves his fellow men. —Page 11.

When beggars die, there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes. —Page 145.

Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once. —Page 145.

Et tu Brute! Then fall, Cæsar. —Page 154.

Surely man is but a shadow, and life a dream. —Page 286.

All service ranks the same with God. —Page 301.

The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hillside’s dew-pearled:
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in his heaven—
All’s right with the world. —Page 303.

For what are the voices of birds—
Ay, and of beasts—but words, our words,
Only so much more sweet? —Page 314.

I will pass each, and see their happiness,
And envy none—being just as great, no doubt,
Useful to men, dear to God as they! —Page 317.



How to Read Fiction

1. Different Kinds of Literature

If there were but one kind of literature, it would be an easy matter to give the few directions that would be necessary to make good readers. In reality there are, however, several types, so different in their purpose, style and content that the reader must study them in many different ways if he would get the varied and inspiring messages. To appreciate what this means, let us look over the field.

For our purposes, as has been said, true literature, as distinguished from the practical literature of fact, may be grouped under the two general heads of poetry and prose. At first thought the difference between the two seems wide and unmistakable. Poetry differs from prose not only in form, but also in rhythm, music, beauty and sentiment. The former is usually more figurative, and aims to stimulate the imagination more keenly and to enthral the feelings more completely. Upon a closer consideration it is seen that poetry and good prose have much in common, and that often it is really but a question of form, for lyric beauty glows in the phrases of our finest prose, and both heart and soul are moved by its powerful appeals.

There are narratives and arguments in both poetry and prose, and essays in the form of both.[144] For this reason our general method of study may be the same for both, except when form alone is considered.

The simplest and most universal form of literature is found in the catchy little nursery rhymes which the children of the nation learn at their cradles from the lips of their elders. In these, if careful search be made, may be found most of the elements which in broader and more complex forms appear in the favorite selections of maturer years. Following the nursery rhymes appear the fables, fairy tales, myths and legends that have formed the literature of earlier races and have come down to us to be amplified and placed in modern form for the children of this age.

It has been said that in every child is seen the history of the race, and that from infancy to manhood he typifies every stage of progress the race has seen. In early years he loves the fables where animals speak, feel and act like human beings; for in former times mankind believed the fables to be truth. A child peoples his world with fairies, good and bad, and believes in the limitless power of magic. A little later he loves the deeds of the legendary heroes and revels in the marvelous acts of the more than human beings in whom the ancients believed. Later the stirring adventures of the real heroes of discovery and exploration, the heroic exploits of warriors on land and sea, and the courageous acts of noble men and women in every walk in life appeal to him; while still later, real history seizes the imagination of the youth, who now looks for the causes of things and learns to trace out their effects. He learns to reason and to [145]separate truth from falsehood. Casting aside the wild tales of boyhood, he gathers up instead the facts of life and experience, and draws his inspiration from the noble works of the world’s greatest writers.

2. Reading Stories

In the development of literary taste, fiction plays as prominent a part as fact, and to fiction, considered in its broadest sense, every child is deeply indebted. Many err in thinking that a stern diet of facts is the only nutriment the child mind needs, and still others err only in a less degree when they look upon fiction as perhaps a necessary evil, but one which must be avoided as much as possible and set aside at the earliest possible moment. All fiction has in it some elements of truth, and they are the sources of the inspiration which comes to children when, in their world of make-believe, they live with their beautiful and heroic friends of the story books.

To read fiction properly is to get from it the truth, which, however, is often liable to be lost by the reader in the excitement of the tale, or to pass undetected in the easy-running sentences. As fictitious narratives in prose and poetry in the great majority of cases form the larger part of children’s reading, it is to them we should turn our attention. Before we begin their specific study a few principles claim our attention:

Good stories are the most helpful things a child can read.

The more intelligently and sympathetically a story is read, the more powerful for good it is.

[146]The imagination of a child is the most powerful agent in the development of his mind.

The imagination acts only to combine, enlarge, or diminish ideas that enter the mind. It never creates.

On the nature of the ideas presented will depend the character of the imagination.

A vivid imagination fed with bad ideas is most destructive to human character. Good stories with high ideals can do no harm: but evil stories, particularly if attractive and entertaining, will undo the careful teaching of years.

As evil must appear in life, it may appear in stories, but it must be brought in in such a way that it is known as evil, and children must be taught to recognize it as evil.

The motives which govern the words and actions of the persons who appear in a well-written story are more easily discerned than the motives which actuate the human beings around us. Thus a child who reads intelligently is helped to discover in the words and deeds of the people whom he meets the elements of real character. A study of the heroes of fiction is a study in human life.

Improbable stories and those presenting impossible or unreal things are not necessarily bad; in fact they are often good and distinctly serviceable. No matter how true they appear to a child, the time comes when he rejects them as impossible, although he may always be indebted to them for keen pleasure and the awakening of his imagination. Belief in the myth of Santa Claus never destroyed a child’s love and respect for his parents; faith in the unlimited power of good fairies never [147]made a child less able to recognize the laws of nature. It is the halfway truths that are troublesome; it is the little misrepresentations not liable to be detected that may permanently deceive.

To understand the good and the true, to discriminate between the bad and the false, to find pleasure that shall awaken, enliven and inspire, to arouse curiosity and interest in wider, more thoughtful and helpful study, are some of the important aims of story-reading.

Purposeful reading on the part of children may be brought about by direct instruction from parent or teacher or it may be acquired by the child through his own efforts. Manifestly the former is the really efficient way and its efficiency may be increased if it is carried on systematically. The following outline will assist those who have children in charge to do their part easily and in the best manner.

In reading any story there are several things to be considered if one is to get the most out of it. These things are mentioned in natural order in the outline, each item of which will be treated at length in the pages immediately following.

In reading stories consider:

  1. Primarily,
  2. A. The Plot.
  3. B. The Persons.
  4. C. The Scenes.
  5. Secondarily,
  6. D. The Lesson.
  7. E. The Author’s Purpose.
  8. F. The Method and Style of the Author.
  9. G. Emotional Power.

[148]In the volumes of Journeys Through Bookland, intended as they are for reading by children, it was not thought wise to make the studies extensive nor to attach much comment to the selections, lest the young readers weary of the task or neglect it entirely. In this volume a different case confronts us and we put the discussions on a higher plane. If these suggestions are used in the instruction of children, some care in adaptation will be necessary. The age and sex of the children, their advancement in their studies, their surroundings at home and in school, will all need to be taken into account in determining what selections to use and how far to carry the method. A good general principle to follow is to present to the children only so much as will hold their interest; present it in the manner that will best retain their interest, and change the subject or the method when interest flags.

Speaking in general terms, children are most interested in that of which they already know something, and prefer to study intensively something which is “easy to read.” The familiar selections of old readers often are found to be alive with interest, if studied by a new method. A method is understood most easily when it is applied to a simple subject; in this case, to a story in which the youngest children will be interested. A word of caution may be worth while: Especially with young children,—“Do not let the method be seen; it is the story that is to be brought out.”

It is evident that the Plot, the Persons and the Scenes of the story will interest children of all ages; that all will be benefited by the Lesson if it is judiciously presented; but that only the older chil[149]dren can be interested to any great extent in the Author’s Purpose, Method or Style or in the study of the Emotional Power of the selection, however much it may be felt.

Benjamin Franklin      Henry David Thoreau
Julia Ward Howe
Patrick Henry      William Prescott
Francis Parkman      James Fenimore Cooper

A. The Plot

The main line of events leading up to the climax of interest in the story may be called the plot.

It is the plot that furnishes excitement, and for perhaps the majority of readers constitutes the chief interest. In some stories the plot lies upon the surface all the time, and everything is made subservient to the purpose of holding interest, keeping up excitement and mystifying the reader until the climax is reached. Thrilling detective stories of the poorer class, exciting love stories and the cheap juvenile tales of Indian fighting, with heroines in dire distress and heroes struggling to rescue them, are illustrations of this type. No effort is made by the author to make real human beings of his characters, and little or no profit comes to the reader, while infinite harm may be done to minds craving excitement and finding in it nothing to stimulate an interest in better things.

In the better stories of greater writers the plot still plays an important part, but while it sustains interest unflaggingly, it carries with it other things which are of vastly greater importance. In such stories the persons are living, breathing realities, and the reader feels that he has added permanently to his list of tried and true friends. Tom Brown and Tiny Tim, who live only in stories, are as much [150]our friends as Henry Thompson and Rudolph De Peyster who live in the next block. The great writer, moreover, takes us with him into new places, among new scenes, so that Rugby becomes for a time our own school, and from Tim’s poor hearth there enters a warm Christmas glow into our doubting hearts. Although the plot is important, yet all stories that enthral the mind with exciting incidents must be regarded with suspicion until they prove their right to be considered real literature by furnishing higher interests or greater inspiration.

To analyze the plot of a story, however, is always helpful; to arrange the incidents in order, to determine which are necessary to the development of the story, and which are merely contributory to the general interest, is an interesting and stimulating thing. The plot of short stories may quite often be told in few words, and unless very complicated, the plot of a novel may be given in a few sentences. In some stories, however, the plot is so loosely constructed and of so little real importance that it is hardly more than a train of apparently equally important incidents. Again, the plot is oftentimes so complicated by secondary plots and incidents that even a careful reader becomes confused and loses his interest.

Let us consider the plot in such a story as Cinderella (Volume I, page 224). The main incidents of the plot arrange themselves as follows:

1. Cinderella’s mother dies.

2. Her father marries a widow, who has two daughters.

3. The stepmother sends Cinderella to the kitchen to work and to the garret to sleep.

[151]4. The king’s son gives a great ball to which he invites Cinderella’s stepsisters.

5. The stepsisters require Cinderella to assist them to dress, and abuse her shamefully.

6. The sisters go to the ball, and Cinderella sits by the kitchen fire wishing she might accompany them.

7. Her fairy godmother appears and sends her to the ball in fine style.

8. Cinderella, beautiful as a picture, dances with the prince, who falls in love with her.

9. The clock strikes twelve, and Cinderella goes back to the kitchen.

10. The stepsisters again mistreat Cinderella.

11. She goes to the ball the second day.

12. She forgets her godmother’s warning, and after midnight rushes back home, leaving a single slipper behind her.

13. The prince finds the slipper and searches for its owner.

14. The sisters fail in trying on the slipper, which is then fitted to Cinderella’s foot.

15. The fairy godmother restores to Cinderella the appearance of a princess.

16. The prince marries Cinderella, and she forgives her stepsisters.

A summary of these main incidents may be given in a few words, which will contain the skeleton of the plot. To say that a certain little girl who is shamefully treated by her stepsisters is aided by her fairy godmother to attend a ball given by a prince, who finally marries the little drudge, is to give the plot and really to tell all that the lax and superficial reader gets from the story he peruses.

[152]There are in this little story, however, a large number of minor incidents which contribute to the interest, and if sought and placed in their relation to the main events will be found to have added materially to the charm of the narrative.

For instance, when the fairy godmother sends Cinderella to the ball for the first time, children are led to a vivid interest in the event by a series of fascinating incidents, as follows:

1. The fairy sends her into the garden for a pumpkin.

2. The godmother, scooping out the inside of the pumpkin, leaves the rind, which she taps three times, and immediately it becomes a golden coach.

3. The fairy spies six mice alive in a trap.

4. Cinderella lets the mice out gently, and as the fairy touches them with her wand, each becomes a fine, dapple-gray horse.

5. Cinderella brings the rats, the largest of which the fairy converts into a handsome postilion with a fine pair of whiskers.

6. Cinderella finds the six lizards behind the watering pot, which become the six sedate and dignified footmen clothed in livery.

7. Cinderella’s rags are changed to wonderful clothing bedecked with costly jewels.

8. The beautiful glass slippers are provided.

How real these incidents all seem! What art is shown in bringing in real things to give food to the imagination and to stimulate the interest that carries the little reader away from herself where she may riot in the wonders her active mind can so readily conceive. Some time when she has grown [153]much older, and cares have wrinkled her smooth cheeks, she may see that the only fairy godmother who can clothe a Cinderella is hard work, and that mice become dapple-grays, and footmen are made from lizards behind watering pots only when she has earned the right to them herself. Just now it is enough for her to see that fairy godmothers come to good children only, and that good princes do not care if their wives have worked in the cinders, provided they are beautiful in gentleness and service to others.

Children like to understand what they read, and are never so happy as when talking over their favorite stories with those of their elders who have the power to enter sympathetically into the child world. By no means do all boys and girls like to be taught; in fact there are not many more certain ways of prejudicing a child against anything than by making it the subject of a formal lesson. Still, every child loves to learn, and is seeking at every moment to add to his information and to exercise his mind. Yet he must do it in his own way and with the things in which he is interested. If those facts are borne in mind, no parent will have difficulty in interesting his child or in leading the juvenile mind where it ought to go.

To apply these ideas to teaching the plot of such a story as Cinderella, let the parent who loves his children, and who wishes to be no stranger to their interests, joys and sorrows, seat himself among them some time and begin to read to them. Pausing now and then to explain some word whose meaning may be obscure to them, or to comment on some phase of the story that may be of special in[154]terest, let him read on to the end without attempting to do much more than to make the story a vivid tale where the interest centers in the incident.

When the story has ended, the pleasure has but just begun. Children like to ask questions, but they are no less ready to answer them if the questions are on things of interest, are related to the things which children know and are put in such a way that the genuine interest of the questioner is always evident. The I-know-it-all-and-you-know-nothing style of questioning; the I’m-the-master-and-you’re-the-pupil style; the because-I-ask-you-must-answer style are all fatal to interest, and will soon prevent that hearty sympathy and living spirit of coöperation that the parent wishes to secure.

If we suppose it is Cinderella that has been read, we may begin our questioning in this manner:

“That’s a good story. I like it, don’t you?—It is rather long, though; I’ve almost forgotten how it began.—O, was that the first thing that happened?—Was the father a rich man?—Did the story say he was rich or did you just think he was?—If he had not married a widow could things have happened as they did?—How did the widow and her daughters treat Cinderella?—If Cinderella had not been mistreated would her fairy godmother have come to her aid?—If the fairy had not appeared could the story have been the same?—How did the fairy make the golden coach?—Could she have made it out of anything else?—If she had made one just as good out of something else, could Cinderella have gone to the ball just as well?—If Cinderella went to the ball in good style did it [155]matter how she went?—If Cinderella had not gone to the ball, could she have met the prince?—Was it as important then that she should have a coach made from a pumpkin as that she should go to the ball and meet the prince?—Can you think of something else just as necessary to make the story come out right as that Cinderella should go to the ball?—Can you think of other things that must have happened just as they did to make the story come out right and just as it did?—Can you think of some things that might have happened differently and still not have hurt the story at all?—Let us put together all the things that must have happened to make the story right and leave out the things that could be changed. Now, what are they?—Now let us find a few things we could leave out or change. What are some of them?—If we left them out the story would come out the same, but would it be as good, as interesting?—Would you like Cinderella as well if these little things had been left out?—Would you think as much of the prince if he had found Cinderella right away as you do when he has to do so many hard things before he finds her?”

Every one must realize the impossibility of providing a scheme of questioning that would fit exactly any given case, but will not the above suggest a method that may lead to many a happy and profitable evening at the family round table? Even if there are older children in the group they will renew their interest in the old stories and get more good from them when it is seen that father and mother do not deem it beneath their dignity, nor outside the range of their interests, to read and study a fairy tale.

[156]In Journeys Through Bookland are here and there outlines and questions designed to lead the children to see for themselves what it is hoped others will take pleasure in showing them. Examples of the selections which contain outlines, questions and comments designed to help in the study of the plot may be found as follows:

Volume I, page 264. The Twin Brothers.
Volume I, page 395. Something.
Volume II, page 124. The Snow Queen.
Volume IV, page 174. Incident of the French Camp.
Volume VIII, page 364. The Tempest.
Volume IX, page 232. The Gold-Bug.

B. The Persons

In most stories, be they brief and simple or as long and complicated as the two-volume novel, the interest centers in one or more persons whose character the reader learns to understand, and whose success or failure, joy or grief gives him pleasure or excites his sympathy. All events center about the hero or heroes, and while other persons may be mentioned, and even win the reader’s attention for a time, they finally subside into the background and are remembered only as they contribute to greater interest in the principal characters.

Every author tries to make his heroes and heroines speak and act like real human beings and show their characters by their actions and their words. Sometimes, however, he tells the reader just how his people look, feel and think, and [157]describes their characters to give an interest in what happens to them. A more interesting method and a more artistic one is to leave the persons to disclose themselves as the story progresses, making them show by the way they act and by what they say under certain circumstances the strong and weak qualities in their natures. Nothing is more interesting than to watch the development of character in the hero of a story, particularly when it is accomplished under conditions which are themselves interesting.

In studying the persons in a story, then, the chief things to keep in mind are the following:

1. The principal person, or hero—the one, or perhaps the ones, in whose fortunes the reader is most vitally interested.

2. The secondary persons who are introduced merely to add variety or to throw light upon the character of the hero, or to assist to bring about the events which center about him.

3. The appearance, dress and manners of the persons.

4. The ways in which the author makes his persons lifelike and shows the reader what they really are.

5. The characters of the persons as they appear or as they are developed in the progress of the story. This is the really important part of the study, the one which becomes increasingly interesting as readers grow older and the stories they study become more and more complex and difficult. The study of the characters of Shakespeare’s heroes and heroines is more than interesting pastime for men and women—it is good, hard work.

[158]For a simple example of what is meant, let us undertake briefly the study of The Hardy Tin Soldier (Volume I, page 148).

  1. 1. The hero is the Hardy Tin Soldier himself.
  2. 2. Persons of secondary importance are:
  3. a. The twenty-four brothers.
  4. b. The little boy.
  5. c. The Dancing Lady.
  6. d. The Goblin.
  7. e. The servant-maid.
  8. f. The two street boys.
  9. g. The Water Rat.
  10. h. The fish.
  11. i. The cook.

Of these the Dancing Lady is second only to the lame Soldier; the Goblin, the two street boys, the little boy and the Water Rat are given considerable prominence, while the twenty-four brothers, the servant-maid, the fish and the cook are introduced merely to effect a certain incident or to give an air of truthfulness to the events. This is a fairy tale, and in it we must be faithful to our juvenile friends, considering the Goblin, the Water Rat and the fish as real persons, and the Tin Soldier as a very human being.

3. In appearance the Tin Soldier was tall and erect, but alas! he had only one leg! His uniform was red and blue and very splendid. He carried his musket across his shoulder as a marching soldier should, kept his eyes straight to the front, and stood very firmly upon his one foot. In the fire he lost the tinsel and the color from his uniform, and when the Dancer joined him he melted into a little tin heart.

[159]4. While Andersen tells outright some of the characteristics of the little Soldier, he leaves others to be inferred from acts. The Soldier thinks, and sometimes the reader is told just what he thinks, but never once does he speak—to him silence is golden. Yet not once do we miss his voice, and it is only when we have finished that we suddenly think what a silent little body he is. That is part of the author’s art. The Soldier never once moves his eyes, or changes his attitude; the author never forgets that he is a tin soldier, but makes his every act consistent with his stiffness and rigidity. That is more of the author’s skill. There were other soldiers, twenty-four of them, and all were brothers. A less skilful author would have stopped in the telling of the fact, but Andersen adds in his whimsical, charming manner, “for they were all born of one tin spoon.” All the other brothers were perfect; our Soldier had but one leg, yet “it was just this soldier who became remarkable.” Even the missing leg creates an interest, and Andersen uses it to center our attention upon his little hero.

5. Andersen tells us the following things about the Tin Soldier’s character:

a. He stood firmly even with but one leg to balance himself upon.

b. He thought his box was not a place for a lady-wife who lived in a castle. This showed his humility.

c. Yet he was very human—“I must make her acquaintance.”

d. When he fell from the window, he put his leg straight up, stuck his helmet downward and his bayonet between the paving stones.

[160]e. He would not call loudly to the servant-maid because he was in the uniform of a soldier.

f. While in the boat rushing down the gutter, he trembled, but he never changed countenance, and still looked straight before him.

g. He sighed for the little Lady’s company, while passing through the drain.

h. He would not answer the Water Rat.

i. He stiffened himself and would not move an eyelid when the paper boat sank.

j. He lay unmoved even in the darkness of the fish’s body.

k. He was not at all proud when he was rescued.

l. When he saw the Dancer again he very nearly wept tin tears, but he thought how improper that would be, and kept them back.

m. He stood firm and shouldered his musket although the fire, or grief, made all the colors leave him.

n. When the Dancer joined him in the flames he melted into a heart-shaped lump of tin.

What a fine little Tin Soldier he proves to be! Could any one be more loyal to his profession? Body erect, eyes to the front, musket shouldered, every muscle at attention all the time, no matter if he had but one leg to stand upon. He was brave as a lion, although once in the presence of the direst danger he trembled a little, but he drove every sign of fear from his face and stood his ground manfully. After he had once seen the Dancer and realized how similar her trials must be to his, how constant he was in his devotion! At his death what could be more fitting than to see him melt into a [161]little heart-shaped mass, the symbol of his courage and constancy! Why should we call him the hardy Tin Soldier; would it not have been better if the translator had called him the constant Tin Soldier?

Now, when we give the hero of this pretty little story so much attention, does it not seem worth while? Will not we, grown men and women, find so much in the hero that we may gather our young friends about us and lead them to see how admirable a character he has and how beautifully Andersen has shown it? If we talk not to the boys and girls, but with them, if we invite their questions as to the Tin Soldier’s character, and by our informal questions lead them to appreciate the strength, courage, and devotion of the little toy, will they not get some taste for a good story well written, and perhaps, learn some little lessons that will help them to be better men and women?

Journeys furnishes you with many another fine story, equally interesting. There are a number of the tales, too, which may call for your own best efforts in the study of character, and from which even you may derive some genuine help in the heavy problems life thrusts upon you.

In many places, too, the present writer has appended outlines and questions which the young people themselves may like to pore over and which may assist the inquiring parent even more than the brief study above. The following are particularly suggestive:

Volume I, page 224. Cinderella.
Volume IV, page  93. A Dog of Flanders.
Volume VIII, page 335. Dream Children.
Volume VIII, page 364. The Tempest.


C. The Scenes

One of the benefits of good reading is that it fills the mind with beautiful pictures of places that we cannot visit or that live only in the eyes of the imagination. A powerful descriptive writer takes his reader with him, and by graphic words makes visible and almost real the scenes among which they wander. One may sit in the light of his study lamp during a black northern winter and read himself away from the chill and dreariness into some warm, sunny clime where flowers of new and rare forms flaunt their gorgeous colors and perfume the air with strange delicious odors; great trees with tufts of far-reaching leaves cast their welcome shade, and long vines trail gracefully from their living supports. Wonderful birds with brilliant plumage flit about, as through the openings in the trees glimpses are given of long waves rolling gently upon the glistening beach. It is only necessary to give free rein to the imagination and to visualize the scenes that the skilful writer describes.

There are people of such literal minds that descriptive writing fails to appeal to them. It is their misfortune. To others every word brings a picture that appears almost as vivid and as full of detail as those upon which the material eye gazes. Like any other power of the mind, this may be cultivated, even among the mature. Children are highly gifted with this power, to begin with, and only a little training is necessary to make them use the faculty freely for their own delight. Suggest [163]to them the outlines of a picture, and see how rapidly they will fill in the details.

No two can see precisely the same imaginary picture; in fact, no two people looking at the same landscape will see precisely the same things, and if they are asked to describe what they see, it will appear that things which are most vivid to one may have made little impression upon the other. It is not to be expected, then, that two children reading a description of some scene will get the same picture of it. Each will color his own from the previous impressions and experiences he has had. Yet to each the picture may be very real and very pleasing. Good teachers of reading spend much time and effort in teaching the young to visualize the scenes of which they read, not only because of the pleasure it will afford the young when they are mature, but because the power to see vividly is of greatest assistance in every department of study.

In some stories little attention is given to the scene; in fact, the persons might appear anywhere and not be in the least affected by their surroundings, and the events might have happened in China as well as in England. Even then, however, there will be found mention of many things that seem to give locality to the story. At the other extreme are writers who lose themselves in descriptive flights and pause to describe a sunset while the heroine is perishing, and the hero must stand helpless until the author has painted the last color in the sky. In the best literature for children, description is so mingled with narrative that while there are fine pictures to see, they do not fall in the way of the events which the young reader follows with [164]such breathless interest. In fact, the pictures aid the narrative.

There is of course in every story much descriptive writing that does not apply to the scenes among which the plot is laid, yet it is well to make a study of description from the scenes, for it is here that the author has his greatest opportunity for pictorial writing.

If the story is brief there may be but one scene. Everything may happen in one place, and none of the surroundings may change. For instance, in the fable of The Dog and His Shadow (Volume I, page 63) there is but one incident, which happens in one place. Such a simple story, however, furnishes the material for a good picture, and in bringing it out to a child who reads or hears the fable for the first time, the parent is giving good service that will lead to keener appreciation and higher power of interpretation in his child’s later years. What can be made out of this picture, and how should it be done? Let us see:

The fable is told in simple words, and only plain facts are stated. What are the elements of our picture? We can find only six, viz.: a big dog; a big piece of meat; day; a river; a narrow bridge; the dog’s image. Now if we were to draw a picture to illustrate this fable we would begin with a general sketch. Should we show a level country, or are there hills about? Is it barren and desolate, or are there trees? Are there houses near? Where did the dog get his meat? Is it a large river, or only a small one? The bridge is narrow; has it a railing along the side? Would the dog be liable to see his image if it was a wagon bridge? Was it then [165]a mere foot bridge? Would a single plank across a small stream answer the purpose? The dog is big; is it a dog that knows and likes the water? Would you think it could be a Newfoundland dog? What kind of a dog is it? It is day time; is the sun shining? Do you imagine it is morning or noon, or that it is toward evening? In making your pictures would you draw the trees to show the leaves blown by the wind? If the dog sees his image, is the water smooth or rough? Is the stream rapid and rough, or smooth and placid?

While such questioning is going on both speaker and listener are seeing more clearly every minute. Besides, in order to see accurately they are drawing on their own previous knowledge and experience, and are reasoning just as truly as though they were solving a problem in arithmetic.

In every picture we form in our reading there are certain elements that we must accept and include because the writer gives them to us. Other elements suggest themselves, and we accept them and put them in place or reject them entirely. In the fable just discussed we are told that the dog is big, the piece of meat is big, and the bridge is narrow. We may not see a small dog with a little piece of meat on a big, wide bridge. Houses, trees, sedges on the river bank, children playing by the side of the path, spring, summer or autumn foliage, or even snowclad shores with black water between—any of these we may put into our picture, for the fable is silent on these points. We must be accurate, and the parent can do no better service in reading than to make his child see accurately whatever he sees at all.

[166]The artist studies the selection he means to illustrate in just this way, and then draws his picture. When we see his picture we may accept it as good and true to the conditions, or call it poor and inapplicable. We should not be hasty, but should try to get his point of view before we criticise. If he violates any of the fixed conditions of the story his work is bad; if he gives us his interpretation and violates no fixed conditions, his work may be good or bad according to the standards we set up: are we always certain that our standards are correct?

In the fable The Fox and the Stork (Volume I, page 73) the artist has given us two beautiful pictures which in themselves tell almost the entire story, and his pictures are almost wholly from his own imagination, for there was given him to work with very little more than a fox, a stork, a wide dish and a vase. Such a pictorial imagination as he possessed is what should be cultivated in children. If they can be encouraged to draw what they see, they not only fix their own impressions, but they learn to see more vividly and more accurately.

In long stories there are many scenes; it may be that no two incidents happen in the same place. In the drama, which contains all the elements of the story, the scenes are limited in number, are fixed and unchanging and after the reader has arranged his scenery he may give his attention exclusively to the dialogue because he knows there will be no change in the scene. In the story the reader may need to be constantly alert, as when his hero takes a long and perilous journey the scenes may change with the quickness of a kaleidoscope, and yet all be important to the narrative. The more complex the [167]story, the greater the variety in scene, and consequently the greater the opportunities for study. It is interesting work for children to pick out the scenes, to count them and then to compare them. Some of them are more vividly portrayed than others. Why? Some are more important as descriptions, and some because of the incidents occurring in them.

Sometimes, especially in speaking of the drama, the word scene is applied not only in its literal sense, but also to include not merely the place but the incidents that happen in the place, as well.

For instance, we may say, “The quarrel between Brutus and Cassius is a wonderful scene in Julius Cæsar.” Again, the word is used sometimes to mark the division of a play, as when we speak of the second scene in the first act of Macbeth. For our purposes, however, in our early reading with children, let us use it to signify only the place where events happen.

An author may tell us at the beginning of a story that the scene is laid in London, or in Calcutta, or in the Black Forest; but unless he employs some method of giving a vivid impression of the setting of the story, we soon lose sight of locality. Sometimes, of course, it is not necessary that we should remember the place—the story moves on independent of scene; but other stories depend in part for their interest and even for their plot upon their setting. In such cases, the author, by reference to the natural features characteristic of a region, or to the peculiar traits or mannerisms or turns of speech of his characters, keeps before us the place in which the scene is laid. Such pecul[168]iarities of a place or its inhabitants, when introduced into a story, are given the name of local coloring.

In A Christmas Carol (Volume VI, page 244), Dickens meant that we should be conscious throughout not only of a Christmas atmosphere, but of an English Christmas atmosphere. The references to the Christmas feeling are too obvious to require pointing out, but the methods by which the author makes us conscious that we are in London do not show so clearly at first sight. By a study of the paragraph which begins in the middle of page 253, and of the one immediately following it, we may get some idea of these methods.

“Meanwhile the fog and darkness thickened so, that the people ran about with flaring links.” A London boy would not need a footnote to tell him that the fogs of London are famous; that they are at times so thick that all traffic is obliged to cease. Nor would he need to be told that links are torches of tow and pitch, which enterprising London boys provided themselves with at foggy times, that they might earn money by piloting people about. The word brazier, too, is in commoner use in England than it is in the United States. The poulterers’ trade is another English touch.

Every one knows that the Lord Mayor is the chief official of the city of London, but perhaps we do not all know that Mansion House, with its great banqueting-hall where the state dinners are held, is the residence of the Lord Mayor.

Now-a-days we all know what English plum pudding is—it is served at many American tables on Christmas day. But nothing is more character[169]istically English, unless, indeed, it is the roast beef, not turkey, which the tailor was planning to have for his Christmas dinner.

Probably no one but an English writer, writing of an English subject, would refer in Dickens’s off-hand manner to Dunstan, the English statesman and archbishop who accomplished so much for religion that he came to be known as Saint Dunstan.

One of the most characteristically English touches in the two paragraphs is the reference to the carol sung by the boy at Scrooge’s keyhole. Other countries have Christmas carols, but the custom of singing them before people’s houses is peculiarly common in England. The carol of which the first two lines are quoted is perhaps the one most frequently sung.

These instances will give some idea of what is meant by local color, and of the methods used in securing it. It will be an interesting study to find other words and phrases in the remainder of the story which strengthen our feeling of the “Englishness” of A Christmas Carol.

Journeys Through Bookland furnishes an abundance of good stories of fine descriptive power. A few of the best are the following:

Volume II, page 405. The King of the Golden River.
Volume IV, page 174. Incident of the French Camp.
Volume IV, page 322. The Attack on the Castle.
Volume VI, page 173. Sohrab and Rustum.


D and E. The Lesson and the Author’s Purpose

The stories of the present day are many of them written with the avowed purpose of mere entertainment. The author is satisfied if his work sells, and cares nothing for the lesson he may teach, although by means of false views of life he may do ineffaceable harm to the minds of his readers. Many of the popular magazines and other periodicals, not even excepting some of those published especially for children, are full of light reading which vitiates the taste and may even undermine character by its seductive influence. In the effort to be entertaining the recent writers for children have only too frequently sacrificed strength and virility to a fascinating brilliancy that seizes the imagination of youthful readers and gives no material for subsequent growth. The earlier writers, those who produced the great classics which still are the most inspiring things in our language, were actuated by nobler motives. To them literature was not a trade, but a high calling, to which the writer came as a priest approaches his altar. Such a writer held a high purpose and kept it in view, often giving hours of thought and the best of his genius to work that the modern story writer neglects entirely or passes over with hasty evasion.

The purpose of the author is always a subject of interesting inquiry, and whenever it appears a serious one it is worthy our careful study. The novel is often the medium of conveying the results [171]of deep study into human character, and a few of the greatest stories have been epoch-making in their effect upon the human race.

As the fiction which children read has a profound influence in the formation of character, it should always be examined with greatest care to see that the author’s purpose is a laudable one and that he carries it out in such a way that the lesson is wholesome and salutary. Some stories may be entertaining merely—they are for the play-spells of the imagination; others should be instructive—they are for hours of study and reflection; a third class should be invigorating and inspiring, full of good lessons of high moral import—they are for times of stress, or the still hours when character is made.

If, however, the purpose of the author is too evident, if his lesson is too obvious, none are so quick to catch the fact as wide-awake childish readers. The author who lugs instruction and information into his stories will find the boys and girls skipping all that he values, or laying down his books with laughter and derision. The writer who moralizes may find his work to be immoral in its effect on his juvenile readers, or may see his stories relegated to the overloaded bargain counters.

In the same sense, it is often unwise to dwell long upon the moral of a story or even to point it out if it be at all evident. There is no phase of teaching reading that requires such careful thought or such fine discrimination from the parent as that which relates to the lesson of the story. It is often better to let the selection do its own work than to try to elaborate its purpose. Yet a skilful and [172]sympathetic leader, one quick to read the feelings of his young listeners, may often render his greatest service in free conversations about what the story teaches. It would seem that no one could do this quite as well as the parent who has known his boys and girls from infancy and can see in his offspring those very traits of character which have been to his own advantage or detriment.

More will be accomplished by questioning with occasional comments than by preaching, more by showing the help the story gives to the questioner than by trying to foist its assistance upon the hearer. “Now there is a fine lesson for you, my boy. I want you to remember it,” is not half so effective as “That idea seems good to me. I’ve often thought about it but never seemed to realize it so much. I shall try to remember it.” Wouldn’t you, dear parent, rather learn with your friend than to have him always instructing you? “What do you think of that, John?” is much more apt to help the boy than “You must see it this way, John.” Are you not, dear parent, rather proud of your own judgment, and do you not suppose your son has inherited your feeling to some extent at least?

We heard the old fables in our babyhood and read them in Latin as we grew older, and we still are fond of them, though the “morals” have long since been forgotten. Those wise lessons so graphically presented have helped to form our characters, but not through the formal “moral” at the end. Beware of “Haec fabula docet.”189-1

[173]As a further suggestion of method we may consider for a few moments that beautiful but sad little story of Andersen’s, The Fir Tree (Volume II, page 68). Every good story is worth reading more than once, and every good method of teaching involves more than one reading. In this instance as children read or listen, they are first interested in the story as a story; that is, in the plot. They enjoy the adventures of the Fir Tree and may feel for it in its misfortunes, but their interest is in the tale. When they have read to the end, however, they will be interested in the appearance of the tree, their hero, and in the other characters which give vitality to the story. Then the scenes may be talked over, and varied enough they are to excite real interest as the story is read now with the definite purpose of seeing the pictures Andersen has sketched. With all this in mind the children are ready to think over it again and learn the lesson the great prose-poet meant to give. If the character of the Fir Tree is well understood, the lesson almost tells itself, for ambition, arrogance and discontent are seen as the traits that make for unhappiness. The Fir Tree might have been happy many times if it had only been content. At the worst it gave happiness to others, and therein, perhaps, filled its place in the world. Human beings must often find their pleasure in giving happiness to others and must be content to know that they are of service to others. Some of the lessons of The Fir Tree are rather hard for little folks to understand, and there is something in the charming story for those older readers that have hearts young enough to see the meaning.

[174]Study the purpose in the following:

Volume I, page 414. The Ugly Duckling.
Volume II, page 124. The Snow Queen.

F. The Method and Style of the Author

Small children are not interested in considering the way in which an author tells his story, nor the methods he employs to secure attention and excite interest. Yet there comes a time when such a study is highly pleasing to inquiring youth. It is desirable always that children should early begin to appreciate the difference in the way plots are handled, to discriminate between a tale that is well told and one that is poorly told. At an early age boys delight in stories that are full of the excitement of adventure, conflict and mystery. Their craving is natural enough and must be satisfied. At such time they will read little or nothing else unless they are driven to it, and to compel them to read what they do not want is to make them hate reading for the time being and perhaps permanently. In time they will outgrow the taste—it is nothing to be feared if properly guided. The danger lies in the fact that they may find the excitement they wish in stories that are really immoral, or that are so poorly written that they destroy all taste for fine literature. The right course is to supply plenty of reading in which excitement abounds, where Indians stalk the woods, pirates rove the seas, and knights fight for their lady-loves, but always in stories that are so well told that the taste for good reading is cultivated unconsciously [175]as the boy reads. Treasure Island is bloody enough for the most exacting boy, and it bears many a reading, for it is so charmingly told that long after the cry, “Pieces of eight, pieces of eight,” has ceased to make the welcome chills run up and down the boy’s back, he returns to the story for the pleasure he finds in the style of Stevenson. In later years the boy will write better and speak better for having read the story.

However, the parent may do much to help his child along by calling attention to vivid figures of speech, to happy expressions of all kinds, and to those graceful touches of humor and pathos that are so characteristic of Andersen, Stevenson, Ruskin, Kingsley, and other great writers for boys and girls. No child who can read well for himself is too young to appreciate a good figure of speech if the comparison is based upon something falling within his own experience. Who is so young, or so old, for that matter, that he will not thrill a little at Longfellow’s lines:

“Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.”

What does the poet say? “The stars appeared in the sky.” In saying it what does he make us feel? As we repeat the lines we see the immense expanse of the heavens, and as we gaze, the sparkling dots of light appear silently, slowly, one after another, just as beautiful flowers appear as the early morning light gilds the green meadows. We think, too, in the poet’s fanciful way, that these are no common [176]flowers, but exquisite tokens of the loving care the angels have over us, and a gentle reminder that always should we trust in them.

Often the highest sentiment is clothed in lines whose figures, most beautiful in themselves, exalt the spirit as ordinary expressions could never do. At the close of The Chambered Nautilus, Oliver Wendell Holmes sings:

“Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from Heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!”

Is it not well for the parent to lead his child to see such things in literature, to search for them, and when they are found to treasure them and bring them for mutual enjoyment into the family circle?

G. Emotional Power

Fiction appeals strongly to feeling and stimulates the growth of that series of great emotions that make so large a part of character. It may excite ambition and a thirst for power or wealth or give an impulse to labor and self-denial; it may teach us sympathy and love for our fellow-men, or arouse anger, hatred and defiance; it may give us a keener discrimination of right from wrong and lead us far on [177]our search for truth, even into the calm of religious beliefs.

We see the play of emotions in the imaginary persons that pass before us, and as we learn to love our new friends, their influence passes out to us through the words of the gifted author. Bob Cratchit’s tender love (Volume VI, page 304) makes us more considerate of the sick and helpless; Tom Brown’s manly defense of his praying schoolboy friend (Volume V, page 472) leads us to new respect and admiration for the boy who lives up to his principles, and drives us, perhaps, to begin again upon the duties we have neglected.

By studying with the children the feelings the characters in a story exhibit, the parent may give the best of moral lessons without the appearance of so doing and more effectively than by countless reprimands and formal orders.

As a suggestion of method we offer an outline based upon Rab and His Friends (Volume VI, page 99), one of the most touching stories ever written, a series of incidents that appeal to every holy emotion.

Rab, the great mastiff, claims first place in our minds, dog though he is; but James and Ailie are such lovable beings that we never can forget them.

The story has been read through; we have followed the simple incidents to their pathetic climax; we have learned to know Rab by sight and to recognize his sterling character; James the honest, tender-hearted carrier, and gentle, suffering Ailie, his wife, have taken their places among the dear friends our imagination has created; we have noted the power of the author, his humor, his scholarly[178] English and his sympathetic touch. We may have read the story more than once—at any rate we have read portions of it several times, so we can trace the emotions that are felt by the noble dog.

Page 100: When the little white bull terrier fastens himself upon Rab’s throat and the strong muzzle prevents the big fellow from defending himself, “his whole frame stiffens with indignation and surprise.” “He looked a statue of anger and astonishment.”

After Rab had been released from his muzzle and had killed the little terrier, “he looked down at his victim appeased, ashamed and amazed.”

Page 103: When his master aimed a kick at him, he “drew cringing up” and “slunk dismayed under the cart.”

When his master spoke kindly, “‘Rab, ma man, puir Rabbie,’” “the stump of a tail rose up, the ears were cocked, the eyes filled, and were comforted”; Rab showed pride and happiness again.

Page 104: He was pleased when the medical student scratched his huge head, and anxious, when no notice was taken of him.

When he first came to the hospital he felt pride and condescension, “like the Duke of Wellington entering a subdued city.”

Page 106: When James handed Ailie from the cart, “Rab looked on concerned and puzzled.”

Page 106: In the consulting room Rab was filled with suspicion and uneasiness; he was “grim and comic,” and eyed all three.

When Ailie was put to bed and Rab was permitted to enter the room he “slunk in,” half-ashamed, but fully determined.

[179]Page 107: Rab valued himself highly, but felt no conceit: he “had the dignity and simplicity of great size,” and the “gravity of all great fighters.”

Page 109: Rab felt perplexity and anger, “forever cocking his ear and dropping it as fast,” when Ailie entered the operating room.

During the operation he felt sympathy for the suffering of his mistress, anger and revengefulness at her tormentors; “his ragged ear was up, and importunate; he growled and gave now and then a sharp, impatient yelp; he would have liked to have done something to that man.”

Afterward in Ailie’s room he felt fear, anxiety and a desire to help, and showed “how meek and gentle he could be, occasionally, in his sleep, letting us know he was demolishing some adversary.”

Page 110: Rab continued to feel a sense of depression, sadness and anxiety; during his walks with the medical student he was “sombre and mild; declined doing battle—submitted to sundry indignities.”

While Ailie seemed to be recovering Rab felt kindliness and subdued joy, though resentment lay close beneath the surface; he was “reconciled, and even cordial,” had “made up his mind that as yet nobody required worrying,” but was always prepared for it.

Page 111: As Ailie grew worse, grief and fear began to take possession of Rab; he “subsided under the table into a dark place, and was motionless.”

Page 112: When Ailie called in delirium, her strained voice filled Rab with surprise, astonishment and a sense of guilt; he started up “surprised, [180]and slinking off as if he were to blame somehow, or had been dreaming he heard.”

Page 114: At Ailie’s death Rab was overwhelmed with grief; he licked her hand which was hanging down “all over carefully, looked at her, and returned to his place under the table.”

The dog’s feeling of duty, obligation and devotion was shown when he leaped upon the bottom of the bed “and settled himself, his head and eye to the dead face.”

Page 115: Rab remained in statu quo till the carrier returned; love and devotion filled his heart.

Page 115: His grief wholly absorbed him; he did not notice his medical friend when the cart left the hospital.

Page 117: After the carrier’s death, grief wore down the dog’s brave spirit; he became discouraged, impatient, resentful; “he was aye gur gurrin’, and grup gruppin’.” Yet he was faithful to his trust, for he was only impatient and resentful when a stranger came and interfered in the business of the dead carrier.

It is evident that the study of emotions is to a great extent a study of character, and that in this instance, we have given a tabulation of Rab’s traits of character. It is through the showing of his feelings that Rab influences us. A little introspection shows that we are feeling just what the dog feels, or that some emotion is aroused in us that responds to the feeling of the dog. We are not exactly surprised when the bulldog grips Rab, but we are indignant that he should have no chance to defend himself—we would be among the first to slit the muzzle. We may not be pleased that Rab killed the [181]bulldog, but we are glad that Rab defended himself. We realize the strength of the mastiff’s powerful jaws, and are not amazed at what he did—we are now rather inclined to feel sympathy for the helpless little terrier.

So we might go on incident by incident and compare our feelings with those of Rab, but that would require much space and perhaps it would not be of great benefit to the reader, for our feelings may not be his feelings, and the things which arouse him may have little effect upon another. It is sufficient to call attention to the value of analysis, and show that self-study is a valuable adjunct to reading.

It is well that most children are not likely to indulge to any great extent in introspection, for too much is injurious. However, it can do the young no harm for them to study the feelings of others, and now and then examine their own emotions. By so doing, they may learn that some reading, which is destructive to peace and productive of unpleasant or evil feelings, should be avoided.

General Principles and Reflections

The studies so far given are comprehensive, and are suited to all forms of fictitious narrative. Most of the illustrations have been drawn from the simpler tales in the earlier volumes, but the studies are equally applicable to the more difficult selections of the later volumes, and may be easily adapted by the parent to children of any age. The restrictions of space have compelled us to offer but one set of [182]studies here, but there are many simpler and many more difficult ones scattered through the books where the juvenile readers will find them, and it is hoped become interested in them. In another place we have shown parents how these may be found easily and used consecutively if they wish so to use them.

The studies here given serve to systematize the work and enable parents to see the logic of the plans. Children are not interested in the studies as such, nor in the plan, and, in fact, are liable to be repelled if the machinery of instruction is evident.

Fortunately, children like to read many times the things they enjoy, and should always be encouraged to do so. But they are likely to read stories over and over again, for the plot only, and to become so fascinated by it as never to notice the more valuable and intrinsically more interesting things the narrative contains.

Yet every person who reads or tells stories to young children has without doubt often noticed how insistent they are upon verbal accuracy. The story must be told the third time just as it was the first and second times. This means that they are sensitive to the thing as a perfect whole, and feel that any change mars the beauty of the story as a scratch mars the face of a favorite doll, or a broken seat spoils the toy buggy.

There comes a time when, if you give a boy a mechanical toy, he is more interested in how it is made than in the running of it. He wants to “take to pieces” everything he has. Then he will enjoy analytical work on a story if he is led to it intel[183]ligently. Then the old stories come in for new readings, “to see how they are made,” to find something in them that he never found before.

The style of reading which a child does when he is “looking for something” is very different from his reading when he is absorbed in the story. Suppose he is trying to find out what kind of a man is James, in Rab and His Friends. He forgets for a time the story, and reads rapidly along, merely running his eye over the pages, watching intently for the word James, or the word carrier. When either of the words appears he stops to read carefully. He may have to go back a few words, perhaps to the beginning of a paragraph, all the time with his attention fixed exclusively upon what is said about James. When he has read it on the first page, he skims along to the next one and stops again. This is reading intelligently for a purpose, and is really one of the most valuable kinds of reading, the kind he will use most frequently when he is a man, the one that will save time for him when in later years he most needs it. It is the style of reading, too, that is much neglected in the schools.

To analyze the character of the hero of a story is as practical a lesson in life as any child can gain. In trying to discern the springs of action, in seeing how words and acts show character, and how dress and appearance indicate what a person really is, he is learning to understand his acquaintances and to judge whether they merit his trust and confidence, or are to be regarded with suspicion and disdain. This is the practical wisdom without which many a man has found himself the victim of misplaced confidence, or allowed himself to be led into tempta[184]tions he could not resist by those who professed friendship for him.

Again, when studying the scenes, a child is learning to picture vividly and exactly, and is training his mind to close discrimination. He is training himself to avoid the mistakes that the careless reader makes. Many a man has found himself paying for careless reading, because he did not see a thing exactly as it was described to him.

At the risk of repetition we have argued again for the reading of stories in the different ways and for the different purposes suggested, for we know that the parent who will follow these plans will interest his children, will see them improve, and will find them growing nearer to him, while he will be more of a companion, less of a ruler. In so doing he may forget some of the cares of the day and find himself growing younger, more contented and happier as his family reaches the age when it can take care of itself. Then, later, when the long years of old age have come, it may be that the parents will discover that while they read and worked with their children they taught themselves to find in reading a solace for their loneliness.

It is scarcely necessary to say that many of these latter comments and suggestions are as applicable to reading other kinds of literature as they are to the reading of stories, but stories form so large a part of a child’s reading that it has seemed best to place them in this connection. Many essays contain something of narration, and not infrequently an incident forms the basis of a beautiful lyric. In print these studies may appear formal and forbidding, but where they are presented in a conversa[185]tional manner, they become attractive and inspiring.

Completed Studies

The Hare and the Tortoise

(Volume I, page 71)

A. The Plot. The slow Tortoise and the speedy Hare ran a race. The Hare, full of conceit, loitered and slept by the way, while the Tortoise won in his plodding fashion.


B. The Persons. There are three characters in the story: the Hare, the Tortoise and the Fox.

1. The Hare. He is a small, long-legged animal, who can leap long distances and run like the wind. In character he is unkind, impudent, proud and lazy.

2. The Tortoise. He is a clumsy, short-legged turtle, who carries a heavy box-shell around his body. He cannot jump at all, and he moves very [186]slowly, flat on the ground, even his tail dragging in the dust. But he is wise, steady, not easily discouraged, and sticks to his task till it is done.

3. The Fox. He is a wise old judge, who cannot let the loser go without a word of advice.

C. The Scene. The race takes place along a dusty road on a hot day. There is a big clover patch, where the Hare rests, and at the end of the course is a cool and delightful brook or river.

D. The Author’s Purpose and the Lesson. The author of this old fable intended to teach the lesson that he puts into the last sentence, “Steady-going wins the race.”

E. The Method and Style of the Author. His method is to teach a truth by means of an interesting story. His style is graphic and dramatic. He gives three animals the power to talk, and he makes them talk so that they seem almost like real human beings. At any rate, he makes us see the character of each very clearly.

F. Emotions. We see in the Hare the feelings of conceit, contempt, and laziness; of surprise, fear, and excitement; of chagrin and disappointment. In the Tortoise we see a little of resentment and some self-confidence; then courage, determination, and persistence; at last, calm enjoyment and joy at winning. The Fox looks on as we do, and has confidence in the Tortoise and a little spice of contempt for the Hare. Then he is pleased that the Tortoise should win, and enjoys giving the Hare a stinging bit of advice.

G. Conclusion. It is because the little fable has so much in it that it has lived for centuries, and you have only to speak to any cultivated person about [187]the Hare and the Tortoise to remind him that “Steady-going wins the race.”

The preceding analysis shows what a parent should expect to bring out from a little child, reading the fable for the first time, or from an older boy or girl making a careful study of fables. In both cases, however, the facts should be brought out by questions, with the expectation that the juveniles would not express themselves in anything like the words given above.

The Fox and the Crow

(Volume I, page 64)

The following analysis of The Fox and the Crow shows the method as it might appear in actual use with small children. It should be remembered, however, that no two persons will ask the same questions and that no two children will answer them in the same manner. Bring out the thoughts and keep the children interested while it is being done. Rapid, clearcut questions which do not suggest the answer are the kind to use. Whenever there is hesitation or doubt, refer to the story. The story, plus the child’s imagination and reason, must give the answers. If other facts are needed, the questioner should supply them or show where they may be learned.

A. The Plot.

Question. What was the first thing that happened in this little story?

Answer. The Fox saw a Crow fly off with a piece of cheese in its mouth.

Q. What next?

A. The Crow lit on a branch of a tree.

[188]Q. Next?

A. The Fox made up his mind to get the cheese.

Q. What did he do then?

A. He walked to the foot of the tree.

Q. What next did he do?

A. He flattered the Crow and asked her to sing.

Q. What did the Crow do?

A. She cawed and dropped the cheese.

Q. What did the Fox do?

A. He snapped up the cheese and ran off.

Q. Did he do anything more?

A. Yes. He gave the Crow some advice.

Q. Now tell me the story in as few words as possible.

A. A Fox saw a Crow with some cheese in her mouth. He flattered her and asked her to sing. When she cawed she dropped the cheese and the Fox ran away with it.

B. The Persons.

Question. Can a Fox talk, or a Crow sing?

Answer. No.

Q. Do they seem like persons in this story?

A. Yes.

Q. Let us think of them as persons, and see what kind of people they are. We will talk about the Fox, first. What do you think he looked like?

A. Like a saucy little dog with bright eyes, a long sharp nose, and a bushy tail.

Q. When he said, “That’s for me,” what did you learn about him?

A. That he was hungry; that he was greedy; that he meant to get the cheese.

[189]Q. When he began to flatter the Crow, what did you think of him?

A. That he was sharp; that he was trying to fool the Crow.

Q. What did you think of him when he said that her voice was finer than the voices of the other birds, just as her coat was?

A. He was really flattering. Before, he was telling some truth, for her feathers were glossy and her eyes were bright.

Q. Did he really think she could sing?

A. No. He knew she could only caw. He was lying, then.

Q. What did he say after she had dropped the cheese?

A. “That was all I wanted.”

Q. And then?

A. “Do not trust flatterers.”

Q. Did the Fox mean it?

A. Yes. But he was plaguing her, sneering at her. He wasn’t really sincere.

Q. Now tell me what you’ve learned about the Fox.

A. He was a lively animal that looked like a dog, with a long nose and bushy tail. He was smart, wise, knew how to flatter and get what he wanted. But he was a liar and a mean fellow all around.

Q. Now, let us study the Crow. What did she look like?

A. She was a big black bird with glossy feathers and a bright eye. She had a big black bill and black wings.

Q. Did she have a good voice for singing?

[190]A. No. She could only say “caw, caw, caw,” in a hoarse, croaking voice.

Q. Where was she?

A. On the limb of a tree.

Q. Could the Fox reach her?

A. No. She was safe.

Q. What did she think of herself?

A. She thought she was pretty and smart and could sing.

Q. What would you say of her manners?

A. She was proud and conceited and foolish, silly.

Q. Now, tell me what you have learned of the Crow.

A. She was a big black bird with glossy feathers and a bright eye. She thought she could sing, but she was silly and proud and conceited. She was too easily fooled by the lies and flattery of the fox.

C. The Scene.

Question. Where were the Fox and the Crow?

Answer. Outdoors, somewhere.

Q. Were they near a house?

A. I think so, because the Crow had cheese in her mouth.

Q. Was it a prairie country?

A. Perhaps, but there was one tree near.

Q. Was it day, or night?

A. Daytime, I think. Crows do not hunt at night, but foxes do.

Q. Tell me all you know or can guess about the place where the bird and fox were.

A. I think they were on the edge of the woods, not very far away from a farmhouse. One tree [191]stood out by itself, and the Crow flew from the farmhouse to the lone tree.

D. and E. The Lesson and the Author’s Purpose.

Question. This is an old, old story, and it has been told in many languages. We cannot be sure who first wrote it. But what do you suppose the writer meant the story to do?

Answer. He meant it to teach a good lesson, I think.

Q. What is the lesson?

A. That foxes are tricky animals; that crows are silly birds; that flattery and lying are bad; that it is foolish to trust anyone who flatters you.

Q. Does that mean you do not trust people who praise you?

A. Oh, no. Praise is all right. Everybody likes to be praised.

Q. What is the difference between praise and flattery?

A. When a person praises you he tells the truth, and tells it because he likes you, and wants to help you; but when he flatters you, he lies and deceives you, and does it to fool you, because he wants you to do something for him, or to get something you have.

Q. How can we tell whether we are being praised or flattered?

A. We must be sharp and know ourselves and what we really can do. Then we will know whether others are speaking the truth about us.

F. The Method and Style of the Author.

Question. What do you call a story like this?

Answer. A fable.

Q. Why is it a fable?

[192]A. Because it’s short; because animals talk and act like human beings; because it teaches a good lesson.

Q. Do you call this story “slow”?

A. No. It’s a quick, lively one.

Q. What do you think makes it so?

A. There are not too many words; the Fox and the Crow are interesting; there is a lot of talking; we can see the Fox and the Crow; they act like human beings.

Q. Are there any good sentences you would like to remember?

A. Yes: “Do not trust flatterers.”

G. Emotional Power.

Question. How did the Fox feel when he saw the Crow with the cheese in her mouth?

Answer. He was hungry; he wanted the cheese; he made up his mind to get it.

Q. How did he feel when he was flattering the Crow?

A. He felt jolly; he thought it was fun to fool the Crow.

Q. How did he feel when he got the cheese?

A. He was pleased; he was happy; he did not pity the Crow; he laughed at the Crow when he gave her advice.

Q. How did the Crow feel when she flew off with the cheese?

A. She was happy.

Q. How did she feel while the Fox was flattering her?

A. She was proud and vain and felt sure she could sing.

Q. When she dropped the cheese?

[193]A. She was disappointed; she was sorry she had tried to sing; she knew she had been fooled, and was ashamed.

Q. Did she like the advice the Fox gave her?

A. No, but she thought it was good advice.

Q. Do you think the Fox could fool her again?

H. Conclusion.

Now, read the fable all through just as well as you can. (It is read.) Now, Harry, you be the Fox, and read just what he says. Clara, be the Crow, and read just what she says. Tom may be the story teller, and read just the descriptions. Now, watch your parts so there will be no delay, and try to speak just as though you are really what you are representing. Tom may read the first paragraph, and the fourth, but may omit entirely those words that are not spoken in the other paragraphs. Begin, Tom.

The Drummer

(Volume I, page 303)

The fairy stories of the brothers Grimm are inferior to those of Andersen in plot, lesson and style. The plots are more monotonous and sometimes unnecessarily coarse and rough; the lessons are more obscure and sometimes are of doubtful value; and the style is much less forcible, in fact is often labored and inelegant. Yet many of the stories are attractive and harmless. They may be used to make the transition from fairy tales to more elevated literature. Their very imperfections can be utilized to discourage the reading of fairy tales and by criticism and gentle ridicule a child can be led away from that type of stories which though harm[194]less when read in moderation have been made so attractive by modern writers that children fancy them too much and cling to them long after they should be reading things of much greater value. If children are led to study fairy stories, absurdities in them soon become tiresome. Ordinarily they read merely for the excitement in the tale, for the effect it has upon their naturally vivid imaginations. If they are led to think, to analyze, their intelligence will quickly call for something more substantial, more nearly true to life.

The Drummer is one of the best of the Grimm stories and yet some of their weaknesses are evident. It is inadvisable to talk to small children of studying a story. They are always delighted to see their parents interested and will be very glad to “talk over” the story. In this particular tale there are many points of interest that may be brought up by skilful questioning and many places where comments may be made, comments that will show the attitude of the adult mind without raising opposition on the part of the juvenile reader. Some of the subjects suggested by a reading of The Drummer are the following:

I. Characters. Taken in the order of their appearance in the story the characters are:

II. What the Characters Do.

1. The Drummer finds the piece of cloth, goes to the mountain of glass, deceives the two quarreling men, flies to the top of the mountain, visits the witch, performs the three tasks, throws the witch in the fire, goes to his home, kisses his parents on their right cheeks, forgets the princess, gives her jewels away, gets ready to marry the maiden, remembers the princess, rewards the maiden and marries the princess.

2. The King’s Daughter asks for her dress, tells the Drummer where she is confined, helps the Drummer in his three tasks, advises the Drummer how to destroy the witch, takes the Drummer to his parents, waits in the field for the Drummer, sings her song three times, forgives and marries the Drummer.

3. The First Giant talks with the Drummer and carries him through the woods on his back.

4. The Second Giant carries the Drummer in his button hole.

5. The Third Giant carries the Drummer on his hat.

6. The Two Men quarrel, talk with the Drummer, race to the white staff and lose the saddle.

7. The Witch gives the Drummer food and shelter, assigns three tasks, requires the log to be brought from the fire, tries to carry off the King’s Daughter, and dies in the flames.

8. The Drummer’s Parents welcome their son, accept the jewels of the King’s Daughter, build a palace, choose a maiden for their son’s wife, but receive the princess in her place.

[196]9. The Maiden is willing to marry the Drummer but is satisfied with his presents instead.

III. The Good and the Bad Characters.

1. The Drummer was brave, kind to his parents and loved the princess, but he tricked the two quarreling men, and disobeyed and forgot the princess.

2. The King’s Daughter was always helpful, faithful and lovable.

3, 4 and 5. The Three Giants were usually cruel but were afraid of the Drummer and so behaved very well.

6. The Two Men were very unwise to quarrel and perhaps deserved to lose their saddle.

7. The Witch was cruel, deceitful and always bad, deserving her awful fate.

8. The Drummer’s Parents were good people, for they knew nothing of the princess when they tried to marry their son to another.

9. The Maiden was a commonplace person who did not really love the Drummer.

IV. The Unreal and Magical Things.

1. There are no glass mountains, but an iceberg resembles one.

2. There never were giants as big as fir trees.

3. There never was a saddle that could itself carry anyone anywhere.

4. There never was an old woman who could enchant a maiden.

5. There never was a magic ring that could grant wishes. Fish never jumped from water and sorted themselves, wood never cut itself nor piled itself.

6. Never was a princess enchanted into a log and no log ever became a king’s beautiful daughter.

[197]7. It never made any difference in a young man’s fortunes if he did kiss his parents on the right instead of the left cheek.

8. No castle such as this was ever built in a day.

V. Things that Happen in Threes.

How absurd it is that in fairy stories things so often happen in sets of three! In this one short story we find:

1. The Drummer saw three pieces of white linen.

2. The Drummer met three giants.

3. The mountain looked as high as if three mountains had been placed one upon another.

4. On the plain are three things, an old stone house, a large fish pond and a dark, dreary forest.

5. The Witch did not appear till the Drummer had knocked three times.

6. The Drummer wanted three things, admission, food and a night’s lodging.

7. The Witch assigned three tasks.

8. There were three conditions to the first task, to scoop out the water, sort the fish, and finish by night.

9. There were three parts to the second task, to cut the trees, to split them into logs and to stack them.

10. The Witch gave the Drummer three tools with which to accomplish the second task, an ax, a chopper and a wedge.

11. In the third task there were three steps, to place the wood in a heap, to set fire to it and to burn it.

12. The Drummer supposed he had been gone three days but it was three years.

[198]13. The wedding was to take place in three days.

14. The princess sang her song three times.

Tom, the Water Baby

(Volume II, page 215)

“This is all a fairy tale, and only fun and pretense; and therefore, you are not to believe a word of it, even if it is true.”

But what a wonderful tale it is; so interesting a story, such a mixture of fact and fancy, so brimming full of fun and laughter, so touching in pathos, and so rife with good lessons. Though “you are not to believe a word of it, even if it is true,” there is so much truth in it that you really cannot keep from believing a great deal of it.

A better comprehension of Tom, the Water Baby among parents will mean a greater popularity for it among children. The tale is too long for a full interpretation, but we can offer an analysis which will help to keep the story in mind, and some illustrations of different meritorious features.

Donald G. Mitchell      James Whitcomb Riley
Edgar Allan Poe
Thomas Buchanan Read      Eugene Field
John Howard Payne      John G. Saxe

I. Analysis. At first Tom is a real boy, a little grimy, ignorant chimney sweep, next a water baby or eft, in which character, under the tutelage of the fairies, he gains his education. Briefly at the end he is a man, an engineer, but all that is delightfully vague, for he has ceased to be the little Tom we like so thoroughly.

Chapters I and II.

  1. Tom, the Chimney Sweep,
  2. Works for Mr. Grimes;
  3. Summoned to sweep the chimney at Hartover Place;
  4. [199]Overtakes the poor Irishwoman, who
  5. Walks with Tom;
  6. Asks about his prayers and makes him sad;
  7. Tells about the sea and makes him wish to be clean;
  8. Helps him pick flowers;
  9. Frightens Grimes for beating Tom,
  10. Warns them both to be clean;
  11. Promises to see them again;
  12. Disappears.
  13. Meets the keeper who warns Grimes against poaching;
  14. Walks up the avenue;
  15. Sees the deer, trees, bees, and makes friends with the keeper;
  16. Enters the house and sweeps chimneys;
  17. Comes out in a beautiful room and sees the little white lady;
  18. Sees himself for the first time and cries;
  19. Escapes from the nurse by window and tree;
  20. Is chased by everybody;
  21. Is lost in the woods;
  22. Scales a wall;
  23. Is followed by the Irishwoman, who throws the pursuers off the scent;
  24. Crosses the river, climbs a mountain;
  25. Descends Lewthwaite Crag;
  26. Drags himself to the cottage;
  27. Begs for water of the dame;
  28. Is given milk, and put in an outhouse;
  29. Is feverish and out of his mind;
  30. Thinks he must be clean;
  31. Drags himself to the stream, looks into the clear water, and undresses;
  32. [200]Does not see the Irishwoman transform herself to the queen of the fairies;
  33. Tumbles himself into the stream;
  34. Falls asleep in the water;
  35. Is turned into a water-baby by the fairies;
  36. Is mourned as dead by the people who find his poor dirty body.

Chapters III and IV.

  1. Tom, the Water Baby,
  2. Watches the caddis-flies build their homes (page 262) and go into the chrysalis state (page 262);
  3. Sees the metamorphosis of the dragon-fly (pages 263-264);
  4. Meets and makes friends with the otters (pages 270-274);
  5. Travels towards the sea after the storm;
  6. Finds the salmon and witnesses the death of Grimes (pages 278-286);
  7. Passes the sleeping villages and reaches the sea;
  8. Greets the seal and looks for water babies;
  9. Plays with the lobsters (pages 292-294);
  10. Is caught by Professor Ptthmllnsprts and shown to Ellie, the little white lady, who flies away (pages 296-299). (Can you make out what Kingsley had in mind, by filling in the vowels of the Professor’s name?)

Chapter V.

  1. Tom, the Water Baby,
  2. Has an adventure in the lobster pots (pages 300-303);
  3. Joins the water babies;
  4. [201]Is met by Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid, who
  5. Examines Tom;
  6. Rewards the good children;
  7. Punishes those who know no better, viz.:
  8. Tom,
  9. The doctors,
  10. The foolish ladies,
  11. The careless nurserymaids,
  12. The cruel school teachers,
  13. Tells Tom about those who knew better.
  14. Sees Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby, who
  15. Mothers Tom;
  16. Tells him the story.

Chapter VI.

  1. Tom, the Water Baby,
  2. Steals the candy from the cabinet;
  3. Becomes prickly and ugly from sin;
  4. Confesses to Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid;
  5. Goes to school to rid himself of his ugliness;
  6. Is taught by the beautiful little girl;
  7. Gains his own smooth, clean skin;
  8. Recognizes the little white lady, Ellie;
  9. Learns how to join Ellie in the beautiful place;
  10. Loses her by being unkind;
  11. Hears the history of the Doasyoulikes;

Chapter VII.

  1. Tom, the Water Baby,
  2. Starts to go where he does not like, to find Mr. Grimes;
  3. Inquires of the King of the Herrings;
  4. Visits the last of the Gairfowl on the Allalonestone;
  5. Follows Mother Carey’s chickens;
  6. Struggles with the water dog;
  7. Is carried by the mollymocks from Jan Mayen’s land to Shiny Wall;
  8. [202]Dives under the great white gate that never was opened yet;
  9. Reaches Peace-pool with the dog;
  10. Finds Mother Carey at work making new creatures from sea water;
  11. Is given passport to the Other-End-of-No-where;
  12. Goes backward in safety.

Chapter VIII.

  1. Tom, the Water Baby,
  2. Comes to the place called Stop;
  3. Is blown through the Sea;
  4. Finds himself in the claws of the bogy;
  5. Sees the metals made;
  6. Slides down the whirlpool;
  7. Swims to the shore of the Other-End-of-No-where;
  8. Finds Gotham;
  9. Comes to the isle of Tomtoddies;
  10. Hears of their great idol, Examination;
  11. Gives information to the nimblecomequick turnip;
  12. Stumbles over the respectable old stick;
  13. Faces Examiner-of-all-Examiners;
  14. Arrives at Oldwivesfabledom;
  15. Comes to the quiet place called Leaveheavenalone;
  16. Sees the prison;
  17. Offers the passport to the truncheon;
  18. Searches for chimney No. 345;
  19. Finds Grimes stuck in the chimney;
  20. Tries to light Grimes’ pipe and to release him;
  21. [203]Learns that the old dame teacher was the mother of Grimes;
  22. Sees Grimes’ tears effect his release;
  23. Recognizes Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid as the Irishwoman;
  24. Hears Grimes sentenced to sweep out Aetna;
  25. Is blindfolded and taken up the back stairs;
  26. Recognizes St. Brandon’s Isle and hears the song;
  27. Rejoices with Ellie and goes with her Sundays;
  28. Becomes a man of science and knows everything;
  29. And, it may be, marries Ellie.

II. Fact and Fancy. The story begins with a vivid description of the little sweep and his master, and it is not till we have read several pages that we have reason to suspect that we are reading a fairy story. In fact the “poor Irishwoman” might be a veritable Irishwoman till we have read page 247. From this point on, the work of the fairies is seen occasionally to the end.

The facts of the natural history are mingled with the fancies of the author’s brain in the most natural manner. The description of the house-building of the caddis larvae (page 262) is accurate enough for a scientist, who might, however, be shocked by the whimsical notion of the rivalry told in the last sentence of the paragraph. The otters behave like otters, the salmon like salmon, the lobster like the lobster he is. The dragon “splits” at the call of nature, the ephemerae dance in the sunlight, and game-keepers kill poachers in real life as in the story. The great auk is extinct and the right whale [204]is still hunted, but Peace-pool is as fancifully portrayed as is the creation of world-pap. It appears that as Kingsley proceeded with his story he let his imagination play more freely and drew farther away from facts as his fancies came plentifully. So the story furnishes food for thought by old and young, and parts of it can be understood only by those who have had considerable study and experience.

III. Fun and Humor. A more entertaining story is hard to find. There are many amusing situations and funny doings, besides which, Kingsley’s style of writing abounds in a rich humor that is not always evident to the hasty and careless reader. Not a little of the humor is ironical and sometimes we are inclined to think that the writer may be having a little quiet fun at the expense of his readers.

Children are inclined to read Tom, the Water Baby as they do many another tale, for the story only. They want to know what happens to Tom, whether or no Grimes is punished, what becomes of Ellie, and how it “all comes out.” But when attention is called to the fun in the tale children will read it more than once, for they like to laugh even better than their elders, and curiosity prompts them to watch to “see the joke.”

The humorous twist to things begins in the second sentence of the story and it does not disappear permanently till the very last sentence of the Moral. See how it shows in these few extracts: “His master was so delighted at his new customer that he knocked Tom down out of hand” (page 219).

[205]After Tom’s pathetic discovery of his own dirtiness (page 232), comes this: “With a noise as of ten thousand tin kettles tied to ten thousand mad dogs’ tails.” Humor and pathos are both strengthened by the violent contrast.

On page 232 begins the long humorous paragraph descriptive of the chase after Tom.

“The birches birched him as soundly as if he had been a nobleman at Eton, and over the face too (which is not fair swishing, as all brave boys will agree)” (page 235).

What could you imagine more amusing in its way than the extremely absurd “argument” the author makes for the existence of water babies (page 254): “You never heard of a water baby? Perhaps not. That is the very reason why this story was written. There are a great many things in the world which you never heard of; and a great many more which nobody ever heard of; and a great many things, too, which nobody ever will hear of. No water babies, indeed! Why, wise men of old said that everything on earth had its double in the water; and you may see that that is, if not quite true, still quite as true as most other theories which you are likely to hear for many a day. There are land babies, then why not water babies? Are there not water rats, water flies, water crickets, water crabs, water tortoises, water scorpions, water tigers and so on without end? To be sure, there must be water babies. Am I in earnest? Oh dear no!”

Read the account of the policemen, beginning on page 306, for an example of a broader humor.

Page 347: “And the sun acted policeman, and [206]worked round outside every day, peeping just over the top of the icewall, to see that all went right; and now and then he played conjuring tricks, or had an exhibition of fireworks, to amuse the sea fairies. For he would make himself into four or five suns at once, or paint the sky with rings and crosses and crescents of white fire and stick himself in the middle of them, and wink at the fairies; and I dare say they were very much amused, for anything’s fun in the country.”

Do not think of “skipping” the Moral. No more attractive “moral” was ever written for fable or fairy tale!

IV. Pathos. Tom, the Chimney Sweep is always pathetic. He enlists our sympathies wholly from the time we meet him where there was “plenty of money for Tom to earn and his master to spend,” until he “pulled off all his clothes in such haste that he tore some of them, which was easy enough with such ragged old things,” “put his poor, hot, sore feet into the water,” “tumbled himself as quick as he could into the clear, cool stream” and in two minutes “fell fast asleep, into the quietest, sunniest, coziest sleep that he had ever had in his life and—dreamt of nothing at all.” It is only as Tom the Water Baby that he does not make us sad.

Poor little, dirty, ignorant Tom! Little enough to climb up the sooty chimney flues; so dirty that he knew not what cleanliness meant; so ignorant that he “never had heard of God, or of Christ, except in words which you never have heard,” and his idea of happiness was to “sit in a public house with a quart of beer and a long pipe,” to play cards for silver money, to “keep a white bull [207]dog with one gray ear, and carry her puppies in his pocket just like a man,” to have apprentices and to bully them, to knock them about and make them carry soot sacks while he “rode before them on his donkey, with a pipe in his mouth and a flower in his button hole, like a king at the head of his army!” “Yes, when his master let him have a pull at the leavings of his beer, Tom was the jolliest boy in the whole town.”

To him who reads understandingly, there is pathos on nearly every page of the first two chapters. Sometimes it is seen in hints and shown by indirection but in other instances it is direct, positive, powerful.

Just read (page 231), how Tom learns that he is naught but a “little black ape,” an “ugly, black, ragged figure with bleared eyes and grinning white teeth.”

In his terrible race for life he “thought he heard church bells ringing a long way off” and thought “where there is a church there will be houses and people,” and perhaps someone will give him a “bit and a sup.” So he follows the ringing in his ears till he comes to the top of the great crag and sees “a mile off and a thousand feet down” the old dame in her garden. We lose our own breath in following him down that awful descent, find ourselves panting, and at last, suddenly, “b-e-a-t, beat!” After the old dame has given him the old rug and bidden him sleep off his weariness, comes the fever with the ringing of the church bells and the persistent, agonizing thought, “I must be clean, I must be clean.” It is this that drives him out to the “clear, clear limestone water, with every [208]pebble at the bottom bright and clean” the cool, cool, cool water for his weary feet.

Then when it is too late, just to add to the pathos of the sad little tale, comes the Squire, conscious of the terrible mistake and ready to put Tom in the way of cleanliness, knowledge and happiness; Tom, of whom there remained only the husk and shell which made the Squire think the poor sweep was drowned.

To close the chapter and the sad part of the story, the dame sings the old, old song which the children could not understand but which they liked nevertheless, “for it was very sweet and very sad and that was enough for them.” We know what it means.

“When all the world is old, lad,
And all the trees are brown;
And all the sport is stale, lad,
And all the wheels run down;
Creep home, and take your place there,
The spent and maimed among;
God grant you find one face there,
You loved when all was young.”

V. Beauty. Tom, the Water Baby has in it much more of real beauty both in sentiment and expression than most prose and more than many a charming poem. There is little of ugliness in the story, and what there is, is so softened in the way in which it is presented that the impression is neither repulsive nor lasting. Kingsley’s work is highly artistic and this story is real literature.

Some of his descriptions are like beautiful pictures in color. Here is one from page 220:

[209]“But soon the road grew white, and the walls likewise; and at the wall’s foot grew long grass and gay flowers, all drenched with dew; and instead of the groaning of the pit engines, they heard the skylark saying his matins high up in the air, and the pit bird warbling in the sedges as he had warbled all night long.”

Beginning at the bottom of the same page (220): “For old Mrs. Earth was still fast asleep; and, like many pretty people she looked still prettier asleep than awake. The great elm trees in the gold-green meadows were fast asleep above, and the cows fast asleep beneath them; nay, the few clouds which were about were fast asleep likewise, and so tired that they had lain down on the earth to rest, in long white flakes and bars, among the stems of the elm trees, and along the tops of the alders by the stream, waiting for the sun to bid them rise and go about their day’s business in the clear blue overhead.” Was there ever more attractive description of the mist patches that lie across the earth waiting for the morning sun to dissipate them?

The poor Irishwoman followed Tom in this manner: “She went along quite smoothly and gracefully, while her feet twinkled past each other so fast that you could not see which was foremost.”

The dragon-fly is described in this way: “It grew strong and firm; the most lovely colors began to show on its body—blue and yellow and black, spots and bars and rings; out of its back rose four great wings of bright brown gauze; and its eyes grew so large that they filled all its head and shone like ten thousand diamonds.[210]

This is Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby: “She was a very tall woman, as tall as her sister; but instead of being gnarly, and horny, and scaly, and prickly, like her, she was the most nice, soft, fat, smooth, pussy, cuddly, delicious creature who ever nursed a baby—and all her delight was to play with babies—and therefore when the children saw her, they naturally caught hold of her, and pulled her till she sat down on a stone, and climbed into her lap, and clung round her neck, and caught hold of her hands, and then they all put their thumbs into their mouths and began cuddling and purring like so many kittens.”

And this is a scene in Peace-pool: “There were moths with pink heads and wings and opal bodies, that flapped about slowly; moths with brown wings that flapped about quickly; yellow shrimps that hopped and skipped most quickly of all; and jellies of all the colors in the world that neither hopped nor skipped, but only dawdled and yawned.”

Here are a few descriptive phrases taken at random: “Two great, grand blue eyes, as blue as the sea itself”; “his little whirl-about of a head”; “long curls floating behind her like a golden cloud, and long robes floating all round her like a silver one”; “came paddling and wriggling back to her like so many tadpoles”; “the shadows of the clouds ran races over the bright blue sky”; “the river widened to the shining sea”; “such enormous trees that the blue sky rested on their heads.”

VI. Good Lessons. Through all the fun, the burlesque, the amusing exaggerations and the bombastic humor runs a scheme of advice and instruction. Sometimes it takes the form of a direct [211]caution to the reader, again it may be shown by inference, and lastly the events speak for themselves and give their own lesson. The author meant to teach adults as well as children. The graphic history of the Doasyoulikes is rather a clear-cut study in degeneracy for older people, as well as a lively warning for youngsters. But what is the author’s main theme? Is his real text in the advice the poor Irishwoman gives to Grimes and Tom? “Those that wish to be clean, clean they will be; and those that wish to be foul, foul they will be. Remember.” (page 225). Perhaps a second text or at least a corollary to this is expressed in the name of the cuddly lady, Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby. This may mean the same as the advice she gives on page 328: “Those who go there must go first where they do not like, and do what they do not like, and help somebody they do not like.” Besides these leading ideas there are several others that run through the story. Meanness and wickedness are made unattractive and bring punishment. The punishment grows logically out of the offense and has a direct relation to the misdeed. Persons are not rewarded for their good deeds but they are happy in being good. It is not a credit to do right, but wrongdoing is discreditable. Little meannesses stand in the way of happiness though they may not bring any definite punishments. Evil is ugliness, goodness is beauty. Friendship is made attractive and filial love is strongly inculcated. The strong appeal made to the sympathy of the reader by the very real and very human Tom, the chimney sweep, is a strong influence for good, and progress toward character [212]in the clever little water baby is a continuous refining influence on the reader.

The bits of advice, the little asides, are slipped into the text so naturally that they are never repulsive or calculated to raise antagonism in the minds of those who naturally dislike advice. Taken from the text they seem more formal and less helpful, but here are a few of them as illustrations:

“Let well alone, lad, and ill too at times.”

“You must expect to be beat a few times in your life, little man, if you live such a life as a man ought to live.”

“Ah, first thoughts are best, and a body’s heart’ll guide them right, if they will but hearken to it.”

“It was not quite well bred, no doubt; but you know, Tom had not finished his education yet.”

“For salmon, like other true gentlemen, always choose their lady and love her, and are true to her, and take care of her, and work for her, and fight for her, as every true gentleman ought.”

“What has been once can never come over again.”

“No more to be bought for money than a good conscience or the Victoria cross.”

“You see, experience is of very little good unless a man, or a lobster, has wit enough to make use of it.”

“It is not good for little boys to be told everything, and never to be forced to use their own wits.”

“And so if you do not know that things are wrong, that is no reason why you should not be punished for them; though not as much, my little man (and the lady looked very kindly, after all), as if you did know.[213]

“I am quite sure that she knows best. Perhaps she wishes people to learn to keep their fingers out of the fire by having them burned.”

“I always forgive people the minute they tell me the truth of their own accord.”

“But even they were no foolisher than some hundred scores of papas and mamas; who fetch the rod when they ought to fetch a new toy, and send to the dark cupboard instead of to a doctor.”

VII. Life-like Characters. The great storyteller makes his characters seem like human beings. The reader can almost see them; at any rate, he feels that he knows them and that they are real, not merely life-like. It is hard to understand how the author accomplishes the wonderful feat (for it is the most wonderful thing about story writing), and it is much more difficult to tell how it is done. One word here, a clear descriptive phrase there, and Tom, or the Squire, or the old schoolmistress, or Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid with her awkward name, has become so much of a personality that you cannot forget if you would. Certainly one of the fine things about Tom, the Water Baby is the living reality of its characters, which appeals universally to young and old, even in the first reading of the story.

VIII. The Writer’s Art. It will add something to a child’s interest in the story if his attention is called to the skilful way in which Kingsley handles his plot. It is high art to throw into the early part of the story the conversation between the keeper and Grimes. It shows that Grimes is a poacher and known to be one. The keeper is inclined to wink at the offense, but still he feels that a warning is [214]necessary. Nothing more is said about poaching till much later, where Tom, the Water Baby, sees Grimes meet a poacher’s death.

Again, it is early evident that Grimes has done other wicked things and that the poor Irishwoman knows of one at least. She even mentions Vendale, but the reader attaches no importance to it. Tom flees to Vendale and is pitied and kindly treated by the old Schoolmistress, but it is not until Tom finds Grimes suffering his punishment in the chimney flues that the reader learns what the poor Irishwoman knew about Grimes, and that the schoolmistress was Grimes’s poor ill-treated mother.

Once more, Kingsley’s art is seen in the selection of incidents and the arrangement of influences which bring to Tom the conviction of his dirtiness and create in him the overpowering desire to be clean.

But this interpretation of Tom, the Water Baby has already reached the limits of space and we must forego the pleasure of pointing out other examples of artistic treatment. Probably it is better to leave the story to plead its own cause.

The Passing of Arthur

(Volume V, page 237)

While the outline differs in form from those we have been using, it is a helpful variation, and shows that while a narrative poem must be studied first in the same manner as a story, there are still other points that need careful examination.

Tennyson’s The Passing of Arthur is one of the noble things in literature, solemn, impressive, [215]inspiring. In order to appreciate a careful study of it, one should have read at least those selections which appear in the fifth volume, beginning with page 113 and extending to page 236. With this preliminary setting there should be no difficulty in feeling a sufficient interest in King Arthur to be appreciative of Tennyson’s work from the very beginning.

a. Characters. Three characters appear in this poem, viz: King Arthur; Sir Bedivere, the knight first made and last surviving of all those who sat about King Arthur’s table; Modred, Arthur’s traitorous nephew. Besides these three human characters, the ghost of Gawain, the three queens who came in the barge, and even Excalibur itself are of so much interest that they may be considered as almost human.

King Arthur is shown in his old age, when wife and friend are traitor to his peace, and all his realm has sunk back into disorder and is rapidly approaching extinction.

Bedivere, oldest of the knights, now in the white winter of his age, when he himself was really no more than a voice, is supposed to tell the story to those with whom he dwelt, new faces, other minds.

Modred is seen retreating league by league before King Arthur. At Lyonnesse, after a fierce battle in which confusion reigned and friends and foes were shadows in the mist, he meets his king. The false knight strikes Arthur hard upon the helmet, and gives the wound that finally proves fatal; while the king, with the last stroke of Excalibur, slays his traitorous nephew.

The dead Gawain appears, a ghost blown along [216]a wandering wind, and on the eve of the battle warns King Arthur of approaching death, but intimates that somewhere is an isle of rest for him.

b. The Incidents.

  1.   1. Arthur mourns for his departed kingdom.
  2.   2. Gawain warns Arthur of his approaching death; Arthur is depressed by the warning.
  3.   3. Bedivere warns Arthur that he must rise and conquer Modred; Arthur hesitates to make war against his people.
  4.   4. He moves his host to Lyonnesse: the last weird battle is fought.
  5.   5. Arthur thinks himself king only among the dead.
  6.   6. Bedivere professes affection, and calls Arthur’s attention to the traitor, Modred.
  7.   7. The king promises one last act of kinghood.
  8.   8. Modred wounds the king; the king kills Modred.
  9.   9. Bedivere carries the wounded Arthur to the ruined chapel.
  10. 10. The dying Arthur directs Bedivere to throw Excalibur into the mere; Bedivere twice deceives Arthur and is twice reproved.
  11. 11. Bedivere throws Excalibur into the mere, and tells King Arthur what happened.
  12. 12. Bedivere bears Arthur to the margin of the mere.
  13. 13. The three black-hooded queens with crowns of gold come in the dusky barge.
  14. 14. Arthur is placed in the barge and speaks his last words to Bedivere; the barge moves swan-like from the brink.
  15. [217]15. Bedivere watches the speck that bears the king move down the long water opening on the deep.

c. Scenes.

  1. 1. Arthur in his tent among the slumbering host.
  2. 2. The march to the sunset bound of Lyonnesse, and the moving pageant to the battlefield.
  3. 3. The dark strait of barren land with the ocean on one side and on the other the great water; the ruined chapel with its broken chancel and broken cross, and, near at hand, the place of tombs with its bones of ancient mighty men; athwart all shines the moon, and over all the chill wind with flakes of foam sings shrilly. Zigzag paths lead around jutting points of rock down to the shining levels of the lake, where the ripple washes softly in the reeds, the wild water laps the crags, and many-knotted water-flags whistle stiff and dry. Frozen hills, barren chasms with icy caves, the bare black cliff and slippery crag wall, and the level lake gleaming in the glories of the winter moon.

d. Descriptive Passages. Besides those passages which relate especially to the scenes, there are other beautiful and powerful bits of description that will well repay examination. For instance:

  1. 1. Of King Arthur’s dream the poet says,

“And fainter onward, like wild birds that change
Their season in the night and wail their way
[218] From cloud to cloud, down the long wind the dream

Note the figure of speech (simile), beginning with the word like.

  1. 2. The description of the last, dim, weird battle in the west, beginning at the bottom of page 240 with the line “A death-white mist slept over land and sea,” is one of the most stirring things in the poem, and deserves particularly close reading. The pictures are crowded, the figures vivid, the phrases full of force.
  2. 3. Tennyson has used his highest art in the composition, and makes the sound of his lines imitate in no feeble way the noise of battle. For instance:

“Shocks, and the splintering spear, the hard mail hewn,
Shield-breakings, and the clash of brands, the crash
Of battle-axes on shatter’d helms, and shrieks
After the Christ, of those who falling down
Look’d up for heaven, and only saw the mist.”

  1. 4. The brilliancy of description corresponds well with the glittering marvel of Excalibur:

“For all the haft twinkled with diamond sparks,
Myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinth-work
Of subtlest jewelry.”

“.....the wonder of the hilt,
How curiously and strangely chased,”

“The great brand
Made lightnings in the splendor of the moon,
[219] And flashing round and round, and whirl’d in an arch,
Shot like a streamer of the northern morn,
Seen where the moving isles of winter shock
By night, with noises of the Northern Sea.”

  1. 5. King Arthur, as he lay in the barge with his weary head upon the lap of the fairest and tallest of the three queens, is described as follows:

“a brow
Striped with dark blood: for all his face was white
And colorless, and like the wither’d moon
Smote by the fresh beam of the springing east;
And all his greaves and cuisses dash’d with drops
Of onset; and the light and lustrous curls—
That made his forehead like a rising sun
High from the dais-throne—were parch’d with dust,
Or, clotted into points and hanging loose,
Mix’d with the knightly growth that fringed his lips.
So like a shatter’d column lay the king;
Not like that Arthur, who, with lance in rest,
From spur to plume a star of tournament,
Shot thro’ the lists at Camelot, and charged
Before the eyes of ladies and of kings.”

e. Character Study—King Arthur. The best estimate of King Arthur’s character is made from his own words and those of Bedivere, not from Tennyson’s description.

  1. 1. He has been a devout man. He has fought for Christ and searched for Christ and

“found Him in the shining of the stars,
Mark’d Him in the flowering of His fields.”


  1. 2. He is now discouraged. He has not found Him in His ways with men, and now it seems to him,

“As if some lesser god had made the world,
But had not force to shape it as he would.”

“My God, thou hast forgotten me in my death.”

  1. 3. Yet he is hopeful, and he feels that perchance the world is wholly fair, and that his doubts come because he has not the power to see it as it is, and may not see it to the close.
  2. 4. He desires to be just, and feels that in the coming battle in the west he may not have the right on his side:

“Ill doom is mine
To war against my people and my knights.
The king who fights his people fights himself.”

  1. 5. Yet courage and confidence are not all gone:

“Yet let us hence, and find or feel a way
Thro’ this blind haze.”

  1. 6. After the battle, he grows more confused:

“I know not what I am,
Nor whence I am, nor whether I be King.
Behold, I seem but King among the dead.”

  1. 7. He must be noble, kingly, to have inspired such devotion as Bedivere shows. Hear what the latter says:

“My King,
King everywhere! and so the dead have kings,
There also will I worship thee as King.”

  1. 8. He is a warrior to the last. Listen to his reply to Bedivere:


“King am I, whatsoever be their cry;
And one last act of kinghood shalt thou see
Yet, ere I pass.”

  1.   9. He is resigned: “Let what will be, be.”
  1. 10. He is faithful to the trust imposed upon him when he acquired Excalibur. Three times he sends Bedivere to cast the sword into the mere. The last time he says:

“But, if thou spare to fling Excalibur,
I will arise and slay thee with my hands.”

  1. 11. He loves truth and reveres it:

“This is a shameful thing for men to lie.”

  1. 12. Though he appears to fear death, rather is his fear that he shall die before he reaches the water where he expects something.
  1. 13. At the last his philosophy bears him up, though still he calls for devotion from his faithful knight. The whole speech is matchless. Note these fine passages:

“The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils himself in many ways.”

“And that which I have done
May He within himself make pure!”

“More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.”

“The whole round earth is everyway
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.”

  1. 14. His faith rises triumphant:

“I am going a long way ...
Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,
Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies
Deep-meadow’d, happy, fair with orchard lawns
[222] And bowery hollows crown’d with summer sea,
Where I will heal me of my grievous wound.”

f. Beauty. All the elements of poetic beauty join to make The Passing of Arthur a masterpiece. Sublime sentiment thrills through the stanzas. A stately meter gives a solemn, rhythmic swing to the noble lines. Sonorous words add to the grandeur. Apt phrases and beautiful figures of speech seize the imagination and enchain the fancy. Rare and choice diction gives artistic finish to every sentence.

Most beautiful are such phrases as the following:

“The phantom circle of a moaning sea.”

“Some whisper of the seething sea.”

“Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful.”

“Let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.”

“And looking wistfully with wide blue eyes
As in a picture.”

“Clothed with his breath.”

“A cry that shiver’d to the tingling stars.”

Note how the following phrases give color to the poem:

“that day when the great light of heaven
Burn’d at his lowest in the rolling year.”

“Among the mountains by the winter sea.”

“The winter moon,
Brightening the skirts of a long cloud.”

Observe the pictorial power of these quotations:

“Make broad thy shoulders to receive my weight.”

“Straining his eyes beneath an arch of hand.”

“One black dot against the verge of dawn.”

Most forceful are the following phrases:


“And the days darken round me, and the years,
Among new men, strange faces, other minds.”

“From the great deep to the great deep he goes.”

“Authority forgets a dying king.”

“An agony
Of lamentation, like a wind that shrills
All night in a waste land, where no one comes,
Or hath come, since the making of the world.”

There never was a more beautiful comparison than the following:

“Like some full-breasted swan
That, fluting a wild carol ere her death,
Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood
With swarthy webs.”

189-1 Haec fabula docet means This fable teaches. It is with these words that the “Morals” of the old Latin fables begin.



Close Reading or Study

It is largely because story reading may so easily become careless reading, that prejudice against fiction is found in many minds. In the preceding pages there have been suggested many ways by which story reading may be made profitable, and yet all these methods may be used without calling for that close, intensive reading which we usually call study. You may lead a child to read Rab and His Friends for all the purposes we have suggested, and yet he may have passed over without understanding them many a word, phrase or even sentence. It is possible that there are whole paragraphs that convey little meaning to him. This is certainly not an unmixed evil, for it is well that a child should not exhaust the possibilities of such a masterpiece when he first reads it. In fact, it is a good thing for children frequently to read great literature even when much of it is quite beyond their comprehension. It will pique their curiosity, and some time they will return with wiser minds and broader experience to interpret for themselves the things that once were obscure. It is no sin for a child sometimes to pass over a word he cannot pronounce or does not understand. There could be few more certain ways of destroying his taste for reading than to require him to stop and find the meaning of [225]every new word he meets. Sometimes the meaning will become evident a little later from the context, and in other instances he will understand well enough without the troublesome word.

What has been said does not signify that the habit of skipping new words or of avoiding difficult paragraphs is a good one. It does mean, however, that sometimes the practice should be tolerated, and that close reading should be required at the proper time and in the proper way. In the arithmetic or geography lesson the young must always read very closely, and in their perusal of the classics there are many fine opportunities for exercises of the same character, that should not be neglected. Descriptive passages, arguments, and essays of all kinds require to be read with exceeding care, and often there are passages even in light fiction that repay this kind of study.

Words and phrases are the subjects of consideration in close reading, and the mastery of thought is the object to be attained. The study of words may be made very interesting, and gathering the meaning of phrases may become a fascinating pastime.

An illustration may prove the case. Take the paragraph from Rab and His Friends (Volume VI, page 99) in which death approaches Ailie: “The end was drawing on: the golden bowl was breaking; the silver cord was fast being loosed—that animula blandula, vagula, hospes comesque was about to flee. The body and the soul—companions for sixty years—were being sundered and taking leave. She was walking, alone, through the valley of the shadow, into which one day we [226]must all enter—and yet she was not alone, for we knew whose rod and staff were comforting her.”

A cursory reading will suggest to any young person that the paragraph says Ailie is going to die, and that she does not fear death; but how much more it means to him who can understand it all. The end was drawing on—Ailie was going to her death. The golden bowl was breaking; the silver cord was fast being loosed. Turn to your Bible (Ecclesiastes xii, 3-7), and read what is said. That “animula blandula, vagula, hospes comesque” was about to flee. That sweet but fleeting life, friend, companion and sojourner with her, was about to leave. She was walking alone through the valley of the shadow. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” Into which one day we must all enter. May we be equally fearless of evil! She was not alone. Her God was with her every moment, and in her hours of consciousness she knew Him to be present. We knew whose rod and staff were comforting her. “Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.”

Like the Psalmist of old she leaned upon the arm of her God and as she thus approached the dark valley, the light of her faith shone into our souls.

The Latin quotation and the allusions to the Bible are skilfully used to give solemnity to the idea of death, to show how inevitable it is, and how for long ages it has been met with the same serene faith and deep religious feeling that made Ailie beautiful in the face of death. Yes, there is more in the paragraph than the statement that Ailie was going to die and that she was not afraid.

[227]To illustrate a different style of close reading and a method of securing it by questioning, we will quote part of a paragraph from Braddock’s Defeat (Volume V, page 379) by Benjamin Franklin: “Our Assembly apprehending, from some information, that he [Braddock] had conceived violent prejudices against them, as averse to the service, wished me to wait upon him, not as from them, but as postmaster-general, under the guise of proposing to settle with him the mode of conducting with most celerity and certainty the despatches between him and the governors of the several provinces with whom he must necessarily have continual correspondence, and of which they proposed to bear the expense.”

The questions designed to bring out the meaning of the above paragraph, to which the answers are usually quite obvious, might be as follows:

Is “our Assembly” the Albany convention mentioned in the note at the head of the selection, or is it the Assembly of Franklin’s own colony? What is the meaning of apprehending? Do you like it better than thinking? What do you suppose was the nature of the “information” the Assembly had received? Do you think that someone had told them that Braddock was prejudiced, or did they infer it from actions of Braddock which had been described to them? Who was averse to it? What is the meaning of “wait upon him”? Do we use that phrase frequently now? What might we say now? What do you understand by “not as from them”? Can you put into that phrase one word that will make its meaning clear? Was Franklin then postmaster-general of his colony?[228] Was he ever postmaster-general of the United States? What is the meaning of guise? What is meant by “under the guise”? Does celerity mean more than quickness? Is there any shade of difference in the meanings of the two words? Do you think Franklin used the best word he could find when he wrote celerity? What are “despatches”? What kind of despatches would pass between Braddock and the governors of the different provinces? How many different provinces were there for Braddock to help defend? What were they? Who proposed to pay the expense? Does propose in this case have a different or larger meaning than that in which you are in the habit of seeing it used? Of what did they propose to pay the expense?

If a young person can answer all the questions in the preceding paragraph, he undoubtedly understands the passage upon which they are based. The questioner must watch the answers and be ready to detect mistakes. Often the answer shows why the person fails to understand, and a different question will then bring out the correct reply. The questions always should be so worded that they do not anticipate the answer, yet so the person questioned will thoroughly understand what is expected. A little help now and then is appreciated by anyone, certainly by those who are being led to think.

Carried to excess, close reading is wearisome; and parents, remembering this, should be discriminating in their selections for study and not too exacting in their requirements. Everything may be lost by dwelling too long upon even the most delightful selections. Left to himself, almost every child will be fond of The Village Blacksmith, [229]but it may be read and “studied” till the very thought of it is obnoxious to the young reader.

Industry and Sloth

(Volume I, page 300)

To bring out the thought in this selection, study it as follows:

What is the meaning of jocosely? (Flippantly.) What is a court? (A place where disputes between persons are settled by a judge, or by a judge and jury.) What is a jury? (A company of men, usually six or twelve, who hear the evidence and decide on the facts.) What are cases? (The dispute or disagreement is called a case, when it is brought to court to be decided or settled.) What are damsels? (Young girls.) What were the names of the young damsels the young man said he saw? Why do the words “Industry” and “Sloth” begin with capital letters? (Because they are the names of girls.) Were they real girls? What does industry mean? (Work.) What does sloth mean? (Laziness.) Were these real girls? Then what does this mean? (The young man thinks of fondness for work and fondness for idleness as though they were girls.) When we write of qualities, or feelings, as though they were human beings, the words become proper nouns and we begin them with capital letters. Do you know what we call this process of lifting something that is lower to the level of human beings? No? We call it personification. Here industry and sloth are personified and made the equals of human beings. What does entreats mean? What does persuades mean? (That means teases or begs.) Which is [230]the stronger word, entreats or persuades? (Entreats means begs strongly; persuades means begs and makes me believe what is said. I think the latter is really the stronger word.) What does alternately mean? (First one and then the other.) What does impartial mean? (Fair; without any favoritism.) What does detained mean? (Kept.) What does pleadings mean? (Where a case is tried in court the lawyers on each side try to persuade the court or jury to decide in favor of the man [client] who has hired them. The written papers and the speeches the lawyers make are called pleadings.)

Do you think the young man was really serious? Do you think he really tried to decide anything as he lay in bed, or was he just trying to make up an excuse for his laziness? Was there any reason why the young man should lie in bed? Did he think there was? Could you find any better reason than he gave? Do you think he was a bright young man? If you had listened to him would you have taken his excuse? Why? Was it really truthful? Did you ever lie in bed and think, “Well, I must get up; no, I’ll lie a little longer. But I must get up. What’s the use? But I ought to get up. Yes, I really ought to get up,” etc., etc., and finally discover that you had wasted a great deal of time without really intending it? Were Industry and Sloth pleading with you then? Do you think that some people waste much time trying to decide useless questions? Does it sometimes happen that men and women waste so much time in this way that they never accomplish a great deal of anything?


Why the Sea Is Salt

(Volume II, page 484)

In this pleasing fairy story Mary Howitt has told the tale of the curious explanation offered by the peasants of Denmark and Norway for the saltness of the sea. It naturally raises in a child’s mind the question, why is the sea salt? The question can be answered in this manner:

The rain falls down in little drops, some of which soak into the ground, while others make rivulets that run into brooks that in time join the rivers that flow into the sea. Much of the water that soaks into the ground finds its way again to the surface in springs that feed the brooks and keep them alive when no rain is falling. Of course the sun when it shines turns some of the water into vapor that rises again to the sky. Sometimes on a cool morning you can see the mist or vapor too heavy to rise out of sight and too light to fall as rain. Wherever there is water, some of it is rising into the air, especially when the sun shines and it is warm and the wind blows. The sea is so big that great quantities of vapor are rising from it all the time and being blown over the land to be cooled, to gather into rain and to fall again where it will refresh the earth and make the plants grow.

So you see water is traveling through the air all the time, up from the earth, the streams and the seas, through the air, back to the earth and through it into the sea again in a great series of everlasting circuits. We are hardly ever conscious of the moisture except when it falls as rain or snow and spoils our plans.

[232]When the water is passing through the land it dissolves and gathers up various substances, especially salt, which “melts” in water very easily. This salt and the other bitter and brackish substances are carried little by little, sometimes pausing, but always on and on till they reach the sea, beyond which they cannot go, for the sea is in the lowest parts of the earth. Now come the sun, the heat and the winds and evaporate the water; that is, draw up the vapor to start on its new circuit. But, notice this, the vapor that rises is pure water. The salt and other substances are left in the sea. At first it was only a little that was left, then more, always a little more till the water couldn’t hold it all and it sank to the bottom and made deposits of salt and other things. But the streams always bring more sediment and the heat and the winds carry off pure water and leave the rest salty and bitter. And that is the real reason why the sea is salt.

Faithless Sally Brown

(Volume III, page 92)

It is a thankless task to try to explain a joke, but some of the fun in these jolly old rhymes depends upon facts that are not generally known or that may have been forgotten. A few words here may help to answer questions.

Stanza II. “Fetched a walk.” This is an application of a nautical term, as in “to fetch headway.”

“Press Gang.” To secure recruits for her navy, England at one time permitted her men to be seized and forcibly carried on board ship, where they [233]were compelled to perform sailors’ duties on long cruises. The bands of cruel men who captured the recruits were known as “press gangs.”

Stanza III. A boatswain is one of the minor officers of a ship. He usually has charge of one of the small boats, such as would carry off a recruit to the big ship.

Stanza VIII. John Benbow was a famous English Admiral who died in 1702 from wounds received in a four days’ fight with the French fleet in the West Indies. His captains refused to obey orders and Benbow was unable to win the battle. When his right leg was shot off he refused to go below but continued to direct the conflict from the deck. “I had rather have lost both legs,” he said, “than have seen this dishonor brought on the English nation. But, hark ye—if another shot should take me off, behave like men and fight it out.” Two of his captains were tried, convicted and shot. The Admiral himself died after three or four months of suffering.

Stanza IX. A tender is a ship that carries supplies or conveys messages from one to another of the ships in a squadron.

Stanza XI. “The Virgin and the Scales.” The Virgin (Virgo) and the Scales (Libra) are two constellations known to the ancients. A person born while these constellations were to be seen in the sky (from near the end of August to near the end of October) was said to be born under them and was believed to have certain characteristics. In the case of Sally Brown the stars were cruel. She could not follow her beau, Ben, but must walk about raising her voice in wailing.

[234]Stanza XV. “To pipe his eye” is a slang phrase meaning to look sharply.

Stanza XVI. “All’s Well,” the usual cry of a watchman, not the name of a song.

“Pigtail” was a kind of chewing tobacco much used by sailors. It was twisted in hard rolls.

The Definition of a Gentleman

(Volume IV, page 170)

There is nothing in Journeys Through Bookland that will better repay thought, especially for the boys, than this extract from the writings of the great Cardinal Newman. It affords, however, a host of little tests of character that everyone can apply to himself; for “gentleman,” here, is used in its generic sense and applies with equal force to both sexes.

It is not to be read hastily and then laid aside, for no one can get its full meaning from a single perusal. Every word is a chapter, every sentence a volume. Read properly, each sentence must carry with it a personal application, which can be seen as the reader asks, “Is this what I am?”

Am I then, one who never gives pain?

Am I mainly occupied in removing the obstacles that hinder the action of my friends and acquaintances? Am I the easy chair that gives them bodily comfort, the good fire that dispels the cold and makes them comfortable and free to act?

Do I try always to make everyone at ease and at home?

Am I

—tender toward the bashful?

—gentle toward those who are cold and reserved?

[235]—merciful to those whose actions draw ridicule upon themselves?

In conversation, do I recollect those to whom I am speaking, avoid irritating them, keep myself in the background, talk little myself and listen attentively to them?

If I can put to myself each of the tests Cardinal Newman offers in these few pages and can feel myself ring true under each, then may I hope to call myself a gentleman.

Adventures in Lilliput

(Volume V, page 8)

In Gulliver’s Travels Swift has given us a wonderful work in constructive imagination. As has been said elsewhere, the imagination works with the ideas which are present in the mind. It creates nothing, but it may enlarge, diminish or recombine ideas with an infinity of form. In Adventures in Lilliput Swift has used largely the reducing power of his imagination. If he has been accurate, he has reduced everything in the same proportion. An interesting study of this phase of the story may be made by means of questions, which may be answered by reading the text, or by reasoning from the facts given.

In the following exercise, questions and comments are combined in such a way as to assist a boy or girl to verify or disprove the accuracy of Swift’s work. A similar exercise, to illustrate the opposite extreme, may be based upon Adventures in Brobdingnag (page 54). It is hoped, too, that the questions may suggest a method for interpreting other selections.

[236]When Gulliver awoke and found himself bound (page 10), he felt something alive moving on his body. Bending his eyes downward as much as he could he saw it was a human creature not six inches high. We are at liberty to suppose that Gulliver was a man of ordinary height, that is to say, not six feet high. If the Lilliputian was “not six inches high,” what was the ratio of height between Gulliver and his miniature captors? If, then, Gulliver is twelve times the size of one of his captors, we have a standard of comparison.

How long a bow would a man use? How long would be the arrow that fitted that bow? How long would the bows and arrows of the Lilliputians be? Would an arrow that size, fired with the force a Lilliputian could give, “prick like a needle,” and if there were many of them would they set a man “a-groaning with grief and pain”?

If a man were lying flat on his back could he turn his eyes down so as to see a pencil, not six inches high, placed upright on his breast? When a man’s face was turned two inches to the left, how much of the ground would be concealed from his sight by his shoulder?

How far can a man shoot an arrow? How far could a Lilliputian shoot an arrow? Would an arrow the size of a Lilliputian’s falling from the height to which he could shoot it pierce the skin of a man?

How long were the spears of the Lilliputians? Is it reasonable to suppose that a leather jerkin would be proof against their spears? How tall was the page that held up the train of the “principal person.” (page 12)?

[237]How many times the height of a Lilliputian was the body of Gulliver as he lay on the ground? How many rounds would there be in one of the ladders on which they climbed? “Above one hundred inhabitants” mounted the ladders and walked toward Gulliver’s mouth. They carried baskets filled with meat. Would the quantity of meat be too large for Gulliver to eat? Would the shoulders, legs and loins of a sheep one-twelfth the height of an ordinary one be “smaller than the wings of a lark”? Would loaves of bread the “bigness of musket balls” be one-twelfth the size of ordinary loaves?

In the case of two vessels of the same proportions, but of different heights, do the capacities vary according to the heights, or according to the cubes of the heights? If one of our hogsheads contain from one hundred to one hundred and forty gallons, how much should a Lilliputian hogshead contain to be in proportion?

Is it a fact that being one-twelfth the height of a man a Lilliputian should have one-twelfth of a man’s strength? If a man is reduced to one-twelfth of his height what should his weight be?

When they wished to move Gulliver, five hundred carpenters and engineers were set to work to prepare a frame of wood, which was raised three inches from the ground, was about seven feet long, four feet wide, and moved upon twenty-two wheels. What was the diameter of the wheels that would raise the body three inches from the ground? Would it be an easy matter to move wheels of that size when they bear a weight such as Gulliver’s must have been?

[238]Knowing what we know of the Lilliputians could nine hundred of them using pulleys with cords “the bigness of pack-thread” lift Gulliver upon the engine in less than three hours?

Does Swift keep the correct proportions when he says that Gulliver’s bullets are about the size of the heads of the Lilliputians? Would “an hundred and fifty of their beds sewn together make up the breadth and length” of a bed large enough for Gulliver?

How large would a Lilliputian horse be? Does it seem wonderful that Gulliver’s hat could be brought from the seashore with “only five horses”?

It is unnecessary to carry the questioning any further. Anyone who reads the stories will find an infinity of questions suggesting themselves to him, and he will doubtless get no little pleasure and profit from attempting to answer them. As will be seen, some of the questions are not simple. If Swift has been wise he has not reduced everything arbitrarily on a horizontal scale to one-twelfth of its apparent size, capacity, weight, or strength, but has properly apportioned all. The reader may find that he will be called upon for some nice discrimination, before he can judge correctly as to the accuracy with which Swift has used his scale of reduction.

The Heart of Bruce

(Volume V, page 316)

1. What is meant by “frost lay hoar”? “Hoar” means “white” or “gray.” (It was early in the morning before the sun had melted the frost.)

2. What kind of armour did they wear? What [239]kind of “ships” rode in the bay? (Remember this happened about six hundred years ago.)

3. What caused the foam that was swept away? Why did they gaze back in silence?

4. Why does the poet call them purple hues, and why does he say they decayed? (Recall the lines: “’Tis distance lends enchantment to the view, and clothes the mountain in its azure hue.” Did you ever notice the purple on distant hills? What causes it?)

5. What is the “battle-van”? (The front rank.)

6. What is a “freit”? (A superstitious notion or an omen as to right or wrong. Lord Douglas felt a superstitious dread, a chill of foreboding.)

7. What did Robert say on his dying day?

8. What did Robert want his followers to do with his heart?

9. Who dreamed this dream? What was a Pilgrim? (A pilgrim is a wanderer. We think first of the Puritan fathers when we speak of Pilgrims, but the Pilgrim who appeared to Lord Douglas was a palmer who showed by his garb and his olive branch that he had been to the Holy Land.) See picture, page 319.

10. What kind of a Cross did Saint Andrew bear? Who was Saint Andrew? (Saint Andrew was one of the twelve apostles, and is believed to have suffered martyrdom on a cross shaped something like the letter X, that is, one made of two beams of equal length crossing in the middle at an angle.)

11. What is a “belted brand”? (A sword fastened to a belt.)

[240]12. What was “Galilee”? What was the “Holy Mount” and why was it so called?

13. What is “Scotland’s heart”? (The heart of Robert Bruce, so called because of the reverence in which he is held by the Scotch.) Where can you read about the great angel that calls the dead to rise?

14. What is meant by “mark my rede”? (Listen to my advice or counsel.)

15. What was the prediction the Pilgrim seemed to make to Lord Douglas? What did Lord Douglas ask of Sir Simon of the Lee?

16. Why should Scotland’s earth be called “kindly”?

17. What does “betide” mean? Tell in your own words what Sir Simon replied. (“Whatever happens to me, I’ll do as you command.”)

18. What does Sir Simon promise?

19. What does “aye” mean? (In this place it means “for a long time.”) What is meant by on our “lee”? (The wind blew toward Spain, and across the course of the ship; hence the coast appeared on the lee side of the vessel.) Why should the poet say the coast rose “grimly”?

20. What are “atabals”? (Tabors or kettledrums used by the Moors.)

21. Who asks the question about the Eastern music and the crowd of armed men?

22. What was Castile? (A province of Spain.) Who answers the question asked in the twenty-first stanza?

23. What is meant by the “Cross in jeopardie”? (The Spaniards were a Christian nation fighting under the symbol of the Cross. The Moors were [241]the infidels or Moslems whose success would destroy the Christian religion in Spain. Their symbol was the crescent.)

24. What does “Have down” mean? (It means “Let us land.”)

25. Who speaks in the twenty-fifth stanza?

26. Explain what is said in the twenty-sixth stanza. (Do you come because you have promised to fight the pagans or do you come to fight for money? Are you French or Burgundians?)

27. What is a “belted peer”?

28. What is the meaning of “died upon the tree”?

29. What is a “weltering wave”? (To “welter” is to tumble over. The “weltering wave” is the sea.)

30. Does the word “pilgrim” mean the same here as in the ninth stanza?

31. What King is this who speaks in the thirty-first stanza?

32. What do the words “full well” express?

33. Is the word “amain” in use nowadays? What does it mean?

34. What is a high glance?

35. What does this speech by Douglas show us of his character?

36. What were “cross-bolts”? (Short, blunt arrows fired from the cross-bows.)

37. What is a Saracen? (Here the word means merely a Mohammedan hostile to the Christians.) What does “rode like corn” mean? (We rode through their ranks as we would ride through corn.)

38. What is the meaning of “fain”? (Willing.)

[242]39. What does “fell” mean? (Deadly.)

40. What is meant by “Make in”? (Here it means, “Gather together.”)

41. What was the “rain”? What was the “swarm”?

42. What had happened to Saint Claire?

43. What was James’s purpose in holding aloft the heart of Bruce?

44. Why did he throw the sacred relic before him? What does “wert wont of yore” mean? (“As you used to do.”)

45. What is the meaning of “stour”? (Battle or combat.) Why are the spears said to come in “shivering”?

46. Who speaks in the forty-sixth stanza?

47. Who replies in the forty-seventh stanza? What does “dree” mean? (Suffer, endure.)

48. What does “stark” mean?

49. What is the meaning of “lyart”? (Gray. The word was usually applied to a horse.)

50. What is this “heaviest cloud” that is bound for the banks of Bothwell?

51. What is this “sorest stroke” that has fallen upon Scotland?

52. What was to be carried back to the ship and laid in hallowed ground in Scotland?

53. Who is the “Lord King” referred to in the fifty-third stanza?

54. Does the line “so stately as he lay” seem a natural way of expressing the fact?

55. What does the speech of the Spanish King show of his character?

56. Why does the poet say that we steered the ship “heavily”?

[243]57. Does “no welcome greeted our return” mean that none of the Scotch met the returning soldiers?

58. What were “Douglas Kirk” and “fair Melrose”? (The church of the Douglas clan and the stately abbey of Melrose. The latter may still be seen in beautiful ruins in southern Scotland.)

Annie Laurie

(Volume VI, page 119)

The Scotch dialect in this old favorite is one of its charms, but some readers may require explanation of a few of the terms.

“Braes” are hillsides or slopes. “Bonnie” is the Scotch way of spelling “bonny,” which, here, means “beautiful.”

“Fa’s” is the Scotch spelling of “falls.”

“Gie’d” is Scotch for “gave.”

The last line of the first stanza rendered into English would read, “I’d lay me down and die.”

“Snaw” is “snow.”

“Ee” is “eye.”

The “gowan” is the mountain daisy of Scotland.

“Fa’” is “fall.”

Like many another simple lyric of love and devotion this owes much of its popularity to the sweet melody of the music to which it is usually sung.

The Lost Child

(Volume VII, page 409)

1. Where did the poet wander? Is the picture on page 409 a beautiful one? Is it your idea of a sunny glade? On what or on whom was the poet musing? Where his thoughts pleasant? To what [244]does he liken his thoughts? What are guideless thoughts? Do you think his “love” is a person, or is it his work, his calling?

2. What chanced to go astray? Did Lowell sometimes fear for the future? How does he express the fear? Who brought back the wandering thoughts? Where did the thoughts rest? Who had the “snowy arms”? If Lowell feared the future at any time, what was it that brought calm to him again?

3. What is the “soft nest”? Who is the “happy one”? Whose hair “shone golden in the sun”? How could a thought of fear seem like a “heavenly child”? Was it Hope that thus transformed all his thoughts?

4. Upon what did Hope’s eyes smile mildly down? What was blessed with so deep a love? What clasped the neck of Hope? What was it that fell asleep? What was the lost child?

David Crockett in the Creek War

(Volume VIII, Page 37)

Almost any child who is able to read for himself will know as soon as he has read a few sentences from David Crockett’s Autobiography that the man was uneducated, and wrote in what could not be called “good English.” However, when the reader has gone a little farther he will realize that Crockett shows his own character in his writings, and that his language is picturesque and entertaining. Moreover, it is language that was characteristic of the early settlers in the region where the frontiersman lived, and hence is of some historical interest to us.

[245]No apology is needed for including the selection in these volumes, although it has no fine literary merit; for it is the plain, direct story of a strong man with a clear brain, who accomplished whatever he undertook, whether it was building a home, fighting the Indians, or writing a book.

The story will speak for itself, and as it is a truthful account of things that actually happened, it will appeal strongly to the imagination of all young readers. However, it is worth while to call specific attention to some of the faults in style and actual errors in grammar, in order that the reader may not be affected unfortunately by the language, or be led to approve it as a style to be followed in these modern days. This can be done by means of questions, and as an illustration of the method we will consider the first four paragraphs of the selection, beginning on page 37.

“There had been no war among us for so long that but few who were not too old to bear arms knew anything about the business.” Does the phrase among us mean that the settlers had not fought among themselves, or that they had not been in conflict with the Indians? What was Crockett’s exact meaning? Does he convey it clearly? Does the word business seem dignified enough to be applied to war?

“I couldn’t fight at all.” Does the abbreviation of the words could not make Crockett’s style dignified or familiar? Do you often see similar abbreviations in what is known as “good literature,” except as they are found in conversation, where the tendency is always to use abbreviated forms and familiar terms? Does not the use of such abbreviations in [246]this selection make it seem as though Crockett were talking to his readers in a free and easy manner, rather than as though he were writing a formal book?

“When I heard of the mischief.” In the first sentence of this paragraph, Crockett speaks of a “most bloody butchery” at Fort Mimms. Now he refers to it as the mischief. Is the word mischief strong enough?

“In a few days a general meeting of the militia was called.” Who were the militia? Why could not the militia be sent out as a body instead of calling for volunteers? Does he mean the organized militia, or simply the able-bodied men in that vicinity?

“Began to beg me not to turn out.” Is turn out a slang phrase here, or is it a term commonly used in speaking of the assemblage of the militia?

“It was mighty hard to go against her arguments.” Does the word mighty show refinement? What word would be better? Does the phrase go against look well in a book?

“Told her that if every man would wait till his wife got willing to let him go to war, there would be no fighting done until we would all be killed in our houses.” Is the word would as it appears the first time used properly? Is should the right word to use? Is got willing correct English? Does the word until express the meaning Crockett intends to convey? If “there would be no fighting done until they were all killed in their houses,” could there be any fighting done afterward? What words should be used in place of until? Is the word would used properly the second time it appears in the sentence?

Phoebe Cary      Alice Cary
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Lucy Larcom      Felicia Hemans
George Eliot      Jean Ingelow

[247]“Seeing I was bent on it.” Can you find authority for using the phrase bent on it to mean determined to do it?

“The truth is my dander was up and nothing but war should bring it right again.” What does the dictionary say about the use of the word dander? Do you suppose it was a common word among Crockett’s friends? Is the word should properly used in this sentence? Is the proper word would? Is it a common mistake even now to use would for should and should for would? How may we know which word to use?

“When the men were paraded, a lawyer by the name of Jones addressed us, informing us he wished to raise a company, and that then the men should meet and elect their officers.” Who were the men that were paraded? Was Crockett among them? Whom did Jones address? When Crockett uses the word men and the word us, twice in the same sentence is his meaning perfectly clear?

“I believe I was about the second or third man that stepped out, but on marching up and down the regiment a few times we found we had a large company.” Who were marching up and down? Does this mean that they marched up and down in front of the regiment? What was this regiment before which they marched up and down? Does regiment here mean the same as militia in the paragraph before?

“We received orders to start on the next Monday week.” What is the meaning of next Monday week? If they assembled on Wednesday, how many days would elapse before they were to start, and on what day would they start?

[248]“Mounted my horse and set sail to join my company.” How can a man set sail when he is mounted on a horse? Is such a mixing of figures evidence of good writing?

“All mounted volunteers and all determined to fight, judging from myself, for I felt wolfish all over. I verily believe that the whole army was of the real grit.” Is felt wolfish all over a fine phrase? Is it an expressive phrase? What was to be judged from himself—that all were determined to fight, or that the whole army was of the real grit? Does the fact that Crockett felt wolfish all over show that he was determined to fight, or that he had real grit? What is the literal meaning of grit? What does it mean as Crockett uses it here? Is it proper to use the word as Crockett uses it?

Probably it is not worth while to push this critical study any farther. It will be seen by this time that Crockett wrote as he talked, and accordingly, his story lacks the polish and literary beauties that men trained to write could have given it.

The Impeachment of Warren Hastings

(Volume IX, page 32)

Words are interesting things, and people who have never tried the experiment will be surprised to learn how much pleasure there is to be found in the use of the dictionary. We consult the dictionary only when we wish to know the meaning of a word, or its pronunciation, but there are numberless other facts in the volume that are more interesting, if not more valuable, than the definitions and marks of pronunciation. In the history and derivation of words may be found many interesting [249]and surprising facts which, if they are known, give increased force and meaning to the words.

There is a great difference among writers in the kinds of words they use. Some naturally use simple words of Anglo-Saxon origin, while others use longer and more sonorous words which come from the Latin and the Greek. It is interesting to take paragraphs from different writers, say, for instance, from Hawthorne, Lamb, Longfellow, Tennyson, Macaulay and Irving, make a list of the leading words in the paragraphs, and then look up their derivations and see how many Anglo-Saxon, how many Latin and how many Greek words are found in each paragraph.

It will be seen that it is a characteristic of Macaulay to use numerous many-syllabled words, most of which come directly from the Latin. His essay on the Impeachment of Warren Hastings shows this trait.

Probably that furnishes as good an illustration as anything in the books of the kind of literature from which studies in words may best be made. Taking two paragraphs at random, let us look them over and see what interesting facts may be gleaned from the dictionary concerning the words we find:

“The Opposition was loud and vehement against him. But the Opposition, though formidable from the wealth and influence of some of its members, and from the admirable talents and eloquence of others, was outnumbered in Parliament, and odious throughout the country. Nor, as far as we can judge, was the Opposition generally desirous to engage in so serious an undertaking as the impeachment of an Indian Governor. Such an impeach[250]ment must last for years. It must impose on the chiefs of the party an immense load of labor. Yet it could scarcely, in any manner, affect the event of the great political game. The followers of the coalition were therefore more inclined to revile Hastings than to prosecute him. But there were two men whose indignation was not to be so appeased, Philip Francis and Edmund Burke.

“Francis had recently entered the House of Commons, and had already established a character there for industry and ability. He labored indeed under one most unfortunate defect, want of fluency. But he occasionally expressed himself with a dignity and energy worthy of the greatest orators. Before he had been many days in Parliament, he incurred the bitter dislike of Pitt, who constantly treated him with as much asperity as the laws of debate would allow. Neither lapse of years nor change of scene had mitigated the enmities which Francis had brought back from the East. After his usual fashion, he mistook his malevolence for virtue, nursed it, as preachers tell us we ought to nurse our good dispositions, and paraded it, on all occasions, with Pharisaical ostentation.”

In the two brief paragraphs given, there are, among others, the following words of more than passing interest:

1. Vehement. This word is derived from two Latin words, meaning to carry and the mind; hence a vehement speech is one that is supposed to carry the mind away by force. We use the word furious when we wish to speak of anger or other passions, but the word vehement when we speak of zeal, love, expression. In this paragraph the Op[251]position was loud and tried to carry the minds of others by force.

2. Formidable. Synonyms of formidable are dreadful, terrible and shocking, yet it is rarely the case that two words are exact synonyms. In this case, formidable means something that excites fear, but it is neither sudden nor violent in its action. A dreadful thing would excite fear or dread, and might act violently, but not suddenly. A shocking thing would startle us because it was both violent and sudden. Does formidable appear to be the right word by which to characterize the Opposition?

3. Influence. This word is derived from two Latin words which mean flowing over, and consequently an influence brings about change by gradual process. There is no idea of right in the word influence as there is in the word authority. Does it seem that influence is the right word here?

4. Talents. The history of this word is an interesting one. In origin it is Greek, and there it was the name of a weight, which in silver had a certain money value. The same word appearing in Hebrew had a similar meaning. A Hebrew talent in silver would be worth something over seventeen or nineteen hundred dollars of our money. In the New Testament (see Matthew XXV, 14 to 30), Christ utters the parable of the talents. We now use the word to mean intellectual ability or capacity, or skill in accomplishing things, or some special gift in some art or science. It is probable that this figurative meaning of the word has originated from the parable, and although many writers have criticised the use of talent in our sense, it has become well established in the language.

[252]5. Odious. The Latin word from which odious is derived means hatred. An odious thing is a thing to be hated. Our word odium differs slightly in use from our word hatred. We exercise hatred, but we endure odium.

6. Desire. The origin of this word is not certain, but it was probably derived from the French words which mean literally from the stars or constellations.

7. Immense. This word is derived from two Latin words which mean cannot be measured.

8. Coalition. The two Latin words from which coalition is derived mean to grow with; consequently, a coalition is a thing composed of several elements which have grown together. We should not expect a coalition to be suddenly formed; it must come about by process of growth.

9. Appease. Literally, appease means to make peace. It also means to satisfy, and is derived directly from the Latin. We try to appease those who are in passion and try to calm those who are in trouble or apprehension. Does Macaulay use the word properly when he speaks of appeasing indignation?

10. Fluency. The Latin word from which fluency is derived means to flow. Accordingly, a fluent person is one from whom speech flows smoothly and readily. To lack fluency Macaulay considers an unfortunate defect in Francis.

11. Asperity. The Latin word asper means rough or harsh, and was applied to things which had a rough surface. Macaulay uses the word as we now know it, in the same figurative sense in which we now sometimes use the word roughness.

[253]12. Lapse. This word from the Latin means sliding or following. In speaking of the lapse of years Macaulay intimates that they gradually slid away.

13. Pharisaical. The Pharisees were a sect of the Jews who were noted for the strict way in which they followed the rites and ceremonies that had been handed down to them by tradition, and who believed themselves superior in sanctity to the other Jews. They held themselves apart and were charged with being hypocrites. The word Pharisaical has now come into common English use, and means hypocritical.

14. Ostentation. This is a Latin word meaning show or parade. Ostentation and parade both imply effort, but the former refers to the intent rather than to the manner. Ostentation may be shown by parade.

From The Death of Caesar

(Volume IX, page 143)

As preliminary to the intensive study of the speech alluded to below, read to the class or have them read all of the three selections, namely: The Death of Caesar, from Plutarch (page 126); The Death of Caesar, from Shakespeare (page 143), and Julius Caesar, from Froude (page 155). As an example of selections worthy of close reading, take the speech of Cæsar as given on page 153, beginning, “I could be well mov’d, if I were as you.”

Bring out by questions these facts:

A. Words. “Moved”; induced to change my mind.

“Constant”; fixed, unchangeable, immovable.

[254]“Northern star”; the pole star; the north star. To us this star always appears fixed in the northern heavens. The other stars and the constellations revolve around it; Ursa Major, the Big Dipper, is most conspicuous, and by a line through its two front stars we may always locate the North Star and, hence, the direction, north. Mariners have steered by this star for centuries. Many a lost and wandering man has found his way to safety by its fixed light.

“Resting”; always stationary.

“Fellow”; equal.

“Firmament”; sky, heavens.

“Painted”; decorated.

“Sparks”; stars.

“Doth”; does.

“Furnished”; filled.

“Apprehensive”; doubtful, filled with forebodings and easily moved.

“Unassailable”; not subject to attack; here the meaning is rather that of unconquerable.

“Constant”; insistent, the first time the word appears; but unchangeable, the second time.

B. Phrases. “Well moved”; easily moved.

“If I were as you”; if I were as you are, or if I were like you.

“Could pray to move”; could try to change the opinion or the determination of someone else.

“True-fixed and resting quality”; quality of always remaining true or fixed to the one spot in the heavens.

“So in the world”; as all the unnumbered stars shine in the heavens and all move but one, thus in the world.

[255]“Holds on his rank unshak’d of motion”; is fixed in his ideas and unmoved by prayers and petitions.

“And that I am he”; and I am that one immovable man.

“Let me a little show it”; let me give a little proof.

C. Sentences. The first sentence means: If I could beg others to change their purposes, I could be induced to change mine; but I am as fixed in my conclusions as the north star is fixed in the heavens. The second sentence says: As there are unnumbered movable stars in the heavens and only one that is fixed, so in the world there are unnumbered changeable men and only one who is fixed in his determination; that I am the one determined man let me prove a little by saying that, as I was persistent in banishing Cimber so will I continue to keep him in banishment.

D. The paragraph. The whole speech is a refusal on Cæsar’s part to grant the petition of the conspirators who plead that Cimber may be brought back from banishment. The words are well calculated to stir up resentment and to fix the plotters in their plan to murder Cæsar. Even Brutus would be convinced by such sentiments that Cæsar was a dangerous man; if the great Roman thought himself the only man with such determination, might he not think himself the one man of the world in all respects? The conspirators were looking for an excuse for killing Cæsar, and they might find it in this speech; Brutus was being led to believe that Cæsar was too ambitious and here was the final argument to convince him.



Close Reading—(Concluded)

The Author—Figures of Speech

Real appreciation of literature is dependent on effort, and each acquired impression aids all others in proportion to its intensity. We can interpret only by what our minds already contain, so that the earlier years of one’s reading are largely devoted to the acquirement of material for future use. In this way the myths and folk stories with which children fill their minds become the touchstones that enable them in later years to read with interest and judge accurately the literature that falls within their reach. The later one begins his reading, the more difficult it is for him to master the art. He has not the simplest standards of literary judgment nor even the ideas from which such standards are to be formed. Elegance of style and skill in the choice of words are entirely lost upon him, as is the delicate meaning involved in the play of appropriate figures and in the brilliance of the pictures limned in colors to which his eye is blind. Such a person can come to enjoy the pleasures of literature, but it is by way of a long and careful course of study, and it is probable that his appreciation will never be as keen as it would have been if he had gathered his literary stock in trade at the same time that his senses were first opening to the world. Then the skies and the [257]flowers, the song of birds and the hum of insects, the quiet reaches of still lakes and the roaring surge, gave to him the sensations to which literature appeals.

There is no need for one to feel discouragement when at first he does not admire all that the critics say is beautiful, but prefers some of the simple things that he knew in his childhood. The critic is right from his point of view, but there is merit, too, in the judgment of the humble reader. A person would hesitate to say the critic’s judgment is the higher were it not for the fact that anyone reading carefully will find his tastes changing and constantly approximating higher standards. Each year brings him nearer to the critic’s position and he sees excellence and is touched by beauty in selections that before have been devoid of any interest. It is to aid this growth in power of comprehension, this refinement of taste, that one reads.

The Author. When the study relates to a specific selection it is wise to create an interest by looking for all the contributory aids that can be found. Sometimes a knowledge of the life of the author or of the circumstances under which the selection was written will stimulate a desire to know what has been said and will moreover assist to make the meaning clear and to create the same sentiment that inspired the writer. To know that Snow-Bound is a description of Whittier’s own home, that the people about the fireside are his own parents, brothers, sisters, and that he paints them with a loving touch after all but the one brother have passed to the other side, is to make the poem appeal to our emotions with an intensity which the beautiful lines [258]alone could not effect. Ichabod we read once, but when we know the meaning of its spiritual name and remember that it is Whittier’s indignant rebuke of Webster for his vacillating policy in the slavery agitation, we read it again with a renewed and more vivid interest. Many things, however, are so universal that one cares not whether they were written by a Hindoo or an American, whether they are full of personal experience or drawn with the fervor of the most ardent imagination. Wordsworth’s Daffodils (Volume VII, page 1) would charm us and our hearts would dance as joyfully if we knew nothing of the pensive poet of the English lakes.

Sentences. Words alone are not a sufficient possession. They must be known in all their relations. A comprehension of the structure of the sentence is always necessary. A sentence is a unit of thought, an idea reduced to its lowest terms. It may not be necessary that each sentence be analyzed strictly by grammatical rules, but it is essential that the reader should recognize by study if necessary the subject and the predicate and the character and rank of all the modifiers of each. Even the practiced reader by unconsciously laying undue prominence upon some minor phrase frequently modifies the meaning an author intends to convey. This is particularly true in verse, where the poet, hemmed in by the rules that govern his meter and his rhyme, varies the natural order of the elements of a sentence to bring the accents where they belong or to throw the rhyming word to the end of a verse. The grouping of related sentences into paragraphs is an aid to the reader and should be noticed by him till the habit of expecting a slight change in thought [259]with the indentation of a line becomes fixed and automatic.

Allusions. But one may have the most perfect knowledge of all the words, his comprehension of the meaning of the sentence may be exact and full, and yet the special thought which the expression carries may never reach his mind. Ruskin writes: “Gather a single blade of grass and examine for a minute, quietly, its narrow swordshaped strip of fluted green. Nothing, as it seems, there, of notable goodness or beauty. A very little strength, and a very little tallness, and a few delicate long lines meeting in a point—not a perfect point either, but blunt and unfinished, by no means a creditable or apparently much cared for example of Nature’s workmanship; made, as it seems, only to be trodden on today, and tomorrow to be cast into the oven; and a little pale and hollow stalk, feeble and flaccid, leading down to the dull brown fibres of roots. And yet, think of it well, and judge whether of all the gorgeous flowers that beam in summer air, and of all strong and goodly trees, pleasant to the eyes and good for food—stately palm and pine, strong ash and oak, scented citron burdened vine—there be any by man so deeply loved, by God so highly graced as that narrow point of feeble green.” Words and sentences are all plain and simple and clear. Perhaps we pause a moment at “scented citron,” for the citron as we know it is a vine bearing a melonlike fruit and we are not aware that it is especially fragrant. But this is another plant—a tree that bears a sweet-scented fruit not unlike the lemon. “Burdened vine” seems a trifle obscure—why burdened vine? A vine carrying a weight?[260] What weight? The ripened clusters of purple fruit bending the swaying vines to the warm earth while autumn tints the leaves to harmonious colors. “Burdened vine” is a suggestive expression indeed to the person of a little imagination who has walked through the long aisles of a thriving vineyard. Is the passage now clear to us and perfectly understood? Does it convey to us what Ruskin really thought?—“Tomorrow to be cast into the oven.” What a strange expression! Do we put grass into an oven? How came Ruskin to mention such a thing? “To be cast into the oven.” We have seen “burdened vines” and we understand the “scented citron,” but what of this grass “cast into the oven”? Back in the mind of the artist-critic lie the lessons of his childhood when an ambitious father and a strict mother intended him for the church and trained him carefully to a close and accurate knowledge of the scriptures. So when he writes of the grass of the field he almost unconsciously uses the language of the bible: “Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” We his readers interpret his feelings and his meaning in this only as we have learned the same lessons.

Examples of such allusions abound throughout literature. In The Vision of Sir Launfal, Lowell says:

“Daily, with souls that cringe and plot,
We Sinais climb and know it not.”

With a knowledge of geography we might locate the mountain and understand the sentence, but the [261]tremendous power of the lines can never be felt unless we know the story of Moses and so realize that we stand every day like the patriarch of old in the very presence of God himself.

The mythology of Greece and Rome furnishes to English literature allusions so pointed, so vivid, and so full of beautiful suggestion that a knowledge of the myths is necessary to any real culture. Modern writers do not make such ready use of them as did the older schools, but Lowell and Tennyson, Browning and Arnold, and a host of minor writers assume that their readers know as their alphabet the stories of mythology. In his hymn On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity, Milton has this stanza following one which tells that the shepherds heard the sweet music:

“Nature that heard such sound
Beneath the hollow round
Of Cynthia’s seat the airy region thrilling,
Now was almost won
To think her part was done,
And that her reign had here its last fulfilling;
She knew such harmony alone
Could hold all Heaven and Earth in happier Union.”

How little of intelligent interest attaches to the first three lines if one has no knowledge beyond the literal meaning of the phrases! “The hollow round of Cynthia’s seat” has beauty for that person only who knows something of the Ptolemaic system of astronomy and of the huntress-queen of Greek mythology.

Allusions lead one to every department of knowl[262]edge and are the result of the early training and experience of the author. No one needs to be told that Milton studied the classics, that Ruskin and Tennyson read the bible devotedly, that Shakespeare passed his early life in the country. The unconscious trend of their thought as shown by their allusions gives that information most distinctly. If a man loves history in his youth his writings will be filled with historical allusions; if he is a devotee of science one will find the phenomena of nature the source of his illustrations. The reader must be ready to understand and interpret feelingly these allusions no matter what the particular bent of the author. To the student the allusion is often very difficult of comprehension, for if it comes in the way of an ingenious paraphrase he may pass over it without the slightest recognition. When it is direct, a dictionary or other reference book will frequently make it sufficiently clear.

Basis of Figures. The allusion is but one of many ways in which an author varies the literal meaning of his sentences and gives more force and beauty to his statements. There are a large number of different figures of speech, but such fine distinctions as the rhetoricians make are unnecessary for the ordinary student of literature. It is the meaning the figures convey that concerns us, for an adept in reading always notices the skilful use of figures, and his pleasure is heightened by their delicacy and beauty.

In the study of figures one must first carefully determine the basis in reality or the literal meaning and then the figurative or applied meaning. Browning speaks of

[263]“—selfish worthless human slugs whose slime
Has failed to lubricate their path in life.”

Here the reader must see disgusting slugs or snails crawling lazily across the ripening apples in the orchard and leaving behind them the filthy streak of slime with which they made the way easy for their ugly bodies, but in so doing defiled the fruit for human use. So much is the basis in fact. Knowing this one can feel the poet’s stinging denunciation of the one who cast the beautiful girl in the way of the heartless Guido instead of “putting a prompt foot on him the worthless human slug.”

“To unhusk truth a-hiding in its hulls.”

Here Browning has gone to the fields for his figure and we shall see the ripened grain, the corn or the wheat, the merry huskers at work upon it, turning out the glowing ear from its covering of dim paper wraps; or perchance a group of disciples walking with their Master and rubbing the hulls from the wheat gathered on the Sabbath day. Whatever the scene that comes in mind, one fact there is—underneath the dried and worthless hulls lies the living and life-giving grain. So we find truth bright and genuine when we have torn from it the coverings with which it has been concealed.

Such practice as this in working out elaborately the figure often given in barest hint strengthens the imagination and gives to thought the versatility that makes reading a delight and an inspiration. Till the imagination is furnished material and given freedom, literature is as worthless as the husks.

Simile. As we learn to know one thing from its likeness to another, it is natural that the writer [264]should seek to make impressions vivid by comparison with better known things. Sometimes these comparisons are expressed in words, and one thing is said to be like another, while at other times the comparison is left to be inferred and one thing is said to be another. The simile states the likeness. Browning seeks to make us see vividly the hideous character of one of his villains and says that on his very face you could read his crimes—

“Large-lettered like Hell’s masterpiece of print.”

The comparison “like Hell’s masterpiece” is a simile.

Study each simile you find, and state the exact meaning of each literally. Compare your statement with the figurative one and see if the latter is clearer, more forcible, or more beautiful. If any one of the similes seems less vivid than your own literal statement, ask yourself if the fault is your own in that you are not thoroughly familiar with the basis of the figure. It is not necessary that your judgment should be unassailable. The value of the proceeding lies in the exercise of your attention and reason. Your judgments will improve, your appreciation grow keener and more delicate.


I see in the world the intellect of man,
That sword, the energy, his subtle spear,
The knowledge, which defends him like a shield.”

This is another quotation from Browning in which he says intellect is a sword and energy a spear, thereby assuming a comparison and using [265]the figure metaphor, while in the last line he uses the simile “like a shield.” Ingersoll calls the grave “the windowless palace of rest,” and Whittier refers to it in a beautiful metaphor as “the low green tent whose curtain never outward swings.”

Synecdoche and Metonymy. Another group of figures consists in naming one thing for something else closely associated with it in thought. When this relation is that of a part to the whole or of the whole to a part, the figure is synecdoche. Thus, when Browning says “pert tongue and idle ear consort ‘neath the archway” he conveys the idea that idle gossips gather beneath the archway and with sharp tongues talk over the failings of their neighbors, and he uses synecdoche in making the ear and the tongue, parts of the body, signify the person. Our everyday language is full of these figures in which a part of an object is named to represent the whole. We speak of owning “twenty head of cattle,” of hiring “ten hands,” of seeing “fifteen sails,” when we mean that we own twenty cattle, that we hire ten men, that we see fifteen boats.

When the relation expressed is that of a sign or symbol and that which is signified or symbolized, a cause and its effect, a material and that which is made from it, or is some other similar association of ideas, the figure is metonymy.

We speak of “the pulpit” when we mean the ministry, the “stage” when we mean the theatrical world, and thus use concrete symbols to represent abstract ideas. Again, we frequently make use of such an expression as “Have you read Pope or Dryden?” when we refer to the works rather than [266]to the writer, and thus substitute cause for effect. “Columns of glittering steel advanced” contains another form of metonymy, that in which a material (steel) is named for that made from it (spears).

Search for examples of these two figures in the selections in Journeys Through Bookland. Both are elusive, and at first you are apt to pass over many without noticing them. As you continue your search and grow keen in it you will be surprised to see how common they are, both in what you read and in your own speech.

Apostrophe and Personification. An address to a person or thing, absent or dead, is an apostrophe, and when an inanimate object is assumed to be alive or an animate object is assumed to be raised to a higher plane of existence it is said to be by personification. Examples of the latter figure are “death’s menace,” “laugh of morn.” In the line “Lucidity of soul unlocks the lips” are both metonymy and personification. The following is the beginning of a beautiful apostrophe:

“O lyric Love, half angel and half bird,
And all a wonder and a wild desire,—
Boldest of hearts that ever braved the sun,
Took sanctuary within the holier blue,
And sang a kindred soul out to his face,
Yet human at the red-ripe of the heart
When the first summons from the darking earth
Reached thee amid thy chambers, blanched their blue
And bared them of the glory—to drop down,
To toil for man, to suffer or to die,—
This is the same voice; can thy soul know change?”

[267]Another fine example is found in Whittier’s Snow-Bound:

“O Time and Change!—with hair as gray
As was my sire’s that winter day,
How strange it seems, with so much gone
Of life and love, to still live on!
Ah, brother! only I and thou
Are left all that circle now,—
The dear home faces whereupon
That fitful firelight paled and shone.
Henceforward, listen as we will,
The voices of that hearth are still;
Look where we may, the wide earth o’er,
Those lighted faces smile no more.
We tread the path their feet have worn,
We sit beneath their orchard trees,
We hear, like them, the hum of bees
And rustle of the bladed corn;
We turn the pages that they read,
Their written words we linger o’er,
But in the sun they cast no shade,
No voice is heard, no sign is made,
No step is on the conscious floor.”

The following lines are from Lord Byron’s Apostrophe to the Ocean:

“Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean—roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin—his control
Stops with the shore;—upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man’s ravage, save his own,
When, for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
[268] Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.”

Children enjoy searching for the different varieties of figures in the selections which they read. Not much instruction is needed, and it is not necessary that they should know the names of the different figures or acquire a great deal of technical knowledge. Yet in helping them to recognize figures it is best to proceed in a logical manner, showing, one at a time, what the principal figures are, upon what they are based, and what they add in vividness and beauty to the language. When one figure is understood, help the children to find many good examples in other selections, before taking up the second figure.

As a help to parents and children, we give an outline here for a study of the figures of speech in Shelley’s beautiful Ode to a Skylark (Volume VII, page 275).

1. Simile:

“From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire.”

Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.”

“With music sweet as love.”

Like a star of heaven
In the broad daylight.”

2. Metaphor:

“From rainbow clouds there flow not
Drops so bright to see,
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.”

“Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream!”


“In the golden lightning
Of the sunken sun.”

3 and 4. Metonymy and Synecdoche are nearly related and in this poem the examples are numerous. Here are a few:

“Better than all treasures
That in books are found.”

“Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know.”

“Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight.”

“The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflowed.”

“The blue deep thou wingest.”

5. Personification. In this poem the poet personifies the lark, beginning with “Blithe spirit, bird thou never wert,” in the first stanza and closing with “Teach me half the gladness that thy brain must know,” in the last stanza.

6. Apostrophe. Most odes have in them something of the nature of an apostrophe. The Ode to a Skylark begins

“Hail to thee, blithe spirit!”

Further along in the lyric we find the line,

“Teach us, bird or sprite.”

Young children will not appreciate the ode as it deserves; accordingly it will be better to use simpler poems for the first lessons. The obvious figures may well be shown first, leaving the more finished and brilliant ones till the minds of the children become more mature. For instance, as the simile is the most obvious of figures and may be found in nearly every poem of any length, it is the best with [270]which to begin. Notice what a number can be found in A Visit from Saint Nicholas (Volume II, page 202). Explain those that are used in the description of Saint Nicholas:

“And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.”

“His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.”

“The smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.”

“That shook, when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.”

Encourage the children to find other similes themselves—the characteristic like and as will make the task easy.

In The First Snowfall (Volume II, page 403) are a number of metaphors which may be easily explained to children. For instance, the following will be readily understood:

“Every pine and fir and hemlock
Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
And the poorest twig on the elm tree
Was ridged inch deep with pearl.”

“The stiff rails were softened to swan’s-down.”


We have considered the most common and expressive figures, and if one accustoms himself to the recognition of these and an explanation of their meaning as has been indicated here, he will soon recognize others of more complex type. Mere [271]classification is valueless; our purpose is to learn to see and to feel more clearly and more deeply by means of our intelligent grasp upon these figurative expressions.

Thought, then, is mastered by attention to the details we have discussed, and until we habitually notice these things our reading is apt to be slipshod and profitless. It will help us to retain these facts in mind if we put them into a systematic outline.

Mastery of thought, which is at the foundation of an appreciation of literature, depends upon mastery of—

  1. I.  Words in their special meaning.
  2. II.  Allusions, or references to
  3. 1. Historical events and personages.
  4. 2. Literary masterpieces.
  5. 3. Scientific truths.
  6. 4. Biblical events and truths.
  7. 5. Mythological creations.
  8. III. Figures, of which the more important and common are those—
  9. 1. Based on comparisons:
  10. a. simile.
  11. b. metaphor.
  12. 2. Based on natural associations:
  13. a. synecdoche.
  14. b. metonymy.
  15. 3. Of apostrophe.
  16. 4. Of personification.
  17. IV.  Sentences, the units of thought.
  18. V.  Paragraphs, the collections of related thought units.



Reading Poetry

Nothing so brings out the music and the structural beauty of poetry as reading it aloud, and many who have cared nothing for verse in any of its forms learn to love it when they hear it read frequently by a sympathetic voice. Children love the nursery rhymes largely because they have heard them and have caught the sound and rhythm more than the meaning. It is the lively music more than the whimsical meaning that has made the rhymes popular. When the time comes that children begin to lose their interest and consider poetry beneath them, their flagging attention often may be aroused and new interest created by simply reading new selections aloud to them and talking with them about the meaning and beauties of the poems.

On page 410 of Volume One is Longfellow’s exquisite poem, The Reaper and the Flowers. We can imagine a little family group reading this some quiet evening when the lamp throws shadows into the corners and the bed-time hour draws near. No one could call the children in on a fine summer day, and, when fresh from their play, the blood is bounding through their veins, expect them to be touched by delicate sentiment, or to appreciate musical numbers. Literature has something for every hour, [273]every mood, every circumstance. It may be that there is one little vacant chair in this family circle, or that from some neighbor’s family a child has gone. Fear clutches at the youthful hearts and Grief shudders behind each chair. Even the warm bed in the dark room is a dread, for we have so surrounded death with mystery and terror that even the young are aghast when it is mentioned. But our best-loved poet has a cheering message for every one, and into this little group the parent brings it. In soft and sympathetic voice he reads aloud, giving the slow and gentle music of the lines time to steal into the youthful hearts.

As he reads, he pauses now and then to speak to his little audience, watching ever not to be sharp in his questionings or anything but kindly in his comments. Something like the following might be the way he brings out the meaning:

“‘There is a Reaper, whose name is Death,
And, with his sickle keen,
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath,
And the flowers that grow between.’

“A Reaper—a man walking in the grain, cutting it as he goes. Not with a machine such as we see on the farm nowadays, but with a short curved blade which the poet calls a sickle. It is a keen blade the sickle has, and with every stroke ripened grain and all the little flowers that have grown up among it fall to the ground. But the poet means more. He thinks that the Reaper is Death, that the bearded grain is the men and women who have lived to a ripe old age and who are ready to die, ready for the rewards of a long and well-spent life.[274] But alas, the flowers fall with the ripened grain: sometimes little children must die, although dearly would we like to keep them with us.

“Then the Reaper speaks: ‘Shall I have nothing fair and beautiful, must I have nothing but dry and bearded grain? I love these beautiful flowers; their fragrance is dear to me. Yet I will give them back again; some time you may see them again.’

“So Death looked at the little children with tears filling his kindly eyes. As they faded and drooped he kissed them gently and took them softly and sorrowfully into his arms. He was gathering these lovely innocents to take them to his Lord, where in Paradise they might be happy evermore, without any of the privations and sufferings that come to every one who grows up.

“As he wept, not for the little children, but for all who stay behind, he continued to speak smilingly through his tears to the sorrowing ones on earth:

“‘Christ needs these dear ones, these flowerets gay: to him they are tokens dear of the earth where once he played and sang on the hills of Judea. Can you not trust them to him who said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the Kingdom of God?” Have no fear; I am but moving them into the bright heavenly mansions, where they shall rest safely in the bosoms of the saints and angels.’

“And the mother, who loved them so, gave up her darling ones, for she saw, even through her tears, how happy they must be in their new home.

“‘O not in cruelty, not in wrath,
The Reaper came that day;’

[275]it was a young and beautiful Angel, not the hideous Death in black robes and hood scarce hiding his bony head, that

“‘visited the green earth,
And took the flowers away.’

“Does Death seem so terrible now? Although we must always see the vacant chair and know that a loved one has gone forever, can we not realize that it is we who suffer, and not the one who has been taken from among us? Is it not selfish to grieve?”

Shall we fear Death any more? When the parent has read the poem once more from beginning to end in silence, except as the soft words fall from his lips, will not the hearers feel inspired to be better and nobler boys and girls, men and women? Will darkness have more fear for them? Will they not then go to their rooms and lie down peacefully to sleep?

There are other poems for other hours. Some day when you wish a bit of fun with your children you will find humorous poems in many of the books. One is in Volume IV, on page 57. Nearly every stanza contains a “joke”: a pun, if you please, usually. Perhaps you and your children will find them all easily, and perhaps you will not. In the last stanza is the “joke” proper, the thing for which the rhymes were written. It is an old joke, surely enough, and you have seen others like it; but it is funny still and perhaps a little caustic. Not all men whom the world calls good are good beneath the surface. Perhaps you know of cases in which “the Dog it was that died.”

[276]Another humorous poem to use in this connection is Echo (Volume III, page 286).

Between the two extremes mentioned above are selections for all moods and all kinds of people. The things to be remembered in reading with children are, that poetry must be understood to be appreciated; that it must be heard until the mind is trained to receive it through the eye instead of the ear; that it appeals to the feelings more than to the will; that it must be interpreted by the light of experience, and hence must be adapted to the age of the reader. A person would not read The Reaper and the Flowers at a dancing party, nor The Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog before a funeral.

Below are a few studies more complete and of different types.

The Brown Thrush

(Volume I, page 147)

We find great charm in this short lyric, for its form is unusual, its music joyous and its sentiment fine. Three lines of four feet each, a line of three feet, two lines of two feet each, and one line of three feet make up each stanza. The accent in each foot is on the last syllable, but some of the feet are only two syllables long. It’s a merry meter. It scarcely can be read without stirring a rollicking melody in the ears of the listener. That’s the art in the poem. The sentiment is as fine as the music. “The world’s running over with joy! I’m as happy as happy can be.” If the little brown thrush keeps singing that song the heart of everyone who hears it will overflow with joy. But it would be easy, [277]very easy indeed, to stop the joyous song of the thrush by meddling with the five pretty eggs, and when the thrush changed his happy song to harsh notes of fear and reproach, the light of joy would fade from our day as quickly as from his.

The Child’s World

(Volume II, page 66)

The unique measures of this brief poem make a melodious whole that every child will appreciate. Unless some care is taken in reading it aloud, however, much of its beauty will be lost. This is particularly true of the first stanza, from the first and last lines of which a syllable has been omitted. The absence of these syllables must be indicated by pauses or by giving more time to the word “great” in the first line, and to the word “world” in the last line. The idea may be indicated by supposing that the word “O” has been omitted from the beginning of the first and last line. The first line of the last couplet is peculiar in that every one of the four feet contains three syllables with the accent on the last. All the other lines consist each of four feet of either two or three syllables. Technically the poem is anapestic tetrameter much varied by the introduction of iambic feet. (See the studies in meter, Volume VII, pages 2 and 13.)

The rhymes are all in couplets and are perfect. The stanzas, like paragraphs, indicate changes in thought. Its pleasing unity rests in the fact that it is all a child’s thoughts about the world. It is logical, a real leading up of thought to natural climax. The child begins with wonder and a sense of beauty around her. The world is great and wide [278]and wonderful and beautiful. She thinks of the sea she has read about or seen and thinks of the wonderful water curling up in waves above the shore. To her the world is the land with the wonderful growing grass upon its broad breast, and this marks the end of her first thought—the great world is beautifully dressed.

Next as she sits on the brow of the hill and gazes over the lowland the breezes blow her hair about her face and her mind passes to the wonderful air that as wind shakes the trees, ripples the water, whirls the mills and sings through the trees on the tops of the hills.

Thought wanders on to the nodding wheat, the rivers, cliffs, and islands, to the cities and the people everywhere for thousands of miles. What is the effect of this vastness on the thought of a child? Can you not realize for yourself any clear night that you may gaze at the numberless stars in the arching skies? How small, how infinitely little are we in all the great universe! Have we the imagination to grasp the saving thought that comes so naturally into the clear mind of the child? Though I am so small, so insignificant, I can think and love, but the wonderful earth can not. A philosophy well worth keeping, is it not?

Seven Times One

(Volume II, page 119)

Jean Ingelow’s poem has in it many things to interest a child, but there may be some things that will be clearer for explanation.

Stanza 1. In England the daisy grows wild almost everywhere, a little, low plant which pro[279]duces its heads of white, pink-tipped flowers from a rosette of leaves. In the United States we often see daisies in cultivation but they are nowhere native. The child is at her seventh birthday and has learned her multiplication table, the “sevens”. Nowadays in our schools the children do not have the drudgery of committing the long tables to memory as their grand-parents did. Our little friend thinks that as she has lived seven years that makes her “seven times one are seven.”

Stanza 2. One is so old at seven, so very old—why one can even write a letter. But now with the birthday lessons learned she can think of other things; for instance there are the lambs who play always, for they have no lessons to learn. They are not old and they are “only one times one,” not “seven times one,” which are seven.

Stanza 3. She has seen the moon when it was full and bright and gave a wondrous light, but now it is only a pale crescent in the sky and its light is failing. Certainly the moon is failing and not like the child improving each day.

Stanza 4. Occasionally the child has done wrong and been punished, and perhaps the moon has done something wrong way up there in heaven so that God has hidden its face. If that is true she hopes soon God will forgive the poor moon and allow it to shine once more with its silver light.

Stanza 5. Isn’t “velvet bee” a happy expression? Then the bee gathers the yellow pollen from the flowers, mixes and shapes it into little pellets and fastens them in golden balls on its thighs to carry into the hive where it will serve as “bee bread” to feed the young bees. In the wet places grow [280]the marsh marigolds, or cowslips as they are sometimes called, bright golden flowers like the buttercups. To the bee and the cowslips the little child joyfully cries: “Give me your golden honey to hold, for I am seven years old and know what to do with it.”

Stanza 6. The columbine is the graceful little flower we so often hear called honeysuckle. Five deep curved nectar-bearing tubes project backward from the flower itself. By opening the blossom in the right way the child of fanciful ideas may see shapes that remind her of turtle doves.

The cuckoo-pint (by the way, the i is short as in pit) does not grow in the United States. It has spotted leaves, large and triangular, and the “bell” is an upright green cup in which stands a tall column, the “clapper.” It is called cuckoo-pint because it blossoms about the time the cuckoo returns to England. Our nearest approach to the flower is the “Jack-in-the-Pulpit” or Indian Turnip.

It is perfectly safe for the columbine to unfold its wrapper and the cuckoo-pint to toll its bell in the presence of a maiden so old. She will not destroy them.

Stanza 7. In the United States we have no wild linnet, though we sometimes hear song-birds called by that name. The English linnet is a little sparrow with striped back and a purple crown and breast. He resembles our purple finch and our redpoll. He is one of the famous songsters of the English lanes and fields.

No young lady of seven would be so thoughtless as to steal away the young linnets, so the old bird may freely point out the nest.

[281]At what time of the year does the little girl’s birthday come?

The First Snowfall

(Volume II, page 403)

A. The Author. For a sketch of the life of James Russell Lowell, see Volume VII, page 411.

B. The Meaning. Words and Phrases:

“Gloaming”; early evening.

“Silence.” The snow is called a silence, because it hushes noise, or prevents it.

“Pine and fir and hemlock”; three evergreen trees.

“Ermine”; the fur from a northern animal of the same name. It is very soft and white. Earls, nobles of rank, wore ermine on their robes to show their high birth.

“Pearl”; a white, lustrous jewel, or the beautiful lining of some sea shells.

“Carrara”; a town in Italy, whence comes the finest white marble. Here Carrara means costly marble.

“Swan’s down.” Swans have fine soft down between their feathers. It protects them from cold in winter, and in summer they line their nests with it.

“Noiseless work”; covering everything with snow.

“Mound”; grave.

“Auburn”; a beautiful cemetery near Boston.

“Babes in the Wood”; an allusion to the old story of the children who were lost in the woods, and whom the robins covered with leaves to protect them.

[282]“All-father”; God, the Father of all.

“Leaden”; gray and heavy, lead-colored.

“Arched”; curved.

“Deep-plunged woe”; a sorrow that plunged us deep in misery.

“Eyes that saw not.” His eyes were so filled with tears that he could not see “Mabel,” who is really his daughter Rose.

My kiss was given to her sister.” He was thinking so deeply of his lost daughter, that it seemed almost as though he kissed the dead lips.

“Folded close.” The soft, downy snow made him think of a soft, warm covering for the form of his little one.

C. Form and Structure.

There are ten stanzas of four verses (lines) each, with the rhymes at the ends of the second and fourth verses only. The word snow is used four times in rhymes; the words rhyming with it are crow, below, woe and know. All the rhymes in the poem are perfect.

The meter is varied iambic trimeter. The first and third lines of each stanza have an added unaccented syllable, while the second and fourth have just three full feet. Anapestic feet are used freely to improve the music; in fact, they are nearly as numerous as the iambic feet.

The scansion of the first stanza may be indicated thus:


[283]The scansion of the sixth stanza may be shown as follows:

Who cares´|for-us-here´|be-low´

They are musical stanzas, and the finely chosen words add much to the melody.

D. Sentiment. Lowell had a little daughter, Blanche, who died shortly before this poem was composed, so we may be sure that it was written from a full heart. He begins by giving us one of the most beautiful pictures of a snow-storm and of a snow-covered world that was ever written.

(Compare Lowell’s other description of winter to be found in the second part of The Vision of Sir Launfal and Whittier’s description in Snow-Bound.)

When he has made us feel the softness, gentleness and beauty of the snow and caused us to forget that it is cold and damp, he speaks of himself. We can see him sitting by the window looking out upon the beautiful pearl-clad world. He brings us right into his own presence and we can almost see the flocks of startled brown snowbirds whirling by. Not till now, when we are fully in sympathy with him, does he let us know that he has met with a deep, heart-breaking loss. Now we know what the soft flakes are hiding from sight, and our hearts go out with his.

Then his innocent little daughter comes in with the simple, commonplace question which he answers so touchingly. Can you not see him with [284]his arm around the child, telling her of the care of the Father who loves little children so dearly? Yet his mind cannot free itself wholly from his first great sorrow, though he remembers that calmness, resignation, and gentle patience fell over his heart as the soft snow falls flake by flake from the leaden sky.

To the child, however, he speaks words that she will not fully understand until she, too, is grown and has met with sorrow: “It is only the merciful Father, darling, who can make fall that gentle comfort that heals and hides all suffering.”

Once more our hearts are wrung with sympathy when with tear-filled eyes he gives the little maiden by his side the kiss that was for the silent lips in sweet Auburn. The little one, kissing back, could not know the grief of her father’s heart or realize that another form than hers was clasped in his embrace.

How much better we know the great poet when he tells us his personal griefs in so touching a manner! How sweet is the lesson of patience and resignation when communicated in such a beautiful poem!

E. Beauty and Effectiveness in Phrasing. Where in literature will you find more beautiful phrases, more effective figures, than abound in this poem? Notice particularly the following, and try to determine why each is remarkable:

“With a silence deep and white.”

“Ermine too dear for an earl.”

“Stiff rails softened to swan’s down.”

“The noiseless work of the sky.”


“the leaden sky
That arched o’er our first great sorrow.”

“The scar of our deep-plunged woe.”

“Folded close in deepening snow.”

F. Conclusion. The First Snowfall is one of the most perfect poems in our language. In beauty of composition, of music, of sentiment, and in deep religious feeling it can scarcely be excelled. Be guarded how you teach it; treat it reverently. Try to cause the children to love it, to wish to memorize it. If you see that you are not securing these results, leave the poem and take up something else. It is almost a sin to spoil it for any person.

The Potato

(Volume II, page 467)

Thomas Moore’s amusing stanza may seem silly to some people, but those who have a sense of humor will be delighted with the whimsical conception of a potato with so independent a spirit. It usually spoils humor to comment upon it. To explain a joke is to kill it. The sense of humor is contagious. Children will laugh when older people smile just from sympathy. When they ask “what’s the joke?” it is time to explain. Even then it is best to give merely facts and let the joke make its own way. Laughter lightens many a heavy burden, and a sense of humor is a saving grace. Cultivate it by indirection.

Origin of the Opal

(Volume II, page 480)

The opal is a beautiful stone which seen at different angles and in different lights seems to glow [286]with various colors. The polished surface may seem, as you first look at it, to be only a milky white. Turn it a little and it glows a bright flame color with green lights round the margin. Turned a little more it shows violet and silver. Other shades mingle with these, all coming and going as light and position vary. A fine opal is a wonderfully brilliant precious stone.

The idea of the poem, too, is beautiful. Here is a transparent dewdrop; in it is the flame of the last ray of sun. As the drop lies in the violet it takes that color, and steals from the rose her delicate shades. From the sky it draws the blue, from a leaf its green and silver. When all these colors have been taken in, the drop is congealed, and imprisoned in its heart are the fiery flame, the rich violet, the rose tints, the skyey blue, the delicate green and the gleaming silver. This is the opal.

The Barefoot Boy

(Volume IV, page 3)

On page 5 occur the lines,

“Mine, on bended orchard trees,
Apples of Hesperides!”

According to the old Greeks, there lay far to the west, in the ocean, a wonderful island where were kept, under the guard of a gruesome dragon, the beautiful golden apples which Gaea gave as a wedding present to Zeus. The Hesperides were the three daughters of Night, who ruled the guardian dragon. These golden apples, then, came to be known as the apples of Hesperides. When Hercules in his madness had slain his three children [287]he was condemned to do whatever his cousin Eurystheus demanded for his purification. His tasks came to be known as the Twelve Labors of Hercules, and the eleventh was to obtain the golden apples from the Hesperides. He accomplished this task among the others, but the apples were subsequently restored. To the barefoot boy the apples of his New England tree were as choice as the golden ones of the Greek myth.

Do not fail to see the exquisite picture painted by these beautiful descriptive lines on pages 5 and 6.

“O’er me, like a regal tent,
Cloudy-ribbed, the sunset bent,
Purple-curtained, fringed with gold,
Looped in many a wind-swing fold.”

The Bugle Song

(Volume VI, page 133)

Among the many charming lyrics which Tennyson has written, there are few more musical or more delicately beautiful than The Bugle Song. It may be appreciated better perhaps if we have knowledge of its setting. It occurs in The Princess, and has no immediate connection with anything that precedes or follows.

Three pairs of youthful lovers have been climbing above a lovely glade wherein is pitched the tent of the Princess. As they climbed, “Many a little hand glanced like a touch of sunshine on the rocks, and many a light foot shone like a jewel set in the dark crag.” They wound about the cliffs, and out and in among the copses, striking off pieces of various rocks and chattering over their stony [288]names, until they reached the summit and the sun grew broader as he set and threw his rosy light upon the heights above the glade. When in this poetic vein Tennyson has described the scene, he throws in The Bugle Song without any comment.

We will understand it better if we paraphrase it briefly. Let us imagine ourselves standing on some peak and looking over a scene lighted by the setting sun.

“The splendor falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story.”

The light in long quivering beams is thrown across the lakes, and a wild cataract, made glorious by the golden light, leaps down a neighboring precipice. At this moment, somewhere in the distance we hear a bugle which sets wild echoes flying in every direction about us. As these echoes die away,

“O hark, O hear! how thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, farther going,”

there comes reflected to us from cliff and abrupt promontory the faint sound of the little horns of Fairyland. To them the purple glens reply in echoes gently dying into silence. O love, those echoes die away in the rich sky, and faint into nothingness on hill and field and river; but echoes of our thoughts, our feelings, of ourselves, roll on from one soul to another and grow in power forever and forever.

The music in the lyric is dependent upon the choice of words and the arrangement of words. The words are chosen because of their meaning and because of the sounds which compose them.[289] They are so arranged that the sequence is melodious and that the accents fall where needed to perfect the meter. The first three lines are perfectly smooth and regular, but the fourth is an abrupt change; “And the wild cataract leaps in glory” suggests power and strong interrupted motion. The last two lines of the stanza are somewhat irregular in meter, and the double repetition of the last word suggests the time elapsing while the echoes are flying back and forth between the surrounding cliffs, growing fainter and fainter with each repetition. In reading we show this: “Blow, bugle,” is the original sound; we pause for the echoes to answer, “dying, dying, dying.”

In the second stanza the poet has selected words in which the vowels have thin and delicate sounds:

“how thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, farther going!”

So soft are the echoes that they suggest to the poet the delicate refrain from the musical instruments of fairies, and he describes it in the poetic phrase,

“The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!”

The meter of the last stanza, which is more irregular than the others, we can indicate as follows:

O love´|they die´|in yon´|rich sky´
They faint´|on hill´|or field´|or riv´|er:
Our ech´|oes roll´|from soul´|to soul´,
And grow´|for ev´|er and´|for ev´|er
Blow, bu´|gle, blow´|—set´|the wild ech´|oes fly´|ing,
And an´|swer, ech´|oes, an´|swer, dy´|ing, dy´|ing, dy´|ing.

[290]In the next to the last line there are five feet and one added syllable, if we consider that the pause which we naturally make before the word set is equivalent to a syllable. In the last line there are six feet with an added syllable. This additional foot which appears in the last line of every stanza is introduced to imitate the lingering death of the echoes.

After this study of the poem it should be read several times aloud in an effort to bring out the music; the first stanza in the pitch of ordinary conversation, with force in the fourth line and lingering intonations in the last line. The pitch of the second stanza should be higher, and it will be easily attained because of the predominance of the thin vowels. The third stanza calls for a pitch lower than the first and a slowness and solemnity of movement quite in contrast to the moderate rate of the first and the liveliness and gaiety of the second. It will be seen in these readings that there is an overlying melody in the stanzas, quite distinct from the rhythm that depends upon the meter, and that in the reading the meter naturally falls subservient to the melody of the phrases. In fact, in a poem of this kind the meter should be forgotten in the reading, which should give itself wholly to bringing out the meaning expressively, and to making the voice harmonize with the rich music of the lines.

An analysis of The Bugle Song will seem superfluous to the cultivated reader, but if these suggestions help the learner to see something new, to feel more acutely, to realize beauty more abundantly, their purpose is accomplished.


The Petrified Fern

(Volume VII, page 77)

Some day when you want an interesting and delightful nature lesson that is a little out of the ordinary, get, if you can, a fossil fern. If you are in the city, doubtless you can get one from the museum, or, better yet, you may find that among your pupils there is someone who has such a specimen carefully treasured away. In some localities where the limestone rock comes to the surface, especially in the coal measures, these petrified ferns are very numerous. Show this to the class and get them all interested in it.

If you cannot get a specimen to use, you can find a picture in the encyclopedia or geology, or you can tell the pupils how in some places it is possible to pick up from among the rocks on the surface of the ground oblong pieces perhaps a half inch thick, in which, when they are split open, you can see the impression of a fern, every vein showing plainly and looking as clear in the dull gray as it showed when alive in its green dress.

Tell the story of the fern something after this fashion:

“Hundreds and hundreds of years ago, so many years, in fact, that none of us can tell how many, somewhere in a valley, there grew a beautiful little fern, green and slender. It was as tender and delicate as the ones you can find in the woods now, and grew in just such a shady place. When the breezes crept down under the trees they waved the fern gracefully about so that it gently touched the tall rushes that grew above it and cast little [292]shadows on the moss at its feet. Now and then a playful sunbeam darted through the crevices in the leaves and found the fern, and at night drops of dew stole silently in and made a glistening crown upon its head. But there were no children then to find it. It was long, long ago, when the earth was young, and nowhere on its broad surface was a single human child.

“Out in the silent sea fishes larger than any that can be found now were swimming about. Across the plains of the earth animals of wonderful shapes and enormous size stalked clumsily and found their way into stately forests. No man ever saw growing such trees as waved their giant branches over the earth, for then Nature made things on a grander scale than she does now. The little fern, however, was wild and simple, and lived in its home unnoticed and uncared for by any of the great creatures or the mighty trees. Still it grew on modestly in its own sweet way, spreading its fronds and becoming more beautiful every day.

“Then suddenly one day the earth heaved up its mighty rocks and threw them about in every direction. The strong currents of the ocean broke loose and flooded over the land. They drowned the animals, moved the plain, tore down the haughty woods and cast the great trunks about like straw. They broke the little fern from its slender stalk, and burying it deep in soft moist clay, hid it safely away.

“Many, many long centuries have passed since the day the useless little fern was lost. Millions of human beings have come upon the earth, have lived and been happy, have suffered, passed away, [293]and have been forgotten. The soft, moist clay that clasped the fern hardened into rock and kept safely in its strong prison the delicate little frond.

“Then one day, not long ago, a thoughtful man studying Nature’s secrets far and wide found up in a valley where a stream had worn a deep fissure, a queer little rock. When he looked at it, he saw running over it a strange design, as though some fairy with its magic pencil had drawn the outline of a fern with every vein distinct, showing in every line the life of the long-lost plant. It was the fern I told you about.

“Isn’t it strange that so delicate a thing as a fern could be kept clear and fine through all those thousands of years when the earth was changing and growing, and then finally be thrown up where a man could find it and read its whole history? The poet, Mary Bolles Branch, saw the little fern and wrote the beautiful lines which I now want to read to you.”

(Here read the poem, The Petrified Fern, found in Journeys, Volume VII, page 77.)

There are very few words or expressions in the poem that will require any explanation. At the end of the first stanza the phrase “keeping holiday” means that as there were no human beings on the earth, there was no real work being done.

At the end of the first line in the second stanza the word main is an old term that means ocean.

The last two lines of the third stanza are meant to show how different life has been on the planet since man came. Until he appeared there was no real agony; there was pain, for animals can suffer, but it takes a mind and soul to know agony. Man [294]cannot live except with suffering and at a bitter cost.

Until the last two lines of the fourth stanza are reached the poem is merely a beautiful and musical narrative. The last two lines are the thought that comes to the poet when she considers the history of the little fern. It is thinking such thoughts as this that make the poet different from ordinary men. You and I might see the impression of the fern and think it beautiful, but its beauty would not suggest to us the comforting idea that

* * * “God hides some souls away
Sweetly to surprise us, the last day.”

Our own poet Longfellow, in The Builders, voices a similar thought when he says:

“Nothing useless is, or low;
Each thing in its place is best;
And what seems but idle show
Strengthens and supports the rest.”

After you have presented these thoughts, read the poem again to the children. Call attention to its musical structure, its simplicity, the beauty of its expressions, and then read it a third time. It is one of those beautiful things which may well be committed to memory.

It will be found very helpful, too, for the children to write the story in prose and try to bring out the meaning. Let them use freely the words of the poem, but a different arrangement of words, so that there shall be left no trace of rhyme or meter in their prose.

Robert Southey      William Cowper
Robert Burns
Lord Byron      John Keats
Percy Bysshe Shelley      Samuel Taylor Coleridge


The Forsaken Merman

(Volume VII, page 180)

One of the satisfactory poems for study in the middle years of school life is the one whose name heads this paragraph. It is a great favorite with most children who know it, but it has not found its way largely into school use. For both of these reasons it is worthy of study.

I. Preparation and General Plan. Let the children read in turn, each taking one stanza, and if a second reading seems desirable let them exchange stanzas so that each will have a part new to himself. Be sure to have a final reading, by yourself or by the best reader among the children, which shall be continuous and without interruption; otherwise the beautiful unity of idea and the relation of the different parts will be overlooked.

II. Words and Phrases and Sentences. It is well to begin with the study sentence by sentence. See that the meaning is clear. The following suggestions may be of assistance:

Page 180, line 6. “Wild white horses”; the breakers, where the waves are beaten into foam and flying spray.

Line 7. “Champ”; gnash their bits.

Page 182, line 4. “Stream.” The ocean currents resemble streams of water on land.

Line 8. “Mail”; scales. How could the snakes dry their mail?

Line 10. “Unshut.” Do fish have eyelids? Is a whale a fish? Does a whale have eyelids? Do most people think of a whale as a fish?

Line 18. “Sate” is an old form for “sat.” Can [296]you find other old or unusual words or expressions? Why does the poet use them?

Line 25. “Merman.” The literature of the ancients contained frequent allusions to mermaids, who were strange creatures with heads of beautiful, long-haired maidens, but with scaly bodies and the tails of fish. In pictures they are usually represented as sitting upon reefs holding a mirror in one hand and combing their long locks with the other. Holmes, in The Chambered Nautilus, speaks of the “cold sea-maids” who “rise to sun their streaming hair.” Mermen were not so often spoken of, but there are some allusions to them. In later times the mermaids were considered more as fairies, and there were many stories of human children being taken to live with the mermaids, and of the latter coming upon land to live like men and women. There was, too, a belief that sea-folk had no souls, and that a person who went to live with them would lose his soul. The beautiful picture on page 181 shows the forsaken family.

Line 10, from the bottom. “Leaded panes.” The small panes of stained glass in the church windows are set in narrow leaden frames.

Page 185, line 4. “Heaths” and “broom”. The English and Scotch heathers are little bushy shrubs that cover the hills and fields. They bear beautiful little bell-like pink or white flowers. The trailing arbutus, the blueberry and the wintergreen are some of our native plants belonging to the same family. The broom plant is another low shrub that bears rather large yellow blossoms, shaped like the flowers of peas and beans. The old-time country-folk used bundles of these shrubs for brooms.

[297]Line 10. There have been several allusions to tides. If the children do not understand the subject, be sure to explain how different a shore looks at high and at low tide. The change is most noticeable where the water is shallow, for then long stretches of sea-bottom may be uncovered at low tide.

III. The Story. Bring out by questions these facts which constitute the “plot,” or incidents:

1. A merman, who has a family of children (five, the artist says, page 181), has been deserted by his human wife.

2. The father and children are on shore trying to persuade the mother to return. The father feels that all must go back.

3. He begs the children to call their mother once more, for he thinks that childish voices, wild with pain, may induce her to come.

4. He feels discouraged.

5. He tells how she became alarmed and left them at Easter time to return to her church and pray, that she might save the soul she feared she was losing.

6. The father and children had come on shore to find their mother. She was seen praying in the church, working at her spinning wheel at home, happy but apparently not wholly forgetful of her family in the sea, for she sighed and dropped a tear as she looked over the sand to the sea.

7. The father feels that his wife is cruel and faithless and that she has deserted, forever, himself and his family, the kings of the sea.

IV. The Characters. Question the children till they see clearly the persons.

[298]1. The principal character is the deserted merman, a king of the sea. Ought he to expect his wife to stay with him?

2. The wife, a human being who has loved a merman, and who has a family of sea children, but who has suddenly become awakened to the danger to her soul. Is she selfish? Ought she to have forsaken her family? Can she really be happy away from her husband and family?

3. The children. How many were there? How old were they? Were there both boys and girls? Do you think Mr. Reese had a clear idea of the family when he drew the picture (page 181)? There must have been at least three, for it is said that the mother tended the youngest well; at least one girl, for the mother sighed for the strange eyes of a little mermaiden.

4. The priest.

V. Pictures. Two series of pictures are kept side by side all the time; one of the land, and the other of the sea. Try to create a vivid scene from each.

First, on land: We can see a little town, nestling on the side of a bleak, wind-swept hill, an old English town with a white stone wall all around it. On the hill, which is too rough to be cultivated, grow great fields of heather, studded with the golden blossoms of broom-plant. A little gray stone church stands surrounded by its yard, where the village dead are buried, for such was the old custom in England. The stones are at the head of the graves, and the walls of the church are rain- and storm-worn, but bright stained-glass windows in the building and flowers and trees among the [299]graves make the place very beautiful. Some of the windows are clear, so that you can look through and gaze along the aisle bordered by high wooden pews and see the priest reading service, and, by one of the stone pillars, the merman’s wife, her eyes steadily gazing at the bible in her lap. You are privileged, too, to peep into one of the thatched cottages, and see the mother turning the old-fashioned spinning wheel. From her house there is a wide view down the hill, across the bay and out to sea. At high tide the breakers dash madly against the shore, but at low tide there is a broad strip of silver sand, rocks covered with sea-weed, and in the low places, creeks and pools of salt water. Does the artist’s picture represent high or low tide?

Second, at sea: Deep beneath the surface of the water where the waves toss and roar, where the surf and spray dash madly about, are great caverns strewn with white sand. It is cool down there in the depths, and the light filtering through the clear green sea is weak and pale. The water streams through caverns, swaying the exquisite sea-weeds that line the walls; and outside, round about, whales, sea-snakes and all manner of water beasts swim in play or struggle for mastery. In one of the caverns stands a great throne of red gold, ornamented with graceful sea fringe, pearls and amber. From without one may gaze up to the amber-colored ceiling, or down to the pavement of lustrous pearl. It was this wondrous palace that the mermaid abandoned for the sake of her soul.

VI. Sentiment. It is, on the whole, a sad poem, though a few cheering thoughts are suggested by it. Without an attempt at classification [300]and analysis, here are a few choice ideas taken in order as they occur:

Page 180. “Children’s voices should be dear to a mother’s ear.”

Page 183. “Long prayers in the world they say.”

Page 183. “Oh joy, for the blessed light of the sun!”

Page 185. The last stanza shows very pleasingly the faithfulness of father and children, in contrast to the inconstancy of the mother.

VII. Beauty. Besides its sentiment, the poem gives us other beauties in great number. Here are some of them:

a. Unity. The poem has one idea running through it from beginning to end, an idea that is nowhere lacking, though at first it is not seen. What is the one idea? Grief, but not bitterness nor anger. Each succeeding stanza is seen to add something to this idea, till all our sympathies are enlisted for the forsaken children, more than for the father who does all the talking.

b. Meter and Rhyme. Both meter and rhyme are irregular, but that fact gives a pleasing variety to the poem and corresponds to the somewhat abrupt changes in the line of thought that at first make the poem rather hard to read. The children will be interested in comparing the lengths of lines in different stanzas and sometimes in different parts of the same stanza. It is easy to pick out the rhymes, to see how often rhymes are repeated in a stanza, and whether the lines are in couples or alternate.

c. Phrases. The following lines are quoted as [301]those perhaps best worth study and remembrance. Let the children determine why they were selected as beautiful lines; that is, determine in what respect the lines are beautiful:

“Now the wild white horses play,
Champ and chafe and toss in the spray.”

“The far-off sound of a silver bell.”

“Where the sea snakes toil and twine,
Dry their mail and bask in the brine.”

“A long, long sigh
For the cold, strange eyes of a little Mermaiden.”

“A ceiling of amber,
A pavement of pearl.”

“Heaths starr’d with broom.”

The Cloud

(Volume VII, page 257)

This lyric has wonderful beauty. It is one of the most musical of poems, the ideas are fine and the pictures of surpassing charm. If it lacks the high message it is still an inspiration, for beauty is always ennobling to the appreciative.

The charm of The Cloud will appeal to children but it may be intensified by judicious questioning and comment. As always in trying to give appreciation of real literature, the teacher in the home or at the school must be certain of his purpose and must never carry the instruction too far. He must understand the nature of the reader and shape his questions accordingly. It is impossible to print anything that will be helpful equally to all or that can be used in its entirety in any instance. Do not talk too much about what is evident, and stop at the first signs of a dawning distaste.

[302]First Stanza. It is the cloud that is speaking, and as every cloud is ever changing, the song of the cloud varies with its condition. It is now the cloud of the warm summer shower that piles up in snowy billows on the horizon and rolls over the laughing face of flowering nature.

How do the flowers show that they are thirsting? Will they look different when their thirst is satisfied? Do leaves dream? Leaves, you know, are the lungs of plants. May they do more work in the morning, the evening and the night, than at midday? May they be said to be sleeping at times? Is the shade of the cloud a help to the leaves? Did you ever see the leaves of trees turn their glazed upper surfaces toward the ground and twist up their under sides toward the sky, begging for moisture? Did you ever notice that the buds of most flowers open in the night or toward morning? Do the “dews awaken” these? Do clouds cause dews?

Strictly speaking, no “dews” fall from clouds; but light mist may do so. Who is the mother of the buds? In what way are they “rocked to rest”? How does the mother “dance about the sun”? Do you like the sound of the line, “I wield the flail of the lashing hail”? There are five “l’s” in the line and they give it that liquid sound which you like. Did you ever see a farmer standing in the midst of a floor covered with stalks of grain, beating out the kernels with a flail? What does the word “under” mean here? (An adverb, and means down or into subjection.) What does “it” refer to, in the next to the last line?

Second stanza. Who is the pilot of the cloud? Where does he sit? What lures the pilot? Who [303]are the “genii”? (A genius—plural, genii—is a good or evil spirit which was supposed by the ancients to guard a man and control his destinies. In a sense the spirit of the waters may be said to control the lightning.) Who move “in the depths of the purple sea”? (The word “dream” would be written “dreams” in prose. The two lines mean: “Wherever the lightning thinks the spirit he loves is to be found.”) Who is dissolving in rains? Is there much lightning while the rain is falling or does it usually precede or follow the heaviest part of the shower?

Third Stanza. “Sanguine” means “blood red”; “rack” or “wrack” is broken or floating cloud. What is the “morning star”? What is meant by its “shining dead”? What are the “burning plumes” and what the “meteor eyes” of the sunrise? What becomes of broken clouds when the sun strikes them? What is likened to an eagle that is “alit” on a crag? What is the “airy nest” of the cloud? What is a “brooding” dove? Is a dove more quiet than other birds? Did you ever see a cloud high in the sky at early dawn, at sunset, in the night? Does this stanza make you think of what you have seen, make you see it again more vividly?

Fourth Stanza. “Orbed” means “round” like the moon. The woof is the thread that in weaving is carried by the shuttle through the threads of the “warp”—here it means the “filling.” The ancients considered Diana, goddess of the moon and of hunting, to be a beautiful girl, haughty and modest. In pictures she was clothed as a huntress, carried a bow and arrows and wore a crescent in her hair. Is the moon’s light white? Is that phrase a beau[304]tiful one which speaks of the moon as “with white fire laden”? What is the position of the cloud in this stanza? Is it between the moon and the earth? Is the cloud the “fleece-like floor” of the sky? If so, when the cloud speaks of its “tent’s thin roof,” what is meant? (Perhaps when the moon looks down the cloud looks like a floor and when the earth looks up it sees the cloud like a tent.) Whose are the “unseen feet”? At what do the stars “peer”? What do they see first? Why do they “turn and flee like a swarm of golden bees”? What do the stars see when the rent is widened? With what are the rivers, lakes and seas paved? How can they be paved with moon and stars? Did you ever see the moon and stars reflected in a lake, the former perhaps making a broad glittering pavement across the waters? To what does “these” in the last line refer? Why did not Shelley write “stars” instead of “these”? Can you see the exquisite night pictures described in these lines?

Fifth Stanza. This stanza is characterized by force and intensity of action; the words and phrases are as apt and beautiful as can be written.

Have you not seen the west when the clouds appeared a fiery red around the setting sun? Have you not seen the moon surrounded by bright pearly clouds? When the winds blow strong and whirl the fleecy clouds through the sky do not the latter make the mountain tops dim and do not the stars seem to dash across the heavens in a maddening race? Ever changing, the clouds constantly rearrange themselves, sometimes bridging the entire heavens, resting at the horizon upon the mountains as upon columns.

[305]What is the “triumphal arch”? What are the powers of the air? What is meant by saying they are “chained to the chair” of the cloud? Is the “triumphal arch” the “million-colored bow”? What is the “bow” that is said to be “million-colored”? What wove the soft colors of the million-colored bow? What is the “sphere fire”? What did it do? Whose soft colors did it weave? What was the earth doing while the colors were being woven? Why should the earth be laughing? Why is it spoken of as the moist earth?

Sixth Stanza. A cenotaph in an empty ornamental tomb. The body of the person to whom the monument has been erected is buried elsewhere.

In what way is a cloud the daughter of the earth and water? In what way is it the nurseling of the sky? How can a cloud pass through the pores of the ocean and shores? What are the pores of the ocean and shores? Is it true that a cloud cannot die? Is the poet true to nature and science when he says:

“For after the rain, when, with never a stain,
The pavilion of heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams, with their convex gleams,
Build up the dome of the air”?

What is the “cenotaph” of the cloud? Out of what does the cloud rise again? What is there appropriate in saying that the cloud rises like a ghost? What is it the cloud builds up again?

Note the following particularly beautiful phrases:

“Leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.”


“Great pines groan aghast.”

“The sanguine sunrise, with his meteor eyes.”

“The crimson pall of eve.”

“The woof of my tent’s thin roof.”

“My wind-built tent.”

“The million-colored bow.”

“Nurseling of the sky.”

“With never a stain
The pavilion of heaven is bare.”

Read aloud the entire lyric till its sweet music is yours. Note the smooth rhythm, the peculiar adaptation of sound to sense, the flowing cadences in the lines.

Ode to a Skylark

(Volume VII, page 275)

There are three classes of lyrics that are to a greater or less degree in the nature of an address to some person, place or thing. The elegy is a lyric address praising the dead, the ode and the sonnet may praise living or dead. The elegy in its measures partakes of the solemnity of the grave, the ode is hampered by no such restrictions. Neither is the sonnet, although by its strict requirements of form it is set off in a class by itself. In the ode the poet enjoys his greatest freedom, for he may use any meter, may write at any length and in any manner, grave, gay or grotesque. Accordingly the odes of our language are most spontaneous, musical, inspiring and beautiful.

The Skylark is a perfect example of an ode at its best. It is full of life and joy. It sparkles in every line and vies in music with the song of the lark himself.


“Hail to thee, blithe spirit!—
Bird thou never wert.”—

Those two lines are to be taken as the key note of the whole lyric. It is the spirit of free and perfect melody that Shelley is addressing, melody that comes from heaven or near it, that bubbles from the full heart, that is free from rules and conventions, unpremeditated, yet all art. It is “Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.” “What thou art we know not,” yet thou art like a poet hidden singing hymns unbidden; like a high-born maiden soothing her love-laden soul in secret; like a hidden glowworm scattering its hues unbeholden; like a rose embowered in its leaves making faint the thieving winds with its heavy scent. Its music surpasses the delicate sounds of vernal showers on the twinkling grass, the beauty of the rain-awakened flowers, and all that ever was clear and fresh and joyous. Such is the song.

“What are the thoughts that inspire such heavenly melody?” the poet cries. “Teach us, teach us thy sweet thoughts. I have never heard such a flood of rapture so divine. Matched with thy music the noblest marriage hymn, the grandest Te Deum would be but an empty boast. From what fountains springs thy happy strain? Is it from fields, or waves or mountains, from strange shapes of the sky and plain? Is it from ignorance of pain, from love of thine own kind that the joyous music comes? Certainly thou lovest, but there can be no weariness in thy keen joy, no shadow of annoyance. How different we!

“We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
[308]Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

“Yet if we could scorn
Hate, and pride, and fear;
If we were things born
Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.”

“To me, the poet, thy skill would be better than all the measures of delightful sound, than all the treasures found in books and if I could sing one half as well as thou, the world would listen to me entranced as I am listening to thee.”

If the song of the lark is beautiful, the song of the poet is not surpassed. The riotous spirit of music sings in every line, beauty is seen in every stanza, is lavished upon every phrase, upon every melodious verse. The prodigality of beautiful phrases is marvelous. The phrases descriptive of the bird alone are strikingly apt and numerous:

“Blithe spirit”; “bird thou never wert”; “like a cloud of fire”; “like an unbodied joy”; “like a star of heaven”; “like a poet hidden in the light of thought”; “like a highborn maiden in a palace tower”; “like a glowworm golden”; “like a rose embowered”; “sprite and bird”; “thou scorner of the ground.”

To characterize the song properly, the poet finds it necessary to use these phrases: “Profuse strains of unpremeditated art”; “shrill delight”; “keen as are the arrows of that silver sphere”; “all the earth and air with thy voice is loud”; “a rain of melody”; [309]surpassing the “sound of vernal showers” and of “rain-awakened flowers” and “all that ever was joyous, clear and fresh”; “a flood of rapture so divine”; beside it a “hymenæal chorus” or a “triumphal chaunt” is “but an empty vaunt”; “clear, keen joyance,” “notes flow in such a crystal stream.”

Besides the ardent appreciation for the beautiful song, the lyric contains one sad truth exquisitely expressed:

“We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.”

And finally, there is the consummate personal appeal of the poet, which, if we may judge by the matchless lyric, was answered by the same spirit that inspired the graceful scorner of the ground:

“Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow,
The world should listen then, as I am listening now!”

Compare the following lyric on the same subject by James Hogg:

Bird of the wilderness,
Blithesome and cumberless,
Sweet be thy matin o’er moorland and lea!
Emblem of happiness,
Blest is thy dwelling-place—
O, to abide in the desert with thee!
[310]Wild is thy lay and loud,
Far in the downy cloud
Love gives it energy, love gave it birth.
Where, on thy dewy wing,
Where art thou journeying?
Thy lay is in heaven, thy love is on earth.
O’er fell and mountain sheen,
O’er moor and mountain green,
O’er the red streamer that heralds the day,
Over the cloudlet dim
Over the rainbow’s rim,
Musical cherub, soar, singing away!
Then when the gloaming comes,
Low in the heather blooms
Sweet will thy welcome and bed of love be!
Emblem of happiness,
Blest is thy dwelling-place
O, to abide in the desert with thee.

Various interpretations and helpful comments of other kinds may be found on the following pages:

Volume I, page 95. The Rock-a-By Lady.
Volume I, page 204. Old Gaelic Lullaby.
Volume I, page 350. Keepsake Mill.
Volume I, page 406. The Fairies.
Volume II, page 482. In Time’s Swing.
Volume IV, page 86. The Village Blacksmith.
Volume V, page 335. How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix.
Volume V, page 396. The American Flag.
Volume VII, page 345. The Reaper’s Dream.
Volume VIII, page 60. America.



Reading Aloud

Silent reading is selfish, while oral reading is for the benefit and pleasure of others. The ordinary individual in daily life reads but little aloud, and probably makes no attempt whatever to improve his style after he leaves the schoolroom. But parents and teacher are incessantly called upon to read—to read intelligently and effectively. To some this power appears to come naturally, but most people acquire it only by serious study and continuous practice, and will find their greatest assistance in a thorough knowledge of those things which are essential to pleasing oral expression.

1. Articulation and Enunciation. Articulation is one thing; enunciation is another. A person articulates the sounds of a language; he enunciates the syllables and words. A clear and distinct enunciation is as necessary as the perfect articulation on which it is based. Indistinct enunciation comes from a natural slovenliness of mind, from nervousness, haste or over-excitement.

Any one who can articulate correctly can acquire a perfect enunciation. Knowing this fact, and knowing the causes which lead to poor enunciation, it is comparatively easy to correct the faults and give drill which will overcome the carelessness or remove the difficulty.

[312]2. Emphasis and Inflection. The primary facts upon which rests intelligibility in reading are emphasis and inflection. Let it be said at the start that no one can read well who has not thoroughly mastered the thought in the selection he is rendering. If he is compelled to search his mind for the meanings of words or to grasp the complete idea of a sentence, he unwittingly pauses and hesitates and confuses the ideas of his hearers. But if the thought of a selection is thoroughly mastered, he places the emphasis almost unerringly and by so doing raises no conflicting ideas in the mind of the listener. Moreover, if the meaning of a sentence is clear to a reader his inflections are ordinarily correct.

3. Emotional States. A person may read with perfect inflection and the most correct emphasis, yet fail altogether to convey the real feeling of the author. Not only must a reader master the thought, but it is essential that he be able to feel the emotions that possessed the author or manifested themselves in the characters he describes. If anyone is thoroughly possessed by the sentiment of any given poem, the quality of his voice will modify itself and respond to the behests laid upon it. He will unconsciously pitch his voice at the proper key, will use the right amount of force, and speak at the rate which most suitably expresses his feelings. When this is done, we have perfectly natural reading, the highest art.

Pitch, rate, quality and force are the particular characteristics of good reading which depend almost entirely upon the mental state of the reader.

a. Pitch. Much depends upon the proper pitch [313]of the voice. The key upon which one reads may be medium, or low, or high, and what it is depends upon certain physiological conditions. If the vocal chords are tense, the pitch is high. Accordingly, any state of mind that produces tense vocal chords produces high pitch in the voice. A person can forcibly tighten his vocal chords and utter sounds at high pitch, but they are strained, artificial and unnatural. If a certain amount of feeling goes with the effort, the tones become more agreeable.

If a person’s voice is pitched too high, is harsh and unmelodious, the remedy is by way of a process of forgetting. He must forget that he is reading and feel that he is talking. If his conversation is marked by the same faults as his reading, he may gain something by imitation in the way of raising his standards of expression. In general, he reads harshly because he thinks he must read. The nervous tension which this feeling produces has affected his vocal chords without any intention on his part. He cannot read more expressively while he feels as he does. Harshness and unnatural pitch will disappear from his voice when he can forget that he is reading from compulsion.

For practice the following selections are excellent:

b. Rate or Time. The rate at which a person reads, or the time consumed in any one selection, is regulated by the extent or breadth of thought and by the rapidity of action. There is a certain medium or ordinary time in which those selections [314]that are in no way emotional are read. Commonplace selections, not calculated to stir the feelings, are of this character, as are simple narratives where the incidents are unexciting. This medium or standard time may be varied in two ways: first, by the quantity of time taken in the utterance of certain words or syllables, and second, by pauses between sentences or groups of words. Rate, however, usually depends more upon the grouping of words and the length of the pauses between groups than upon the utterance of syllables. The rate of syllabic utterance is usually a personal characteristic. Some of us articulate rapidly, while others of more phlegmatic temperament speak slowly.

In conversation or in perfectly natural reading, we usually utter with one impulse of the voice those words which are closely related in meaning. These words so uttered form groups that are usually quite independent of punctuation. Punctuation marks are for the eye and are intended to make clear the meaning. They do not separate the sentence into units of expression. Only the terminal marks are of any great importance either in suggesting the inflection or indicating the length of the pause. A good reader notices the marks insomuch as they make clear the thought, but largely disregards them in his reading.

The person who reads too rapidly has a mind that is very quick in its action or one that is not fully occupied with the thought of his selection; he may have a vague understanding, but does not realize the full extent and import of the idea. If he reads too slowly, he is naturally slow in thought, or the words come to him slowly through his eyes, [315]his organs of speech are not sufficiently under control, or he does not appreciate the difference between the principal ideas and those of minor importance. Find the central idea, group others about it in proper degrees of subordination, feel the sentiment in what is being read, and the time usually will be correct. There are worse faults in reading than undue rapidity or slowness, for we can make our minds keep pace with the reader, if in other respects his expression is good.

The following selections afford considerable variety in rate:

c. Quality. The quality of the voice is almost entirely dependent upon the emotions. Tenderness, love, joy, awe, fear, all produce their effect upon the voice. In an unemotional state the person speaks in normal quality and in the tone that is natural to himself. If the same person is frightened or if his animosity is aroused, he speaks in an aspirated tone; if he feels harshly toward anyone or is angry, his voice possesses that guttural quality which indicates the severer and harsher emotion; when he is moved by grandeur and sublimity, his voice naturally takes a full, round quality.

d. Force. The quantity of mental energy the person possesses usually regulates the force of his utterance, and that mental energy is stimulated by his emotions. If he feels thoroughly in earnest in what he is trying to accomplish, his voice becomes loud and full of force. It is then a natural [316]force and is usually agreeable, unless the emotion which causes it is of an unpleasant type.

But it is often true, particularly of teachers who have been long in service and those persons who have talked under unfavorable conditions to large numbers of people, that their voices have become too loud and too much strained to be pleasant to the ear. A soft, pleasing voice, loud enough to be distinctly audible, is always better than a strident, forcible utterance that compels attention whether one will or not.

Extremes of force may be found in the following selections:



Literature and Its Forms

It is not everyone who can tell readily what is meant by literature, nor can anyone in a few words define it. What the study of “literature” (only the adult’s manner of saying “reading”) is expected to accomplish was aptly described by Cardinal Newman when he wrote: “The object of literature in education is to open the mind, to correct it, to refine it, to enable it to comprehend and adjust its knowledge, to give it power over its faculties—application, flexibility, method, critical exactness, sagacity, address and expression.” Reading at home and in the public schools as well as in the high school and colleges helps to accomplish these ends to a great extent.

Many persons fail to understand what literature is, and if they do realize its importance they do not comprehend the great variety of its forms nor the significance of each. To help such persons to a more comprehensive knowledge and a deeper insight into the functions of literature this chapter is written.

In its widest sense the word literature covers nearly every kind of printed matter, but it is in its more restricted meaning that the term is used here. Only that which is beautiful in form and expression, inspiring and helpful in spirit, noble and [318]righteous in sentiment can be called literature as we are considering it. There may be weak and frivolous books, well-meaning but inept books, and really bad books, but none of them can be classed as literature.

Literary masterpieces are either prose or poetry, and in print the two are easily recognizable by their difference in form. Coleridge once said that prose consisted of words in their best order, while poetry was the best words in their best order, a poetic definition that does not convey a very accurate knowledge of the distinction. Poetry differs from prose not only in the choice and arrangement of words, but also to a lesser degree in sentiment and feeling. However, much verse, though faultless in form, can never be considered real poetry, while much prose has real poetic beauty.


The great bulk of the writings of the world is in prose. It is the medium of hard sense, of practical knowledge, of argument and of dialogue. Yet often it appeals to the imagination, charms with its beauty and inspires to heroic deeds.

It seems to be generally accepted that four methods of expression are to be found in prose: narration, description, exposition and argumentation. Narration deals with things in action, description with the appearance of things, exposition explains the relations ideas bear to one another, and argumentation not only does this, but tries at the same time to convince. Theoretically, this distinction is very easy to make, for action is the life of narration, appearance the theme of description, [319]explanation and exposition are synonymous, and no one argues but with the hope of convincing. What can man do more than to tell what has been done, tell how a thing looks, show how one thing follows from another or is related to it, and endeavor to bring another person to the same state of mind?

The accuracy and completeness of the classification is most evident until one attempts to apply it practically to existing literature, and then he finds that no literary masterpiece belongs entirely to any one of the classes, but that these mingle and unite, one or the other usually predominating. This ruling element, the one which is proportionately greater, will govern the classification of a selection. In any story, narration and description meet at every turn, and not infrequently exposition is found freely intermingled; while novels have been written with the avowed sole purpose of changing the beliefs of a people. Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a story of intense dramatic activity, and abounds in vivid descriptions of places and persons. It is generally dealing with incidents relating to the characters of the story, yet it really makes an exposition of the evils of slavery, and certainly was no small factor in stirring the American people into vigorous action against the slave dealers. Yet no one would classify the book otherwise than among the narratives. Although into Burke’s Conciliation other elements enter, yet everyone will admit it to be argumentative in the highest degree. So while it is well to classify the selections read, yet fine theoretical distinctions should be abandoned. It is not so necessary to classify and name as it is to compare and distinguish.

[320]Narratives have been classified variously, but not more satisfactorily than have other forms of literature. A narrative is true or fictitious, and there appears the first principle of classification. Truthful narratives are personal when they are the simple account of the deeds of some person or thing, biographical when they show a clear and evident purpose to detail the events in the life of the person, historical when they deal with larger and more complicated questions and when the actors are as numerous as the actions are various. Fictitious narratives comprise short stories and novels. One prominent writer notes the following types: (1) The realistic novel that is true to actual life and often enters into the discussion of important questions of record. (2) The novel of life and manners which is largely descriptive and in which the exigencies of the plot give way to the study of customs. (3) The novel of incident in which the plot is everything and description and character study are avoided or subordinated to action. (4) The romance which usually deals with things as they were in days long past and with actions that little concern the present. Marvelous and even supernatural incidents crowd its pages. (5) The idealistic novel which paints the world as it should be and makes its actors more nearly perfect than the world accepts as typical. (6) The novel with a purpose which seeks to convert its readers by the vividness of its portraits rather than by argument, though by means of many detailed conversations its theories are often freely discussed and fully substantiated. Many great reforms have been brought about by novels of this character.

[321]Description deals with the individual and not with the class. A fine description is a work of art in its highest sense and is closely allied to painting, than which it is even more delicate and refined; for while the painter lays his color on the canvas and our eyes see the entire picture in all its minutest detail, the writer can only suggest the idea and stimulate the imagination to create for itself the picture in the mind of the artist. Yet such is the marvelous power of words when handled by a master that one can see by them almost as vividly as by the sense of sight. The reader is transported to far-away lands, strange men and animals surround him, the skies glare above him, silver lakes sparkle in the sun, brooks murmur against their fern-covered sides, and birds move the soul with their sweet music. Evening draws on, and the landscape glimmering fades away; the stars come out one by one and by and by the moon steals slowly up the sky. Peace and quiet reign over the darkened world. Neither sculpture nor painting can depict these changes; it rests with the magic of words. But the reader must do his share. He must give time to his reading, must yield himself gently to its influence, must not force himself into the writer’s mood but must receive and accept. Then descriptive literature will yield its keenest pleasures.

Exposition deals with the class, and is abstract. So the demands made upon the reader are infinitely greater. It assumes that the concrete examples and specific instances necessary to interpret the abstract are already in mind and that the barest allusion to them will be sufficient. So exposition naturally follows narrative and description.

[322]Successful argumentation depends upon proof and persuasion. It is addressed to the reason or to the emotions. Burke and Webster endeavor to establish their respective positions by irrefutable arguments. When Beecher addressed the people on the slavery question he appealed strongly to their emotions and sought to make them act because of their intense feeling. One characteristic of all literary masterpieces is unity, but in none is this of more importance than in the expository and argumentative types.

As we study it, literary material may be grouped as fiction, essays, speeches (orations), and dialogue (drama). No classification can be rigid or exact, for one may blend into the other. At the same time in any one may be found the four forms, description, narration, exposition and argument. For our purposes, however, the following definitions will answer: Fiction is a term covering those narratives which are either wholly or in part events that never happened and acts of individuals that never lived. Fiction is the work of the imagination, based upon the facts of life and observation. It appears as stories, in narrative poems or epics, and in novels.

Essays deal with all subjects and in such a variety of ways that any attempt to classify them meets with difficulty. Originally an essay was an attempt, a mere outline or plan intended to be filled out at greater length or to be used in different form. It is in this sense that Bacon uses the word and his essays are condensed to the highest degree. In later years essays have come to be of the most highly finished type of literature and some of the most beautiful passages, the noblest thoughts, the most [323]inspiring utterances, are to be found in them. Almost every conceivable topic is treated: there are biographical essays which do little more than narrate the facts of a man’s life; there are descriptive essays whose only function is to make their readers see something as the author saw it; there are argumentative and didactic essays and essays on science, art, religion, and literary criticism. Some writers have given their whole time and attention to this form of composition, and the modern magazine has become their distributing agency. Much of the deepest, of the brightest, of the best of recent work has come to its readers through this medium.

The essay shows more of the author’s self than any other form of literature. It is apt to be sincere, to be the deliberate expression of the writer’s own views formulated with the desire to convince another. In the purely literary type this last characteristic is not so strikingly prominent, though it appears rather under the surface. In no form of literature is the artistic element more manifest. The prose writer makes of his essay what the poet does of his lyric—the most finished and beautiful expression of his thought. The thought is the writer’s chief concern, but upon his manner of expressing it depend the force and value of his work. Accordingly he gives to his style his most careful attention and fits and polishes it with all his skill. The result is that in the essay are to be found the best examples of prose style. While the essay frequently appeals to our humorous sense and sometimes arouses our sympathy by its pathetic touches, yet no such opportunity is offered for emotional effect as that given by the novel or the drama.

[324]The essay is written to be read, the oration to be heard; the essay is to please, to entertain, perhaps to instruct, sometimes to convince; the oration is to arouse the feelings, to carry conviction, to stir the public to action. It is a formal production, addressed directly to its hearers; it is in form or meaning in the second person. Even when descriptive or eulogistic, it is a direct address. The orator says, “These are my opinions and my reasons for so thinking. Will you not accept my view and act accordingly?”

The oration naturally divides itself into three sections. There is an introduction, in which the speaker clears the way, opens the question and lays down the principles he proposes to advocate, or indicates the course of his argument. The body follows. Here the principles are elucidated, the arguments advanced and properly established or the descriptions elaborated and finished. The last section is the conclusion, which may consist of a brief review or summary of the inferences drawn, or of a plea for belief and for action in accordance with the principles of the speaker.

Before the art of printing was invented, public opinion was molded almost entirely by public speaking, and for a great many years afterward the orator was the greatest of leaders. By the magic of his eloquence he changed the views of men and inspired them to deeds of valor. The fiery orations of a Demosthenes, of a Cicero; the thrilling words of a Peter the Hermit or a Savonarola; the unanswerable arguments of a Burke or a Webster, have more than once turned the course of history.

But when the newspaper first found its way [325]into the hands of thinking men the power of the orator felt the influence of its silent opponent and began to wane. Today, it is not often that multitudes are swayed by a single voice. The debates and stump-speeches of a political campaign change but few votes. The preacher no longer depends wholly upon the convincing power of his rhetoric to make his converts. The representatives of a people in a parliament or a congress speak that their words may be heard through the newspapers by their constituents more than with the expectation that their speech will carry a measure through the House they are addressing.

Yet we will listen with pleasure to a fervid speaker whose earnestness of manner carries the conviction of his sincerity, and even against our will we are moved by elegant sentences and pleasing tones. The orator will continue to be a power, though in a different way. Conditions have changed, and the ponderous periods and elaborate figures that characterized the orators of classic epochs are giving place to the plain, lucid diction and the simple, true-hearted tones of the modern speaker.

The drama is objective, the author keeping himself out of sight as much as possible. His characters appear, speak their parts and vanish with no explanatory words from him except the occasional stage direction limited to the fewest possible words. There is no description, except when the actors give an account of something that does not occur upon the stage. There is little of narration, except to explain what does not appear upon the scene or to give clearness to the action. Argument is not [326]infrequent, though it is usually in the form of a moving appeal to the emotions rather than to the reason. The play often leads to exposition, and many dramas are written with the evident intent of teaching a deep and forceful lesson.

The drama shows man in action and develops his character before the reader, but it is by acts and speech and not by direct description from the author. It deals with all human interests and frequently supernatural manifestations are introduced and become important factors in the plot, particularly when they are believed in by the people who appear in the drama. But in general it is a study of life and character.

Primarily the drama is to be heard, not read, and consequently its style is usually clear and its meaning easily apprehended, but the complexity of its incidents and the intricacies of its plot make it difficult to follow. The rapidity of its action, the necessity of gathering the meaning from a single hearing, and the intensity of feeling aroused would all unite to confuse the hearer were it not for the skill of the actor and the appropriateness of the stage settings. By the aid of these, understanding is in most cases not difficult. The changing scenery, the dress of the actors, their movements, the tones of their voices, and the expression of their faces all aid the hearer. But the interpretation then becomes that of the actor, so that the listener is once removed from the author. Moreover, to the actor everything is subservient to dramatic effect, and the study of an Othello descends into an effort to excite an audience rather than to portray correctly the shifting passions of the jealous Moor. The poet’s [327]creation is adapted to the actor’s use by the omission of scenes, changes of scenes, and additions of scenes, by such verbal alterations and phrasal transpositions that one does not see Shakespeare’s Shylock demanding his pound of flesh but watches Irving’s Shylock whetting his savage knife; Hamlet is lost in Booth, and Juliet weeps in the tears of Mary Anderson.

But the pleasure a person derives from listening to their thrilling utterances is as distinct from that which comes to the appreciative reader as the pleasures of the palate differ from those of the eye. To the reader everything is his own. He carries his own theater with him. The scenery he must himself construct and he may alter it at will; the costumes and personal appearance of the characters are the creations of his own mind; his thunder has no metallic sound and his lightning always flashes. He may bring his favorites back with many an encore and may show his disapproval with hisses that would drown the gallery. He may linger over the passages he loves and find new encouragement in his defeats and ever fresh joys for his hours of gloom. He is never hurried: the lights never go out, the curtain is never rung down.


The reality of poetry is its beauty, its power of inspiration, its truth. Its beauty lies in its choice of words, in its figures of speech, in its music and in its sentiment. Any definition that is not purely formal is hard to give. Professor Shairp defined the soul of poetry when he wrote: “Whenever the soul comes vividly in contact with any fact, truth, [328]or existence, which it realizes and takes home to itself with more than common intensity, out of that meeting of the soul and its object there arises a thrill of joy, a glow of emotion; and the expression of that glow, that thrill, is poetry.”

The Structure of Poetry

The form and structure of poetry should be studied, but not to so great an extent as to blind the eye or deaden the appreciation of its beauty and sentiment. Brown, who wrote the beautiful story Rab and His Friends, has said, “It is with poetry as with flowers and fruits. We would all rather have them and taste them than talk about them. It is a good thing to know about a lily, its scientific ins and outs, its botany, its archæology, even its anatomy and organic radicals; but it is a better thing to look at the flowers themselves and to consider how they grow.”

If one reads poetry aloud he soon becomes sensible of a certain rhythm or regular recurrence of accented syllables that gives a measured movement to the lines. It is a recognition of this rhythm that makes a child read in a “sing-song” tone, as natural a thing as it is to sing. If we hear constantly repeated at frequent and regular intervals any noise, there is a tendency to group these separate sounds and measure them off regularly. The clock ticks with always the same force and with the same space of time between the ticks, yet we hear tick-tack, tick-tack; we can prove the difference to be in our ear, for it requires but little effort to hear tick-tack or tack-tick, tack-tick. The ticking has not varied in the least.

[329]The poet takes advantage of this rhythmical tendency of nature and by using accented syllables at regular intervals compels us to recognize the swing of his lines. When he reduces this to a system he has established the meter of his production. The poetical accents sometimes fall on unaccented syllables and sometimes on monosyllabic words that are not emphatic, but usually the metrical accent of any given word corresponds to its logical accent. The accentuation of a syllable tends to lengthen the time used in the pronunciation of that syllable, and so we call it long, although the sound of its vowel may be short. Short syllables are those which are unaccented, even though the vowel has the long sound.

Verse appeals to the ear by its melodious combinations of sounds and also by the regular recurrence of similar sounds in rhymes. These usually occur at the ends of verses. In order that a rhyme may be perfect the two rhyming syllables must both be accented, the vowel sound and the consonants following must be identical, and the sounds preceding the vowel must be different. For example, fate and late rhyme; fat and late do not; fate and lame do not; debate rhymes with relate, but not with prelate. Double rhymes occur frequently, as in the words bowlders, shoulders.

Take this stanza from Hood’s Song of the Shirt:

With fingers weary and worn,
With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat in unwomanly rags
Plying her needle and thread—
Stitch! Stitch! Stitch!
[330]In poverty, hunger and dirt;
And still with a voice of dolorous pitch
She sang the “song of the shirt.”

Here the first and third lines are unrhymed, the second and fourth, the fifth and seventh, and the sixth and eighth lines rhyme alternately in couplets. If the beginnings of the verses are noticed it will be seen that the indentations of the lines correspond with the rhymes.

Rhymes are not always used in poetry. Most of Shakespeare’s plays are written in blank verse, which is unrhymed iambic pentameter, called heroic verse. Hiawatha and Evangeline are not rhymed, the former being trochaic tetrameter and the latter largely dactylic hexameter.

Frequently appeal is made to the ear by a similarity of sound at the beginning of words. This is known as alliteration. In early English poems this was of prime importance and subject to rigid rules, but more recently it has been used without rule, subject merely to the author’s will. This is seen to a marked degree in many writers. Here are several lines taken from Poe’s The Bells:

What a world of merriment their melody foretells,
What a tale of terror now their turbulency tells.
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire.

In many cases alliteration is very skilfully handled, as where Whittier uses the liquid consonants to make more smooth and harmonious to the ear the line that tells the friendliness of the brooklet whose murmurings could not be heard in winter, but—


“The music of whose liquid lip
Had been to us companionship”

during the long summer days.

The number of verses in a stanza varies from two to an indefinite number. When there are two verses the stanza is called a couplet; a three line stanza is called a tercet; a four line stanza, a quatrain. The five line stanza is not common, but six is a frequent number.

Kinds of Poetry

Poems may be classified as epic, lyric and dramatic.

The word epic is by some writers restricted in its application, but it is preferred here to use it in a broad sense to include various forms of narrative poetry, and to use the term greater, or heroic, epic to designate the smaller class of narratives which the older writers knew as epics. Thomas Arnold’s definition of the greater epic is: “The subject of the Epic Poem must be some one, great, complex action. The principal personages must belong to the high places of the world, and must be grand and elevated in their ideas and in their bearing. The measure must be of sonorous dignity, befitting the subject. The action is carried on by a mixture of narrative, dialogue, and soliloquy. Briefly to express its main characteristics, the epic treats of one great complex action, in grand style, and with fullness of detail.”

Under such a definition there can be but few really great epics in any language. Comparatively few poets have cared to undertake so great a task and many of those who have been willing to make [332]the attempt have failed conspicuously in the execution. But most of the great languages of the world have each one surpassing epic which has held the interest of its readers and established an immortality for itself. Homer gave the Greeks the grandeur of his Iliad; Virgil charms the Latin race and every cultivated people since with the elegance of his Aeneid; Dante with Virgil for his model and Beatrice as an inspiration wrote in Italian the Divina Commedia, in which he described with all-powerful pen the condition of the dead in the Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise; and our Milton after years of preparation, from the dark realm of his own blindness, produced the sublime measures of Paradise Lost. These are the Greater Epics, greater by far than anything else written by man. With them this course does not concern itself to any great extent.

The term lesser epic includes the numerous forms of narrative poems from the old-time ballad to the modern story-telling poem. The epic is essentially different from the lyric. While in the latter the personality of the author is always apparent, and properly so, in the epic the intrusion of the poet’s self is usually a defect. The lyric is subjective, the epic objective. To tell a story effectively and well is the prime motive, to tell it beautifully and in a way to excite the imagination and move the feelings of the reader is the contributory poetic impulse. Of the lesser epics groups might be set apart. The ballad is the oldest form. It was originally the production of wandering minstrels or glee-men and was not reduced to writing and kept in permanent form. Being passed from mouth to mouth [333]there naturally came to be great variations in its form, and even the incidents were modified to suit the taste of the singer. After poetry came to be a study of the cultured and refined, the minstrel’s power declined, though he was a welcome guest at the feasts of the wealthy, where his song added to the gayety of the occasion or gave dignity to the host as his deeds were sung by the hireling bard. In the sixteenth century these singers disappeared from view in the blaze of the Elizabethan Age.

The highest type of literary expression is poetry, and the most perfect creation of poetic imagination is the lyric. Technically a lyric is a song, a short poem that can be set to music. But this must be interpreted in a wide sense, for though all the songs that are sung are lyrics, the greater number of lyrics were never intended to be fitted to the closer requirements of vocal harmony. They deal with all subjects and have few requirements of form, though form is an essential element and a matter of great importance, for to the perfection of form much of the intense effect of the lyric is due. Like the essay the lyric is a subjective composition; it is confessedly the expression of the poet’s personal emotion and his own experiences. His mind, his soul, speak to us; he does not interpret the thoughts and feelings of another. The lyric is usually contemplative and full of the choicest results of the poet’s meditations. It influences action indirectly through direct appeals to the emotions.

Songs form a class of lyrics as varied in content as the possible subjects in life. One might consider them as sacred and secular and under the former recognize the psalms, which our poets have many [334]times rendered into metrical form, not infrequently detracting from the sublimity of the originals. “The Lord is my Shepherd” needs no change, no remodeling from the biblical version to make it a true lyric, but that it may be sung to the tunes of our churches it has more than once been paraphrased.

Hymns are religious songs expressing devout reverence for the deity, displaying confidence and faith in the goodness of God, breathing a prayer for help in hours of difficulty and distress, or for consolation in the hour of affliction. Our literature is full of these noble poems, and their lofty sentiments, clothed in beautiful words sung to the thrilling music of other inspired composers, have been potent factors in culture and refinement.

Secular songs are written upon nearly every conceivable topic of human interest and are more numerous than any other form of literature, but so many of them are inferior in composition and so dependent upon the jingle of the tunes to which they are sung that their life is little longer than the time consumed in their production. But a large number are conceived in the true spirit of art and are as worthy of immortality as anything we read.

There are comic songs that sparkle with wit and whose music laughs with the hearer; sentimental and love songs whose sensuous cadences intensify the passion of their words; convivial songs where toasts are drunk to the accompaniment of the clinking glasses; and patriotic songs that roll with the ringing cheers of thousands and the tramp of armed men.

There are still three large classes of lyrics each distinct in itself, though, as we see if we try to draw [335]the lines closely, shading off into one another. Usually these are in the nature of a direct address to some person, place, or thing, and are distinguished one from another by the nature of the subject or the rules of form. All are in a greater or less degree complimentary to the thing addressed and show interest, respect, admiration or love. The ode and elegy have most in common, although the latter is a tribute to the dead. The sonnet partakes deeply of the nature of the others, but is set off by very arbitrary limitations of form.

There are no rules governing the form of the ode; the poet is at liberty to select whatever form seems best adapted to his purpose. The length of the stanza, the meter, the rhyme, may be as varied as his fancy dictates, but the ode is an address direct and personal, an address with praise for its object. The subject may be a flower, a piece of pottery, a person, a bird or a nation, but some definite inciting object is necessary. The ode is subjective in that the poet expresses his own feeling of admiration or reverence. Often there is an acknowledgment of a benefit conferred, a lesson learned, or affection returned. From these conditions, namely, the liberty of form, the direct and powerful inspiration, the sincere desire to return a favor, a poet might naturally be expected to produce his choicest work, and so he has done.

A mournful song, in stately measure, praising the dead for his virtues, full of the grief that remains with the living, believing in the happiness of the departed and hoping for a blessed reunion in the hereafter: this is the typical elegy. On the one side it shades off into the ode, some poems being [336]susceptible of classification in both groups; on the other it may take the form of sonnets, many of which answer every requirement of the dirge. Many poems are therefore elegiacal that are not strictly elegies. A rigid classification is never necessary, but an association of these beautiful pieces, all thoroughly impregnated with the personal grief of the author, gives to each a greater power, a more thrilling significance. They arise from the deepest emotion and so are the offspring of divinest inspiration; love is in the heart of the writer and so the flight of song is best sustained; they are intended to show to the world respect and admiration for the one whose virtues they celebrate and so they are refined and polished to the last degree. Where grief, love and a hope to give earthly immortality to the object of his affection move the poet, we expect the finest efforts of his genius. These elegies include some of the grandest, the most perfect productions of poetic skill.

When man sees his loved one laid away forever, he naturally longs to preserve the memory of the departed to succeeding generations, to erect some permanent memorial. Funereal monuments are characteristic of every race and have proved the most enduring records of the past. The inscriptions upon these tombs are early records of the elegiac spirit.

The epitaph is elegy in miniature. “To define an epitaph is useless; everyone knows it is an inscription on a tomb. An epitaph is indeed commonly panegyrical, because we are seldom distinguished by a stone but by our friends,” says Dr. Johnson.

[337]This epitaph was written by Robert Wilde in the seventeenth century:

Here lies a piece of Christ; a star in dust;
A vein of gold; a china dish that must
Be used in heaven, when God shall feast the just.

The sonnet may be addressed to any person or thing and is the direct personal expression of the author’s feeling. It is like the ode, and also partakes of the general nature of the elegy, but it differs from both in the rigidity of the rules of form that govern it. Sonnets originated in Italy, and the genuine Italian sonnet is very exacting in form. It must consist of exactly fourteen lines of iambic pentameter. These lines are divided into two groups, one of which consists of eight lines or two quatrains, the whole known as the octave. The remaining six lines constitute the sestet. The first and last line of each quatrain rhyme together, while the middle lines of each form the second rhyme. In the sestet usually the first line rhymes with the fourth, the second with the fifth and the third with the sixth. As a whole the sonnet contains one idea, which in the octave is general, in the sestet specific, for the sestet expresses the conclusion of the octave.

The difficulties of composition under such arbitrary limitations are evident, and it is not to be wondered at that even famous poets have utterly failed when they have essayed to write in this form. The sonnet has met with severest criticism, some writers failing to see any beauty in it. Coleridge says: “And when at last the poor thing is toiled and hammered into fit shape, it is in general racked [338]and tortured prose rather than anything resembling poetry.” Though Lord Byron wrote a few himself he defined the sonnet as “The most puling, petrifying, stupidly Platonic composition.”

But this is hardly fair to the many exquisitely beautiful lyrics that in this form grace the English language. Those “little pictures painted well,” those “monuments of a moment” are among our most graceful poems, and the reader who has not learned to delight in a beautiful sonnet has missed the most refined pleasure English literature has to give.

The following exquisite sonnet, Victor and Vanquished, by Longfellow, is formed on the Italian model:

As one who long hath fled with panting breath
Before his foe, bleeding and near to fall,
I turn and set my back against the wall,
And look thee in the face, triumphant Death.
I call for aid, and no one answereth;
I am alone with thee, who conquerest all;
Yet me thy threatening form doth not appall,
For thou art but a phantom and a wraith;
Wounded and weak, sword broken at the hilt,
With armor shattered, and without a shield,
I stand unmoved; do with me what thou wilt;
I can resist no more, but will not yield.
This is no tournament where cowards tilt;
The vanquished here is victor of the field.

How many verses in this sonnet? What is the meter? What is the rhyme scheme? Through how many lines is the rhyme scheme the same as that followed in the Italian sonnet?

Is there a unity of thought in this sonnet? Does [339]the poet consistently allude to some one thing? Was Longfellow old or young when he wrote this? What does Longfellow represent himself to be? Why does he “set his back against the wall”? In these days of Mauser rifles would it do any good to set one’s back against the wall for protection against an approaching enemy? Was it ever an advantage? Who is the foe that follows him? How can Death be “but a phantom and a wraith” and at the same time follow the poet triumphantly? What do his weapons and his armor indicate as to what he represents himself? What is the “broken sword”? Who fight in tournaments? What is there appropriate in the word “tilt”? How can the one who is vanquished be victor still? Is the figure of medieval knighthood well sustained?

The earliest European dramas of which we have any record were the plays performed in ancient Greece five hundred years before Christ. There were very few characters introduced, sometimes only one or two, and a chorus was the most important part of the representation. This chorus served to fill the gaps in the action, to state what had preceded and at times even to comment upon the actors, to exhort or to praise or condemn their behavior. The Greek dramatists carefully followed the so-called rule of three unities: unity of time, whereby the action must be compressed into one day; unity of place, by which only one place must be represented; and unity of action, whereby the movement of the piece must be continuous, all the incidents be connected so as to form one main line of thought. The rule of three unities was followed very closely by the French dramatists up to com[340]paratively recent times; but in England, beginning with the Elizabethan era, no restraint was placed upon dramatic technique except unity of action, which still remains essential.

During the Middle Ages the drama was represented by miracle and mystery plays dealing with sacred history. They differed in subject only. The miracle plays represented the lives of saints and their miraculous deeds; the mysteries, the mysterious doctrines of Christianity and various biblical events. During an age when preaching was unusual, the clergy reached the souls of their people by means of these rude plays which were at first given in churches; but later, when the town guilds and trade organizations began to present them, the stage was a traveling cart, roughly fitted up with rude scenery. Still later, before theaters were built, the wandering players acted in inn yards or courtyards. Female parts were always taken by boys, and it was not until after Shakespeare’s time that women appeared on the stage.

In the reign of Henry VI the mysteries were in part superseded by the morality plays, although the former did not wholly go out of style until the time of Elizabeth. The passion play given every ten years at Oberammergau, Bavaria, is a survival of the old mystery play. The moralities personified the virtues and vices common to man, and attempted to teach moral lessons by allegorical representations. When popular interest in these dramas began to lag, current topics were introduced into the dialogue, and characters from real life appeared on the stage for the first time. Early in the sixteenth century John Heywood invented a farcical com[341]position called The Interlude to relieve the tiresome monotony of existing plays. But it was in 1540 that the first comedy appeared, and it is not too much to say that this play marks the beginning of modern English drama. Nicholas Udall, head master of Eton College, being accustomed to write Latin plays for his boys, concluded to try his hand at an English drama. The result was Ralph Royster Doyster, the first comedy. In 1562 Queen Elizabeth was entertained by the presentation of the first English tragedy, a play entitled Gorboduc, by Thomas Sackville.

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries amateur dramatic productions called masques were presented. Sometimes even nobles and members of the royal family took part. These plays were accompanied by music, dancing, and spectacular effects. The literary character of the masque developed into the compositions of Ben Jonson, and culminated in Milton’s Comus. During the reign of Elizabeth the productions of Kyd, Peele, Greene, Marlowe, and Beaumont and Fletcher raised the drama to such a lofty plane that only the genius of a Shakespeare could surmount it.

There are two distinct classes of modern dramas—tragedies and comedies. In the former, events crowd irresistibly on to some terrible conclusion, usually resulting in the death of the principal characters. An atmosphere of gloom surrounds it, and the flashes of light serve but to intensify the general darkness. Even when the soul of the reader recognizes the justice of the end it rebels against the horrors of the situation. The deeper and darker passions predominate; love is swallowed up in [342]hate and happiness drowned in grief. The comedy is in a lighter and happier vein; its situations may be trying but they end happily; the sun shines and the air is clear; if storms appear they are the showers of a summer day, not awful tempests. The comedy descends through various forms to the travesty and farce whose purpose is solely to excite laughter by ludicrous scenes and absurd incidents. The melodrama abounds in thrilling situations and extravagant efforts to excite emotions, but its final outcome is a happy one, and the villain is punished and virtue is comfortably rewarded.

Dramas may be written in prose or in poetic form. The tendency is toward prose in comedy and poetry in tragedy, though in the same play both prose and poetry are sometimes used. The most common form for the poetic composition is the unrhymed iambic pentameter or blank verse (heroic measure). Rhymes are in use but usually their purpose is definite and specific and they may occur occasionally in plays which are otherwise in blank verse. Lyrics are often introduced, and in them both rhyme and meter are varied at the pleasure of the author.

Journeys Through Bookland contains numerous illustrations of the facts of this chapter and plentiful examples of every form of literature except the sonnet, of which a type has just been given. The outline which follows will summarize this chapter and show a few of the examples that may be formed.

Robert Louis Stevenson      Paul Du Chaillu
Rudyard Kipling
Thomas Hughes      Hans Christian Andersen
Jakob Grimm      Wilhelm Grimm


  1. I. Prose.
  2. 1. Forms of Prose Composition.
  3. [343]A. Narration.
  4. The Pine Tree Shillings: IV, 192.
  5. A Christmas Carol: VI, 244.
  6. B. Description.
  7. Brute Neighbors: VII, 260.
  8. The Alhambra: VIII, 153.
  9. Children’s Books of the Past: V, 101.
  10. C. Exposition.
  11. Imitation of Christ: VI, 134.
  12. The Cubes of Truth: VII, 406.
  13. Reading History: V, 394.
  14. D. Argument.
  15. Poor Richard’s Almanac: VI, 407.
  16. 2. Kinds of Prose.
  17. A. Fiction.
  18. Aladdin: III, 288.
  19. Tom Brown at Rugby: V, 469.
  20. The Adventure of the Windmills: VII, 438.
  21. B. Essays.
  22. Childhood: VI, 124.
  23. Dream Children: VIII, 335.
  24. The Vision of Mirza: IX, 285.
  25. C. Orations.
  26. The Gettysburg Address: IX, 321.
  27. Abraham Lincoln: IX, 324.
  28. II. Poetry.
  29. 1. Structure of Poetry.
  30. A. Rhyme.
  31. The Country Squire: VI, 474.
  32. To My Infant Son: VI, 478.
  33. B. Meter.
  34. The Daffodils: VII, 1.
  35. The Old Oaken Bucket: VII, 11.
  36. Bannockburn: VII, 15.
  37. [344]Boat Song: VII, 17.
  38. 2. Kinds of Poetry.
  39. A. Epics.
  40. a. Heroic Epics.
  41. Death of Hector: IV, 364.
  42. Wooden Horse: IV, 383.
  43. b. Lesser Epics.
  44. Saint Nicholas: II, 202.
  45. Pied Piper of Hamelin: III, 384.
  46. Incident of the French Camp: IV, 174.
  47. Sohrab and Rustum: VI, 173.
  48. B. Lyrics.
  49. a. Songs.
  50. (1) Sacred.
  51. Nearer Home: IV, 126.
  52. Lead, Kindly Light: V, 110.
  53. (2) Secular.
  54. Annie Laurie: VI, 119.
  55. Auld Lang Syne: VI, 228.
  56. Those Evening Bells: VII, 340.
  57. (3) Patriotic.
  58. Battle Hymn of the Republic: V, 399.
  59. America: VIII, 60.
  60. b. Odes.
  61. To the Fringed Gentian: VII, 4.
  62. Ode to a Skylark: VII, 275.
  63. To H. W. L.: IV, 84.
  64. c. Elegies.
  65. Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard: VI, 360.
  66. d. Sonnet.
  67. e. Drama.
  68. The Tempest: VIII, 364.



Journeys Through Bookland in Its Relation to the School

Reading and Language

These books were prepared expressly for home readings, but as has been said elsewhere, they were prepared with a definite purpose to make them a living adjunct to school work and a strong helper in bringing the home and the school together. To accomplish this result it was necessary that all the studies offered in Journeys should be after the most approved methods and that there should be no selections that could not with propriety be used in any school in the land. This principle of selection made it necessary to exclude some selections that might have been pleasing but at the same time were not universal in their acceptance. Again, it was necessary to include literature that was in a sense technical, that would apply to every class that young readers have in school. This does not mean that there are a great many things that are purely geographical or purely historical or that deal directly with the study of language and literature. It means that the reader of Journeys will find selections that he can use in nearly every class in school and that those selections are in the highest degree literary. In no way does a child learn more thoroughly that geography and history are worth [346]study in themselves than by meeting them clothed in the beauty of fine writing. In no way will he be led more quickly into a love for nature in all her manifestations and into a keen desire to study nature than by the hand of literature. Language takes on a new interest when it becomes evident that it is a real and necessary help to writing as the great writers do.

Accordingly when the selections were chosen for Journeys, a tabulation of school subjects was made and under each head were placed the things that would be most helpful in school work. It was not decided finally to keep that arrangement in the books, for a different and a better system of grading and classification was selected. Nevertheless the selections are there, and the object of this and the few following chapters is to show what those selections are, how they may be used in school and how their use at home helps in the school work of every reader.

In the grades below the high school the following subjects are considered most important, viz.: reading, language, arithmetic, geography, history and nature study. At the first thought one would say that a set of books such as Journeys can be of no use in the arithmetic class, and of course their usefulness in that direction would not justify their existence. However, there are selections in Journeys that have a decided arithmetical flavor, such as, for instance, Three Sundays in a Week (Volume VI, page 453) and The Gold Bug (Volume IX, page 232). Even among the nursery rhymes is one that is purely arithmetical (Volume I, page 41). We may, however, disregard the arithmetic in Journeys, [347]but we must not lose sight of the fact that the method of reading discussed under the title Close Reading is exactly the method of study that every person must pursue if he is to make any success in mathematics. In no other branch is there a call for such close reading, and only he who can get all the meaning out of the statement of a problem can be certain of his solution. One of the reasons that so many children have trouble with the problems in their arithmetic classes is that they do not read intelligently. Many a good teacher of mathematics will tell you that a large part of her success is due to the fact that she has spent much of the time in the class in teaching her pupils to read understandingly. Many another could make a vast improvement in her methods of teaching if she would spend a part of the time of each recitation in teaching her pupils to read problems till they thoroughly understand them before beginning to work out the formulas. It follows then that every child who masters the art of close reading will be helped in a great measure in all his work in mathematics. The value of Journeys in this connection is that it makes that method of study clear and leads a child to its mastery almost without the recognition of what he is doing. It will teach him to think before he acts and to acquire the habit of looking for the full meaning of everything he reads.

In this and the two following chapters will be given studies of the most important subjects studied in the grades, showing the correlation of the Journeys material. These subjects will be treated in the following order: Reading, Language, Nature Study, Geography and History.


A. Reading

As for the other studies with which Journeys is correlated, we shall take them up one by one and at greater length. First in importance is reading. This is always first in importance in school, for every other study depends upon it. In fact the prime motive of Journeys is to teach reading, and it will teach reading in the school and in the home. The child who has read what these books have to offer in the way that these books teach will have a power that cannot be taken from him, and his position in class and elsewhere will be raised immediately. Besides the fund of information he will have acquired he will have made for himself a habit that will always benefit him. Every study in the books from the first page to the last is a help in reading, and all the lessons of this volume are directed to reading. But there are three or more long chapters in this volume which take up the different methods of reading and apply them to selections on all conceivable subjects dealt with in Journeys. To these chapters on reading the teacher and the parent who wants to be informed are directed. The treatment is simple and not above the effort of anyone, and the method will appeal to all high school students of literature, for it is the method of the best teachers of that subject.


B. Language

There are two distinct phases of the teaching of language: pupils must be taught to speak and to write with ease, fluency and correctness. There are very few children who do not like to talk. It is as natural to them as to breathe. But as soon as they begin to speak we begin to correct their speech. Much of our criticism is given publicly, at least before other children, some of whom are known to speak more fluently and correctly than those whose errors are being criticized. In consequence, the children begin to doubt themselves, to hesitate, and gradually to lose their desire to talk. In fact, so timid and reluctant do they become that by the time they have been in school a few years many teachers find their greatest difficulty in getting pupils to recite well or to talk naturally. Perhaps before and after school and at recess they will converse freely and delightfully, but as soon as their classes are called they become reticent and ill at ease. Not all of this lack of spirit is due to the teacher, but some of it is. In any event it is an unfortunate condition, and the teacher is anxious to remove it.

At home a similar condition prevails. If the parents are themselves accurate in speech and alive to the importance of making their children good talkers and users of correct English they will be ready with criticism, and unless they are careful will do their share to repress the natural frankness of child nature. Parents who have been teachers are quite as liable to err as others are to remain in igno[350]rance in attempting to understand the psychology of the child mind. Freedom of conversation on topics of interest where correct models of speech are always before the child will accomplish more in making cultivated speech than will twice as much direct instruction. If only parents will read the things that the children are reading and affect an interest in those things they can be certain of giving the best training, while they themselves will grow in happiness and nearness to their offspring. In the fields of literature they can stray together with the consciousness that with all the beauty there is nothing to corrupt.

In a lesser degree, perhaps, the same facts are true in written language, in composition. But in lessons of this type the instructor will not find conditions so favorable: Talking is natural, writing is artificial; to speak is instinctive, to write is an art of difficult attainment. In the first place, a child must be taught to form strange characters with his hand. After he acquires facility in that, he must think, put this thoughts into words in his mind, and then laboriously transfer his words, letter by letter, to the paper before him. Many a child who talks well cannot write a respectable letter. His thoughts outrun his hand, and by the time the first labored sentence is written his ideas have fled and he must begin again. Is it any wonder that his sentences are disconnected, his thought meager?

Just think what it means to a child to write you a letter, or even a brief paragraph! Suppose he wants to tell you about a dog he has at home. He begins by thinking: “My dog, Ben, is a pretty little woolly fellow with bright eyes and long silky [351]ears,” and then his thoughts run off vaguely into the general idea that he is going to tell you about some very cute tricks Ben can perform. The child is all enthusiasm and he begins writing and thinking something like this: “My (that word must begin with a capital letter) dog (‘Ben’ must begin with a capital, too) Ben is a (is that ‘pritty’ or ‘pretty’? It’s pronounced ‘pritty’ anyhow) pritty (that don’t look right. Scratch it out!) pretty (well, that don’t, I mean doesn’t look right either, but I’ll leave it) (For goodness sake, how do you spell it? ‘Wooly’? ‘wolly’? ‘woolly’? I guess I had it right at first) wooly fellow (where shall I put the commas? I’ll leave ‘em out. Teacher can put them in if she wants them.) with bright eyes and long slicky (no, no, that isn’t right! How funny! Scratch it out.) silky ears. (I nearly forgot the period. Now what was I going to say next?).” When he is through, his first sentence is like this: “My dog Ben is a pretty little wooly fellow with bright eyes and long silky ears.” He looks at his work with doubt and disgust as he scratches his head for the next idea. He has wholly forgotten what he intended to tell about! Later, his work, wholly unsatisfactory to himself comes to you for criticism and you take your blue pencil or your pen with red ink and put in the marks if any are needed, indicate the misspelled words and sigh as you say, “Will Charlie ever learn to write a decent composition?” Certainly he will, when his writing becomes mechanical, when his hand makes the letters, puts in the marks, and his lower brain spells the words for him, without disturbing the higher cells which are occupied with his ideas.

[352]These are the diverse problems that confront anyone who tries to teach language to a child. We cannot solve them all, but most certainly we can lend some assistance.

1. Oral Lessons

Success in oral language lessons rests primarily upon interest. If you can secure interest, the children will talk freely; if you retain interest, you can criticize freely and with good effect.

Criticisms should not be too severe and should always be impersonal. It is not John and Mary who are being corrected, but the mistakes that John and Mary make. You have heard both parents and teachers say, “John, why will you persist in saying, ‘I done it’? Don’t you know that is wrong? You must correct yourself.” Such criticism is wholly bad. If John says “I done it,” it is because he has heard the expression and become habituated to its use. He cannot be taught differently by berating him. When he says, “I done it,” repeat after him in a kindly inquiring voice, “I done it?” or say in a kindly way, “I did it.” In either case John will give you the correct form willingly, and when he has done so times enough he will forget the wrong form and cease to use it.

Everyone must remember that children have heard slang and incorrect speech almost from infancy; that the playground, the street and the home have been steadily teaching, and that the minds of even primary children may be filled with not only loose forms of speech, but even with profane and indecent expressions. One of the natural correctives for such things is the reading and telling of [353]attractive stories, full of dramatic power, calculated to stimulate right feeling, couched in clear and forcible English. Elsewhere in this volume under the title Telling Stories are suggestions and good models.

From the standpoint of the language lesson, children must reproduce the story, must “tell it back” to make it valuable to them. The instructor’s part in this reproduction may be summed up as follows:

1. Be an interested audience for the child.

2. Secure clearness. Do it by a gentle question or a remark now and then: “I am not sure that I understand you.” “Do you think I would know what you mean if I had never read the story?” “If you were telling the story to your playmate would she understand that?”

3. Encourage the child to use his own words, when he follows too closely the phraseology that was given him, yet remember that one of the objects of the exercise is to give the children the use of a wider vocabulary and to make them appreciate and use beautiful and forcible expressions.

4. Be reasonably content with freedom of expression at first, and do not expect too rapid improvement. You are moving against fixed habits.

5. Vary the character of the exercise. Sometimes permit one child to tell the whole story; at other times, call upon other children, or continue the story yourself.

6. If the story is a difficult one, do not ask for its reproduction until it is thoroughly understood. Make its meaning clear by skilful questioning, [354]which with the answers makes an extremely valuable conversation lesson.

7. Encourage the use of beautiful expressions, of fine figures of speech. Do it by using such expressions yourself and by pointing them out in the story or poem you are using.

8. Beware of spoiling a beautiful poem or an elegant prose selection by poor reproduction. After the story has been related and the meaning made clear have the original read several times exactly as it is written and encourage the children to commit it to memory.

There are in Journeys Through Bookland many selections suitable for these oral lessons. For the little folks there are some of the Nursery Rhymes, of Volume I, like the following:

In the same class may be included those beautiful poems by Stevenson and Field, poems that every child loves and will be delighted to talk about. For instance, the following from the same volume:

The last list, however, includes many of those poems which must not be spoiled by childish re-telling. Use them for conversation subjects and then for reading or recitation.

The fables will be found to provide excellent material, and there need be no fear of ruining their effect as literature:

Certain of the fairy stories are excellent; so are anecdotes concerning men of whom the children should know; historical tales, and stories about plants, birds and other animals. Among the great number of selections that might be included under this head, some of the best are the following:

1. Fairy Tales and Folk Stories:

2. Biographical Stories:

3. Myths:

4. Historical Tales:

5. About Flowers and Plants:

6. About Birds:

7. About Other Animals:

The longer stories you will abbreviate in telling, and the children will still further shorten them. Try, however, to retain the spirit of each. Do not try to tell all that is contained in the longer articles mentioned above. Select interesting portions, a single anecdote, a few facts that will hold attention.

At times vary the exercise by giving a very simple theme and ask the children to make up a story to fit it. If they have difficulty, help them to think and talk. When they see what you want some will surprise you with their vivid imaginations and pic[357]turesque modes of expression. Suppose you have in mind the fable The Wind and the Sun (Volume I, Page 95). You might present the idea to them in this form: “The Wind and the Sun each tried to make a man take off his coat. The Wind tried and failed, then the Sun tried and succeeded. Can you tell me a story about that?” If you meet with no satisfactory response, begin questioning somewhat in this style, and perhaps the child will answer nearly as indicated:

Question. You don’t know what I mean? Then let us tell it together. How do you think the Wind would try to make a man take off his coat?

Answer. He would try to blow it off.

Q. How would he blow?

A. He would blow hard.

Q. Can you think of another word besides hard to show how he would blow?

A. Fierce.

Q. Fiercely. Yes, “fiercely” is a good word. How fiercely would he blow?

A. Very fierce.

Q. Yes, very fiercely. Did you notice I said “fiercely,” John? Now can’t you think of a comparison with something else that is fierce, so that our story will sound well and people will like it?

A. A lion is fierce. We could say, “He blew as fiercely as a lion.”

Q. But a lion does not blow. What does he do?

A. He tears his prey when he captures it.

Q. That’s good. Now tell me how the Wind tried to make the man take off his coat.

A. The Wind blew fiercely as a lion tears his prey.

[358]Q. Good. Did the man take off his coat?

A. I don’t think he did. I think he would try to keep it on.

Q. How hard do you think he would try?

A. As hard as he could.

Q. Did he lose it?

A. No. No matter what the Wind did I think the man would keep on his coat.

Q. Will you please tell the story as far as we have gone?

A. The Wind and the Sun tried to make a man take off his coat. First the Wind blew as fiercely as a lion tears his prey, but the man clung more closely to his coat and would not let it go.

Q. That is good, but it does not satisfy me yet. I want a longer, prettier story. Let us make believe the Wind and the Sun are two men. Make them talk so they will seem real to us. Can’t you start us?

A. One day Mr. Wind and Mr. Sun got to talking. Each one thought he was stronger than the other. They saw a man walking along the road. He had a big overcoat on and Mr. Wind said that he—

Q. Tell us exactly what Mr. Wind said.

A. Mr. Wind said, “I am stronger than you are. I can make that man take off his coat. You can’t!”

Q. That is a fine start. Tell us what the Sun said.

A. The Sun said that he—

Q. “That he?”

A. The Sun said, “I can make him take off his coat, and I can do it quicker than you can.[359]

Q. Good. Go on.

A. So they tried. Mr. Wind began. He blew as hard as he could and whistled around the man. He blew as fiercely as a lion tears his prey, but the man wouldn’t take off his coat.

Q. What would the man do to his coat?

A. I think he’d hold on to it, button it up, draw it close around him.

Q. Good. Very good. Now tell the story as well as you can.

A. Begin at the beginning?

Q. Yes.

A. One day Mr. Wind and Mr. Sun got into a quarrel about who was the strongest. While they were at it, a man in a heavy overcoat came walking along the road. When Mr. Wind saw the man he said, “Now see that man down there. I can make him take off his coat, but you can’t.” Mr. Sun replied, “I don’t believe you can do it, but I can, though,” then Mr. Wind said, “Well, I’ll show you, you conceited thing!” So the Wind blew and blew, fierce and loud like a lion attacking his prey, but the man wouldn’t take off his coat. He drew it around him and buttoned it up and hung on to it.

Q. I like your story. But how many people were talking?

A. Two.

Q. Did you mean to say “strongest”?

A. Stronger.

It is not necessary to continue this farther, for enough has been written to show how a story may be developed and improved with each retelling.

The same style of work, perhaps to even better advantage, may be done from the pictures so num[360]erous in Journeys Through Bookland. In this volume, under the title Pictures and Their Use, will be found plentiful suggestions that will be helpful in conversation lessons.

2. Written Lessons

A. Introduction.

The demands of written composition are so much more severe than those of oral composition that we must be careful not to ask more than the child can execute with comparative ease. Before he begins to write, he should have clear ideas of what he intends to write and should have those ideas so arranged that they will not be confused in the process of writing. Moreover, a child must become quite familiar with writing as an art before he can be expected to originate ideas or forms of expression for the purpose of writing them. It follows, then, that some of the early written work in language may profitably consist of copying selections of various kinds.

The titles given under the preceding section (Oral Lessons) will lead to many excellent exercises for this purpose. Insist on perfect accuracy of copy. Spelling, capitalization and punctuation must be correct. If the original is prose, insist upon proper paragraphing; if poetry, upon exactness in the arrangement of the lines, especially in the matter of indentation. Children will quickly see the relation that indentation bears to rhymes. By following with exactness, the child learns unconsciously to observe the general rules. By occasionally calling attention to the reasons for forms, children are taught to act intelligently and [361]to decide for themselves when they come to original composition.

Rhythm is as natural as breathing, and rhyming is easy for children with quick ears and quick thought. You will be surprised the first time you try the exercise to see how quickly they will imitate a rhythm with which they are familiar, and the skill they show in making rhymes. Try it first as an oral exercise, and later ask for written lines. Much of such work may not be profitable, but it serves well to give variety. Making simple parodies is amusing and stimulating to thought. Sometimes you will help by suggesting rhymes or by giving hints as to the subject to be parodied.

Take the nursery rhyme There Was an Old Woman (Volume I, page 36) for a model. Suggest bird and nest as ideas for new rhymes and keep helping until you get something like this:

There was a sweet birdie
Who built a fine nest,
A beautiful birdie
With a very red breast.

Use the same meter many times over till all become familiar with it. Similar exercises prove highly interesting to children of all ages.

Although this is not a treatise on written language lessons, a few general suggestions may not be out of place:

1. Be sure that the children have something interesting about which to write.

2. Be sure that they have a good stock of ideas on the subject, or that they know how and where [362]to get information and can get it without great difficulty.

3. Be sure that they write an outline of their composition or have one thoroughly in mind before they begin on the essay itself.

4. Give plenty of time for the writing.

5. Show a decided interest in their preparation and in their compositions.

6. Do not be severe in your criticisms. Give encouragement. Concentrate your efforts on one or two errors at a time. Let other mistakes pass till a more convenient time.

7. a. Watch for errors:

(1) In the use of capital letters.

(2) In the use of punctuation marks; first of terminal marks, then of the marks within a sentence.

b. See that every sentence is complete, with subject and predicate.

c. See that verbs agree with subjects, and pronouns with antecedents.

d. Insist that the work be paragraphed.

e. Watch for errors in case among the pronouns. The objective case is troublesome.

f. Look for adjective forms where adverbial forms are correct.

8. Require care in all work. Neatness and legibility are essential.

9. Mark errors, do not correct them. Let the children do that. A simple system of marks will enable you to indicate the nature of the error.

10. When the mistakes have been corrected, have a neat copy made and preserved.

11. Try sincerely to work with your children and to secure a genuine spirit of co-operation.


B. Literature in Written Lessons.

Indirectly, all that is said on the teaching of reading in this and other volumes bears upon language, and you are earnestly urged to consider it all carefully in that light. More directly, what has been written herein on the subject of conversation lessons and oral language is a necessary preliminary to any discussion of written work and should be used freely in the assignment and preparation of subjects for written exercises. The outlines for study in reading and the outlines of the oral lessons are easily modified to become very satisfactory outlines for compositions. The selections recommended for oral lessons are all adapted to written work.

Narration. As in other instances, however, it here seems wise to give a few suggestions specifically for the written exercises, and as a basis for such suggestions we will take selections from Journeys Through Bookland.

Robin Hood has been an interesting character for many generations of schoolboys, and among the ballads concerning him (Volume III, page 436) are several good selections for reading aloud. Most children know something about Robin Hood and many of them have read full accounts, yet probably the old ballads are not familiar. The note on page 436 gives information about the ballads and tells what it is necessary to know about Robin Hood himself. Suppose we take as a subject the ballad on page 444, Robin Hood and the Stranger. The notes explain peculiar expressions and give the meanings of obsolete words. There is a manly, rough-and-tumble spirit in the ballad [364]that boys like, and it is clean and wholesome, as well.

Read the ballad to the children, explaining the more obscure words and phrases as you go along. Encourage the children to ask questions whenever they do not fully understand. Talk freely until you have made everything clear and have secured interest. Then read the whole ballad without interruption. Read with expression and enthusiasm. Show the spirit and virility of the men.

Then by questions bring out the facts of the narrative in logical order as they appear, and have each child copy them for himself. They constitute the outline each is to write. Adapt the outline to the age and acquirements of the child; make it as full or as brief as you please, but make it logical and complete. Let it be similar to the following:

1. Robin Hood goes hunting.

2. He meets a well-dressed stranger.

3. The stranger kills a deer by a remarkable shot with his bow.

4. Robin Hood invites the stranger to join his company.

5. The stranger threatens Robin Hood.

6. They prepare to fight with bows.

7. Robin Hood thinks it a pity that either should be slain, and proposes to fight with broadswords.

8. Robin Hood strikes a heavy blow which the stranger returns with interest.

9. Robin Hood feels great respect for the stranger’s power, and asks who he is.

10. The stranger proves to be Robin Hood’s only nephew.

[365]11. They meet Little John, who wants to fight young Gamwell.

12. Robin Hood compels peace, makes Gamwell second to Little John and names him Scarlet.

Talk to the children freely after you have made the outline; advise them to make the story interesting, dramatic, and not too long. Show them that it is better to use direct discourse; that is, to make the characters seem alive. The result will be a good narration, the simplest and most common form of written discourse.

Description. To so describe a scene to another person that he may see it clearly and vividly is high art. It is necessary in narration and often lends strength to description and exposition. Accordingly, it is one of the most important forms of composition. In no direction, perhaps, can Journeys Through Bookland be of greater assistance.

I. In the first place, the pictures are a mine of subjects for description. The pictures themselves may be described, and many of them will suggest other subjects for similar tasks. For instance, in Volume V, on page 219, is a picture of Sir Galahad when the Holy Grail appears to him. Some of the topics for description are the following:

1. The picture, Sir Galahad. (For suggestions as to the description of pictures, etc., see the topic Pictures and Their Use, in this volume.)

2. The trees in the forest.

3. The armor of Sir Galahad and the trappings of his horse.

Again, in Volume V, on page 17, is the picture of Gulliver’s Journey to the Metropolis, which gives us these topics:

[366]1. The picture.

2. The cart on which the Lilliputians transport Gulliver. (Read the account in the story for further facts.)

Facing page 116 in the same volume is the halftone of King Arthur in armor. To write a minute description of the armor would be an excellent exercise, requiring close observation and not a little reading, if the children wish to name the pieces of armor the king wears.

II. Many of the stories contain beautiful descriptive passages, which may be studied with profit, and some of the selections are almost wholly descriptive. An excellent example of the latter type and an exceedingly interesting article for children is Some Children’s Books of the Past (Volume V, Page 101).

The King of the Golden River (Volume II, page 405) and A Christmas Carol (Volume VI, page 244) are especially rich in material of this kind. On page 408 of the former selection the King is described at his first appearance. An analysis of the paragraph is to be found on page 445 of the same volume, under the title First Appearance. By comparing the analysis and the descriptive paragraph it will be seen that the former gives the facts only, while in the latter there are comparisons and descriptive words that make the whole vivid and artistic.

The outline is a good description of an imaginary person. After the children have studied paragraph and outline, give them another outline like this:

  1. 1. General statement, or introduction.
  2. 2. Nose.
  3. [367]3. Cheeks.
  4. 4. Eyes.
  5. 5. Beard.
  6. 6. Hair.
  7. 7. Height.
  8. 8. Clothing.
  9. a. Hat.
  10. b. Coat.
  11. c. Vest.
  12. d. Trousers.
  13. e. Shoes.

Require each child to follow the outline and to write a smooth, readable description of a man whom he knows. Vary the exercise by asking the children to describe some man whose picture you show; some man whom all have seen, or, if it can be done in the proper spirit, one of the other children who is willing to pose. Then ask them to describe some fanciful character about whom you make a general statement, as, for example, “He was the most amusing man I ever saw in my life,” or, “He was certainly the most dignified man in appearance and the best-dressed man I ever saw.” A comparison of the descriptions given by the different members of the class will be amusing and instructive. Try to secure descriptions which in style are in harmony with the subject.

III. In many of the selections the authors have not tried to describe things very fully. In such cases you have fine opportunities to train the imagination by asking the children to supplement the descriptions. For instance, On the Receipt of My Mother’s Picture (Volume VII, page 331) raises [368]among other subjects for descriptive writing the following:

  1. 1. Describe Cowper’s mother.
  2. 2. Describe the picture he received.
  3. 3. Describe the home of his infancy.
  4. 4. Describe the “well-havened isle.”

Children should be taught to look through the entire poem for facts that bear on the topics. When writing, they must not misrepresent these facts nor give others that contradict those in the poem. Where nothing is said, the child may see what he likes. Such exercises tend to make children appreciate good literature, and, when they are reading, to visualize the things to which allusion is made.

Exposition. In Volume IV, beginning on page 14, is the story of Martin Pelaez, the Asturian, which will offer good material for a composition of another kind. The introduction to Cid Campeador, page 9, will give you information you are likely to need to answer questions.

As in the exercise just given, begin to read and make such explanatory comments as are needed to show clearly the character of Martin. You will, of course, need to make the story lucid to the children. Show that—

a. Pelaez was a Spanish grandee of great strength and noble form.

b. He was a coward at heart.

c. Twice he ran from the enemy and avoided battle.

d. Both times he was asked by the Cid to sit with him at the table, and not with the noblest knights.

[369]e. The first time Martin thought it an honor to himself; the second time, he saw it to be a grave reproof.

f. Thereafter he fought nobly, was seated with the great knights, and became one of the Cid’s most favored friends.

When these points have been fixed in mind, proceed to develop an outline for the composition. It may be something like this:

a. The character of Martin as we first meet him in the story, with instances to prove the nature of it.

b. His character after he was changed by the Cid, with evidences to show it. Exemplified:

1. He was a coward. We know it from—

(a) His flight during the first battle.

(b) His retreat during the second battle.

(c) The fact that he was large, strong and well versed in arms yet would not fight.

(d) The fact that he hoped to escape the notice of the Cid.

2. He was teachable. We know it because he needed but two lessons.

3. He was brave. We know it from his conduct in battle.

4. He had many noble characteristics. We know it because be became the trusted friend of the Cid.

Put into the form of a composition, we might expect something like this:

“Martin Pelaez, when we first knew him, was an arrant coward, for though strong, well-formed and versed in the use of arms, he more than once fled before the enemy. He had other traits of a [370]coward, as we may know from his actions in hiding in his tent and hoping to escape the eye of his master and unfairly gain the reputation of a brave knight.

“Later, however, under the wise treatment of the Cid he was made ashamed of his cowardice, conquered it and became a courageous warrior. In fact, he was one of the bravest and most powerful knights in the army of the Cid.

“More than that, Martin Pelaez developed all the traits of a gentleman. He became a good keeper of secrets, was wise in counsel and brave in action.”

The foregoing is a good example of exposition, the third of the four forms of prose composition.

Argument. The Boston Massacre by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Volume IV, page 217) offers several good questions for debate. We may select the decision of the judges (page 223) as the one furnishing the best opportunity. Hawthorne says, “The judges told the jury that the insults and violence which had been offered to the soldiers justified them in firing at the mob.”

To bring the question into a form for debate we might write it, “Were the judges right in their decision?” This leaves the question evenly balanced, with no prejudice against either side. It might be put more formally: “Resolved. That the judges were right in their decision.” The effect of stating the question in the latter form is to throw the “burden of proof” on the negative. In other words, if the question is in the latter form and the arguments are equally balanced, the decision would have to be that the judges were right.

[371]Having determined the form of the question, the children may be separated into two groups, as nearly as possible equal in ability, and one group may be appointed to take the side of the judges and one the side of the soldiers.

Having arranged the preliminaries, converse with the children freely, bringing out points equally in favor of both sides. Avoid any appearance of favoritism. If one side is manifestly stronger than the other, however, you may put them on a level by showing a few arguments to the weaker side. Do this openly, so that all may understand your action.

Encourage the children to study both sides of the question and to be fair-minded. In fact, the ordinary debate where children are appointed to argue upon a certain side of the question does not bring into play the same good methods of thought and judgment as the free debate, in which each child studies both sides of the question, determines which side he thinks the right one, and then argues for that side.

In this question urge the children to study the subject in their histories or in any reference books that may be handy. Help them to get at the truth of the matter. Hawthorne may show prejudice. Does he? We may feel a bias in favor of one side or the other. Do we? Then to the extent of that bias we are liable to be unfair and to fail in making a sound argument.

After the children have read what they can find on the subject, ask them to arrange their arguments in parallel columns, for and against the judges. Something like the following may appear:


1. The Americans were the subjects of the English, and subjects should be loyal. 1. The English had oppressed the colonists by unjust taxes and in other ways (mention them) until the time for loyalty had ceased.
2. The colonists were not an organized body, acting legally. They were a wild mob, and mobs must be quelled or lives and property cannot be protected. 2. If these colonists were a mob they were justified in their acts. It was an insult and worse to quarter troops upon them and they naturally resented it. They had had no time to organize and make laws. They had to act at once.
3. The mob was composed of wild young men, and most of the colonists did not approve of their acts. 3. It is always the young men who lead. In most great movements it has been the young men who were right.
4. The mob called the soldiers “lobster-backs,” “red-coats,” and other insulting names before the soldiers spoke. 4. The soldiers forgot their discipline and called the colonists “rebel rascals” and threatened to use bayonets.
5. The mob crowded the soldiers off the sidewalk, threw snow and lumps of ice at [373]them. The young men dared the soldiers to fire, threatened to drive them to their barracks and to beat them down.   5. The soldiers should have kept to their barracks, but they paraded the streets and pricked the townspeople with their bayonets.
6. Captain Preston was acting under orders, and he warned the colonists that he would preserve order at any risk. 6. Captain Preston was unwise, irritating, overbearing, and by his attitude provoked the colonists beyond human endurance.
7. The firing was a mistake. It was not by Captain Preston’s orders. 7. Captain Preston ordered his men to fire on the colonists.
8. The first shot was fired by a masked man who appeared on the balcony of a house and fired at the soldiers. 8. A British sympathizer in a mask fired into the crowd of unarmed colonists.
9. The British soldiers were soon withdrawn and everything done to make the colonists feel right about the affair. This showed that the British were still very friendly to the colonists, and desired their good will. 9. By withdrawing the troops the British confessed that they were in the wrong.
10. Judges who were supposed to be honorable men heard all the evidence and would not be liable to make any mistake. 10. The judges were British appointees, not in sympathy with the colonists and too much prejudiced to be able to decide fairly.
11. The judges were so thoroughly convinced that the soldiers were not guilty that they told the jury what verdict to give. 11. The judges knew they were wrong and were afraid to leave the question to the jury.

The “points” given above show some of the really minor debatable topics that arise under the larger question. They show, too, how differently the same incidents may appear to different eyes. Perhaps some of the “points” are stated unfairly, to give strength to the argument. Bare assertions are not proofs and some of the “points” are nothing but assertions. Opinions are not arguments. Some of the statements would need to bolstered up by facts and “authorities” before they could be accepted as real arguments.

Most debates are oral, but, for our purpose, they are to be considered as written language lessons. Hence, when the arguments are marshalled as above, the child should select the side he feels to be right and compose his argument in proper form. Teach him to see the three parts to his argument, namely, the introduction, the body of his argument, and the conclusion. Tell him to make his style personal, clear, concise, logical, strong, persuasive and convincing. Show him what each characteristic in the above list means.

For example, the argument for the judges made from the assertions given above might be stated as follows:

[375]Introduction. “That the judges were right when they pronounced Captain Preston and the eight British soldiers not guilty of murder when they fired on the colonial mob in what is incorrectly called the ‘Boston Massacre’ will be proved in this argument.”

Body of the Argument. “The citizens of Boston were English subjects who had been fostered by the mother country. Since the settlement at Plymouth in 1620 no other nation had claimed or exercised any control over them, and I maintain that loyalty to his country is one of the highest duties of every citizen.” (It is not advisable to write here the “body” of the argument. It would naturally be continued step by step till the eleven “points” given above had been exhausted. If those “points” had been brought up in the general conversation lesson every child would be expected to add others that he had found by his own study. Liberty of omission, arrangement and addition should always be allowed. Originality is always at a premium.)

Conclusion. “I have now presented to you the reasons for my belief. I have shown you conclusively that the colonists were British subjects and owed unquestioning loyalty to their country; that——[Here recapitulate briefly but forcibly the arguments, so as to present them convincingly and at one time.] In view of all these facts I maintain that I have shown that the judges did not err when they pronounced Captain Preston and the eight soldiers not guilty of murder.”

Of course, the form of the introduction and conclusion may vary from that given here. Each child [376]should be allowed the greatest freedom of expression consistent with the facts that there must be an introduction that states the question fairly and clearly, and a conclusion that shows how much the contentions have been proved.

Conclusion. While narration, description, exposition and argument are the four forms of prose composition, we do not find frequently that selections are exclusively one or another. Nearly every story contains description, and exposition is not infrequent; expositions often contain description and narration, and arguments are often based upon narration and exposition. Excellent language lessons may be given by examining masterpieces to see what forms of composition they represent or which form predominates.

Thus, in An Exciting Canoe Race (Volume VII, page 79), an extract from Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans, may be found several forms of composition:

1. The story as a whole is narration.

2. On page 81 is this passage in exposition: “That’s a trail that nothing but a nose can follow; grass is a treacherous carpet for a flying party to tread on, but wood and stone take no print from a moccasin. Had you worn your armed boots, there might indeed have been something to fear; but with the deerskin suitably prepared, a man may trust himself, generally, on rocks with safety. Shove in the canoe higher to the land, Uncas; this sand will take a stamp as easily as the butter of the Jarmans on the Mohawk. Softly, lad, softly; it must not touch the beach, or the knaves will know by what road we have left the place.[377]

3. On page 86 is this descriptive passage: “The well-known crack of a rifle, whose ball came skipping along the placid surface of the strait, and a shrill yell from the island interrupted his speech and announced that their passage was discovered. In another instant several savages were seen rushing into the canoes, which were soon dancing over the water in pursuit. These fearful precursors of a coming struggle produced no change in the countenances and movements of his three guides, so far as Duncan could discover, except that the strokes of their paddles were longer and more in unison, and caused the little bark to spring forward like a creature possessing life and volition.”

It will be observed that the paragraph just quoted is not purely descriptive, but that it contains something of narration as well. A single sentence of pure description is the following, to be found on page 88: “So rapid was the progress of the light vessels that the lake curled in their front in miniature waves and their motion became undulating by its own velocity.”

The following, from page 90, is a brief argument in conversational form, the elementary form of debate:

“Get you then into the bottom of the canoe, you and the colonel; it will be so much taken from the size of the mark.”

“It would be but an ill example for the highest in rank to dodge, while the warriors were under fire!”

“Lord! Lord! that is now a white man’s courage! And, like too many of his notions, not to be maintained by reason. Do you think the Sagamore or[378] Uncas, or even I, who am a man without a cross, would deliberate about finding a cover in a scrimmage when an open body would do no good? For what have the Frenchers reared up their Quebec, if fighting is always to be done in the clearings?”

“All that you say is very true, my friend; still, our custom must prevent us from doing as you wish.”

Good selections to use for the purposes described and good subjects for compositions are the following from Journeys Through Bookland:

For Narration:

  1. 1. Stories from The Swiss Family Robinson, Volume III, page 99.
  2. 2. The Story of Siegfried, III, 410.
  3. 3. The Death of Hector, IV, 364.
  4. 4. Tom Brown at Rugby, V, 469.
  5. 5. The Recovery of the Hispaniola, VII, 352.
  6. 6. The Adventure of the Windmills, VII, 438.
  7. 7. The Adventure of the Wooden Horse, VII, 467.
  8. 8. The Battle of Ivry, VIII, 76.

For Description:

  1. 1. How the Old Woman Looked. See The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, Volume I, page 35.
  2. 2. The House in the Tree. See Swiss Family Robinson, III, 141.
  3. 3. A Forest Scene. See Pictures of Memory, IV, 128.
  4. 4. Sheridan’s Horse. See Sheridan’s Ride, IV, 223.
  5. 5. Christmas. See The Fir Tree, II, 68, and Christmas in Old Time, VI, 356.
  6. 6. A Scene of My Childhood. See The Old Oaken Bucket, VII, 11.
  7. 7. My Old Kentucky Home. See poem of the same name, VII, 179.

[379]For Exposition:

  1. 1. The Character of the Boy, Tom. See Tom, the Water Baby, Volume II, page 215.
  2. 2. What Kind of a Man was Viking? See The Skeleton in Armor, V, 327.
  3. 3. Exaggeration and Falsehood. See Baron Munchausen, V, 403.
  4. 4. On the construction, meaning, and sentiment in “Home, Sweet Home.” See VI, 221.
  5. 5. The Strength of the Gorilla Compared with that of the Elephant. See A Gorilla Hunt, VII, 247, and Elephant Hunting, VI, 385.
  6. 6. The Wit of the Visitor. See Limestone Broth, VI, 467.
  7. 7. A Character Sketch of Alice and John. See Dream Children. VIII, 335.

For Argument:

  1. 1. Was the Second Traveler in the Right? See The Two Travelers, Volume I, page 109.
  2. 2. Were the Three Men Perfectly Healthy? See We Plan a River Trip, V, 443.
  3. 3. Was the Punishment of the Ancient Mariner Just? See The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, VII, 29.
  4. 4. Was it Sensible for Casabianca to Remain on the Burning Ship? See Casabianca, VIII, 313.
  5. 5. Should Warren Hastings Have Been Convicted? See The Impeachment of Warren Hastings, IX, 32.



Journeys Through Bookland in Its Relation to the School—(Continued)

Nature Study

Nature study to be most valuable must be in reality the study of nature. Its beginnings are in observation and experiment, but there comes a time when the child must go to books for information and enlightenment. The purposes of nature study are to awaken a spirit of inquiry concerning things in the immediate vicinity and thence in wider fields; to develop observation, comparison and reason; to give interests that will charm the possessor through life; to introduce the elements of the natural sciences. Enthusiasts have made the study of nature the basis of all school work, the correlating force in all studies. Such an idea has merit in it, for it is certain that lessons begun in the observation of living things and the phenomena of nature speedily ramify into language, reading, geography, history, and even mathematics.

There is among some an unfortunate tendency to go too much to books for material and to seize too quickly any suggestion that leads in that direction. Yet books are valuable at the proper time and in the proper place. When facts have been learned, they may be made vital by good literary selections; when facts not accessible by observation are needed, [381]they may be obtained through books. On the other hand, literature is full of allusions to natural facts and phenomena and may only be understood by him who knows nature. Both phases of the subject are of vital interest.

Instead of attempting any systematic outline for nature study we will here try to give help on two problems only:

First. How may nature study be broadened by the use of literature?

Second. How may the study of nature help in the appreciation of literature?


In trying to answer the first question we will present first a classified list of selections from Journeys Through Bookland which are closely related to the study of nature and indicate briefly how they may be used.

A. Seven Long Selections.

In the first place, there are long selections in which there are many anecdotes and incidents which are usable in nature study. We will give partial lists of what is to be found therein, but it is well to read the whole selection and choose what is best for the occasion.

1. Tom, the Water Baby (Volume II, page 215). This is one of the most charming stories in the book, especially for young children, though older ones and even people of mature years will enjoy it thoroughly. Tom, a little chimney sweep, after perilous adventures, dies, or rather turns into a newt or eft, a water baby. His exciting life [382]thereafter is in the waters, where he meets many of its strange denizens. The whole story is highly imaginative, humorous, and full of fine lessons, beautifully given. The more important of his adventures, from our point of view, are concerned with the following:

2. Robinson Crusoe (Volume III, page 45). Two chapters only are given from this great story, but the first, dealing with the capture and education of Crusoe’s man Friday, may be worth while to read in connection with studies of savage races. It is not altogether scientific.

3. The Swiss Family Robinson (Volume III, page 99). This famous old story will be charming to children for many generations to come. It is a tale of the wonderful struggle of a family against nature. It may be a fact that it is unreasonable and impossible; that not all the seeming facts are true; that nature never plays so perfectly into the hand of man; that not all the living things mentioned are to be found in one locality. But it is clean, wholesome adventure, and the errors in it [383]will do no harm. Many a good language lesson and many an addition to nature lessons may be drawn from it. The efforts of the family to utilize what they find, though too successful, are worthy of imitation. Some of the more interesting things met by the family are the following:

4. Brute Neighbors (Volume VII, page 260) is an interesting essay by Henry David Thoreau, the most delightful of American naturalist writers. In this essay he chats familiarly about the animals that surround his cottage in the woods, and shows [384]the closeness of his observation as well as the breadth of his general knowledge. It is a nature study in itself as a whole. Besides mention of other animals, he tells interesting anecdotes of the following:

5. The Pond in Winter (Volume VII, page 280). This is another of Thoreau’s charming essays in natural history. It contains a pretty description of the snow and ice covered pond (page 280), an account of fishing through the ice (pages 282-283), and a vivid description of the pickerel (pages 283-284).

6. Winter Animals (Volume VII, page 293) is a third one of Thoreau’s essays. An analysis shows that he tells something of all the following interesting things:

  1. I. Winter routes over lakes, pages 293-294.
  2. II. Sounds by day and night.
  3. a. The melodious note of a hooting owl, page 294.
  4. b. The honking of a goose, page 294.
  5. c. The harsh and tremulous call of a cat-owl, page 294.
  6. d. The whooping of the ice, page 295.
  7. e. The barking of foxes, page 295.
  8. f. The feet of the red squirrel down the sides of the house, page 295.
  9. [385]g. The discordant screams of the jays, page 298.
  10. h. The wiry note of the chickadee, page 298.
  11. i. The whirring wings of the partridges, page 299.
  12. j. The yelping of hounds, and the hunting horn (including fox hunting), pages 300-304.
  13. III. The destructiveness of squirrels and wild mice, pages 296-297.
  14. IV. The hares, pages 304-305.

7. Trees and Ants That Help Each Other (Volume VII, page 306) is a selection from the writings of Thomas Belt. It is an extremely interesting account of some of the curious adaptations of plants and animals to each other, as is indicated sufficiently by the title. An outline of the essay follows:

  1. I. A species of acacia, pages 306-309.
  2. 1. Houses and feeds ants.
  3. a. Houses in thorns.
  4. b. Feeds (1) by glands and (2) by a pear-shaped appendage.
  5. 2. Ants protect trees.
  6. 3. Each seems beneficial to the other.
  7. II. A cecropia, or trumpet tree, pages 309-311.
  8. 1. Houses and feeds ants.
  9. a. Houses in hollow stems.
  10. b. Feeds ants through herds of plant-lice that suck juices of plant and secrete honey.
  11. 2. Ants protect trees.
  12. 3. Apparently beneficial to all.
  13. [386]III. An evergreen shrub.
  14. 1. Houses and (probably) feeds ants.
  15. a. Houses in pouches at base of leaves.
  16. b. Probably feeds ants through the services of scale insects and plant-lice.
  17. 2. Ants protect shrubs.
  18. 3. Probably beneficial to all.
  19. IV. Plants feeding ants, pages 311-312.
  20. 1. Orchids.
  21. 2. Passion flowers.
  22. 3. Dog rose.

B. Classified Selections

The following selections, ranging from nursery rhymes to some of the finest things ever written, may be considered available for the purpose of creating interest in nature study or of adding to a stock of knowledge already acquired. For convenience, they are classified in a general way, according to the subject-matter of which they treat:

  1. I. Flowers and plant life:
  2. a. Nursery rhymes:
  3. (1) Daffy-Down-Dilly Has Come Up to Town, Volume I, page 47.
  4. (2) Mary, Mary Quite Contrary, I, 30.
  5. b. Fables:
  6. (1) The Boy and the Nettle, Volume I, page 65.
  7. (2) The Fox and the Grapes, I, 135.
  8. c. Fairy Tales:
  9. (1) The Tree, Volume I, page 301.
  10. [387](2) The Flax, I, 378.
  11. (3) The Fir Tree, II, 68.
  12. d. Poems:
  13. (1) The Reaper and the Flowers, Volume I, page 410.
  14. (2) John’s Pumpkin, III, 1.
  15. (3) The Potato, II, 467.
  16. (4) The Moss Rose, VI, 98.
  17. (5) The Daffodils, VII, 1.
  18. (6) To the Fringed Gentian, VII, 4.
  19. (7) To a Mountain Daisy, VII, 8.
  20. (8) The Petrified Fern, VII, 77.
  21. e. An interesting essay:
  22. (1) A Bed of Nettles, Volume VIII, page 209.
  23. f. See references to The Swiss Family Robinson and Trees and Ants That Help Each Other, in the earlier part of this section.
  24. II. Birds:
  25. a. Nursery rhymes:
  26. (1) Lady Bird, Lady Bird, Volume I, page 12.
  27. (2) Higgledy, Piggledy, I, 20.
  28. (3) Poor Robin, I, 16.
  29. b. Poems:
  30. (1) Little Birdie, Volume I, page 142.
  31. [388](2) The Brown Thrush, I, page 147.
  32. (3) The English Robin, II, 214.
  33. (4) Who Stole the Bird’s Nest? II, 399.
  34. (5) Four Ducks on a Pond, VI, 98.
  35. (6) The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, VII, 29.
  36. (7) Ode to a Skylark, VII, 275
  37. (8) To a Waterfowl, VII, 395.
  38. (9) The Romance of the Swan’s Nest, VIII, 315.
  39. c. Fables:
  40. (1) The Fox and the Crow, Volume I, page 64.
  41. (2) The Fox and the Stork, I, 73.
  42. (3) The Wolf and the Crane, I, 96.
  43. (4) The Lark and Her Young Ones, I, 131.
  44. (5) The Owl and the Pussy Cat, I, 339.
  45. (6) Minerva and the Owl, II, 7.
  46. d. Fairy Story:
  47. (1) The Ugly Duckling, Volume I, page 414.
  48. e. An Essay:
  49. (1) Owls, IX, page 229.
  50. [389]f. See also references to Tom, the Water Baby, The Swiss Family Robinson, Brute Neighbors, and Winter Animals, in earlier parts of this section.
  51. III. Four-footed animals:
  52. a. Nursery rhymes:
  53. (1) Ding Dong Bell, Volume I, page 15.
  54. (2) Little Bo Peep, I, 9.
  55. (3) Old Mother Hubbard, I, 24.
  56. (4) Three Little Kittens, I, 13.
  57. (5) Baa, Baa, Black Sheep I, 8.
  58. b. Fables:
  59. (1) The Fox and the Crow, Volume I, page 64.
  60. (2) The Ass in the Lion’s Skin, I, 65.
  61. (3) The Fox and the Stork, I, 73.
  62. (4) The Gnat and the Bull, I, 70.
  63. (5) The Lion and the Mouse, I, 75.
  64. (6) The Wolf and the Crane, I, 96.
  65. (7) The Fox and the Grapes, I, 135.
  66. (8) The Bat and the Two Weasels, I, 154.
  67. [390](9) The Owl and the Pussy Cat, I, 339.
  68. (10) The Horse and the Stag, I, 338.
  69. (11) The Fox, the Wolf, and the Horse, I, 377.
  70. (12) The Wolf and the Lamb, I, 455.
  71. c. Poetry:
  72. (1) The Cow, Volume I, page 106.
  73. (2) Mercy to Animals, I, 413.
  74. (3) How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix, V, 335.
  75. (4) To a Mouse, VII, 5.
  76. d. Stories:
  77. (1) A Dog of Flanders, Volume IV, page 93.
  78. (2) The Lion and the Missionary, VI, 93.
  79. (3) Rab and His Friends, VI, 99.
  80. (4) Elephant Hunting, VI, 385.
  81. (5) The Gorilla Hunt, VII, 247.
  82. e. Essays:
  83. (1) Some Clever Monkeys, Volume VI, page 402.
  84. (2) The Buffalo, VII, 96.
  85. f. See, also, references to Tom, the Water Baby, The Swiss Family Robinson, Brute Neighbors, and The Pond in Winter,[391] in the earlier part of this section.
  86. IV. Reptiles:
  87. a. Fable:
  88. (1) The Boys and the Frogs, Volume I, page 63.
  89. b. See, also, references to Tom, the Water Baby, and The Swiss Family Robinson, in the earlier part of this section.
  90. V. Insects:
  91. a. Nursery rhyme:
  92. (1) Little Miss Muffett, Volume I, page 29.
  93. b. Fable:
  94. (1) The Gnat and the Bull, I, 70.
  95. c. Poem:
  96. (1) The Spider and the Fly, III, 19.
  97. d. Essay:
  98. (1) Trees and Ants That Help Each Other, VII, 306.
  99. e. See, also, references to Tom, the Water Baby, in the earlier part of this section.
  100. VI. Denizens of the water:
  101. a. Fish:
  102. (1) Salmon Fishing, Volume VII, page 285.
  103. (2) “Pickerel,” in The Pond in Winter, VII, 280.
  104. [392](3) See, also, “Salmon,” in Tom, the Water Baby, II, 272, 279-283.
  105. b. See numerous references to Tom, the Water Baby, in the earlier part of this section.
  106. VII. Natural Phenomena:
  107. a. Nursery rhymes:
  108. (1) Rainbow in the Morning, Volume I, page 48.
  109. (2) If All the World Were Water, I, 48.
  110. b. Poems:
  111. (1) Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, Volume I, page 44.
  112. (2) The Sun’s Travels, I, 68.
  113. (3) Rain, I, 110.
  114. (4) Autumn Fires, I, 394.
  115. (5) The Wind, I, 440.
  116. (6) The First Snowfall, II 403.
  117. (7) In Time’s Swing, II, 481.
  118. (8) Echo, III, 286.
  119. (9) The Rainbow, VI, 91.
  120. (10) Sweet and Low, VI, 122.
  121. (11) The Cloud, VII, 257.
  122. c. Fable:
  123. (1) The Wind and the Sun, Volume I, page 95.
  124. VIII. Geographical in Nature:
  125. (1) At the Seaside, Volume I, page 129.
  126. [393](2) From a Railway Carriage, I, 198.
  127. (3) Stop, Stop, Pretty Water, I, 317.
  128. (4) Song of the Brook, IV, 60.
  129. (5) A Descent into the Maelstrom, VIII, 95.
  130. (6) Ascent of the Jungfrau, IX, 1.


Aid in answering the second problem may be found in the following paragraph:

A series of interesting studies may be founded on the use which authors make of nature by way of direct and indirect allusion in their works. Such lessons are the opposite of those we have been considering. Now, the literary selection is taken first, read carefully and the allusions noted and classified. It will be noticed that it is not necessary that selections used for this purpose should be new to the pupils. In fact, genuine literature has the merit of being always new, always interesting. No better service can be rendered to a child than to create in him a love for the fine things in literature. Continued, monotonous study of a masterpiece may breed dislike of it, especially if the exercises are dull and formal. But to approach an old favorite from a new direction, to look at it from a new point of view, is to lend it added charms.

A. To illustrate our method, we will use The King of the Golden River (Volume II, page 405).

1. Assignment. The leader assigns the work as follows: “I wish you to read the first section of[394] The King of the Golden River and write in the order of their occurrence, every mention of a living thing or natural object and every allusion to them. Use the words of the story when possible, but be brief. After each put a number, to show the page of the story. Let us see who can find the greatest number and who can make the best paper.”

2. Preparation. If the children work well their lists will be something like this:

  1. a. The valley in the mountains. Page 405.
  2. (1) Snow-covered peaks; cataracts; a crag; river; circular hollows.
  3. (2) Heavy crops; high hay; red apples; blue grapes; rich wine; sweet honey.
  4. (3) Blackbirds; hedgehogs; crickets; cicadas.
  5. (4) Corn.
  6. b. The wet summer. Page 407.
  7. (1) Hay; vines; corn.
  8. c. A nice piece of mutton. Page 408.
  9. d. Must be the wind. Page 408.
  10. e. A black feather some three feet long. Page 409.
  11. f. Like a beaten puppy’s tail. Page 410.
  12. g. Like a mill stream. Page 410.
  13. h. Licking its chops. Page 410.
  14. i. A gust of wind that made the old chimneys totter. Page 411.
  15. j. Quicksilver-like streams. Page 411.
  16. k. Like a straw in the high wind. Page 413.
  17. l. A wreath of ragged cloud, that whirled and rolled away down the valley. Page 415.
  18. m. A gush of rain. Page 415.
  19. n. Howling wind and rushing rain without intermission. Page 415.
  20. [395]o. The room was full of water. Page 416.
  21. p. A misty moonbeam. Page 416.
  22. r. Like a cork. Page 416.
  23. s. The inundation. Pages 416-417.
  24. (1) Trees; crops; cattle swept away.
  25. (2) Red sand and gray mud left in their stead.
  26. (3) Corn swept away.
  27. (4) Breezy letters.
  28. (5) Southwest Wind, Esquire.

3. Recitation. The leader’s part in the recitation is to help the children to classify the things mentioned, to bring out the meaning of the figures of speech, and to see that the allusions are understood.

In writing this fine chapter, Ruskin has mentioned or alluded to the following:

a. Land and water forms: Mountains; valley; snow; peaks; cataracts; river; circular hollow; mill stream; cloud; rain; globe of foam.

b. Animals: Sheep (mutton); bird (feathers); puppy; dog (licking its chops); wolf (howling wind); cattle.

c. Plant life: Crops; hay; apples; grapes; corn; vines; straw; cork; trees.

d. Natural phenomena: A wet summer wind blowing; gushing rain; whirling clouds; misty moonbeam; floating foam; sweeping inundation; breezes (breezy letters).

e. Rock material: Quicksilver; red sand; gray mud.

[396]f. Natural products: Crops; apples; hay; grapes; wine; honey; corn; mutton; cork; cattle.

g. Figures of speech: (In studying figures of speech, make three points in each, viz.: First, the basis of the figure; second, the translation of the figure into literal English; third, the force and beauty of the figure and its effect on the meaning of the sentence. With older children the names of the figures may be given. Illustrations of these directions will follow.)

(1) Like a beaten puppy’s tail. (A beaten puppy drops his tail and drags it weakly behind him. The feather drooped down behind him and dragged limply along. The figure gives a vivid picture of the wet feather, limp and unhandsome. The figure is a comparison in the form of a simile.)

(2) Like a mill stream. (Rushing, roaring, fast and furious.)

(3) Licking its chops. (First, a dog runs out his tongue and licks his lips and the outside of his face [cheeks—chops] when he sees food brought to him. A red flame twists and waves around like the tongue of a dog. We speak of “tongues of flame” and “hungry flames devouring.” Second, long streams of flame waved around and curled about the wood as they[397] burned it. Third, how much more vivid is the picture we see of the beautiful fire. The words “rustling” and “roaring” help to strengthen the figure. This is a fine comparison, but as it is not directly expressed by the use of the words “like” or “as” we call it a metaphor.)

(4) Quicksilver-like streams. (Bright, shining, smoothly running, with metallic luster.)

(5) Like a straw in the high wind. (Rapid, uncertain, irregular motion.)

(6) A wreath of ragged cloud. (Notice the metaphor in wreath—also in ragged.)

(7) Howling wind. (A wolf howls. The figure which raises an inanimate object to the level of animate beings, or raises an animate being [a dog, for instance] to the level of a human being, is called personification.)

(8) Like a cork.

(9) Swept away.

(10) Breezy letters. (The words swept and breezy are somewhat metaphorical, though their frequent use in this manner makes the meaning almost literal.)

(11) Southwest Wind, Esquire. (Personification.)

B. A second lesson may confine itself more closely to the figures of speech. Naturally this study of figures belongs with language and literature, but the point we wish to make is one of [398]correlation. There is a literary side to nature study, and a natural history side to literature. Many of the greatest authors have been ardent lovers of nature, and have drawn liberally on their knowledge of nature in beautifying what they have written. Many a reader, from lack of knowledge or from careless habits, passes over the most delightful things, as blind and deaf as he who sees no beauty in the wild flowers and hears no melody in the songs of birds.

For the second lesson of this character we will take the second and third chapters of The King of the Golden River, hoping to find an abundance of figures based on nature in some of its forms. We may not find many. Some writers use few. We suspect that Ruskin used them freely; as a matter of fact he was one of the greatest lovers of nature, a man who labored hard to bring art and nature together and to find a place for them in the lives of all.

We find in the second chapter the following nature figures:

a. Southwest Wind, Esquire, page 418.

b. His relations, the West Winds, page 418.

c. It looks more like silk, page 419.

d. The hot breath of the furnace, page 420.

e. Bright tongues of fiery cloud burning and quivering about them, page 420.

f. A clear metallic voice, page 420.

g. Like that of a kettle on the boil, page 421.

h. As smooth and polished as a river, page 421.

i. The prismatic colors gleamed over it, as if on a surface of mother-of-pearl, page 422.

[399]j. In order to allow time for the consternation ... to evaporate, page 424.

In the third chapter are the following:

a. Knotty question, page 426.

b. Like a line of forked lightning, page 427.

(This whole paragraph is a wonderfully beautiful description.)

c. Rose like slow smoke, page 427.

d. In feeble wreaths, page 428.

e. Shrieks resembling those of human voices in distress or pain, page 428.

f. None like the ordinary forms of splintered ice, page 428.

g. Deceitful shadows, page 428.

h. Lurid lights played, page 428.

i. Ice yawned into fresh chasms, page 428.

j. Fell thundering across his path, page 429.

k. Rays beat intensely, page 429.

l. Its lips parched and burning, page 430.

m. Long snake-like shadows, page 430.

n. The leaden weight of the dead air pressed upon his brow and heart, page 430.

o. Shaped like a sword, page 431.

p. Like a red-hot ball, page 431.

q. They shook their crests like tongues of fire, page 432.

r. Flashes of bloody light gleamed along their foam, page 432.

s. An icy chill shot through his limbs, page 432.

t. The moaning of the river, page 432.

u. The Black Stone, page 432.



Journeys Through Bookland in Its Relation to the School—(Continued)

Geography and History

The connection between geography and history on the one hand and literature on the other is most intimate. In the first place nearly all our knowledge of history must come through reading, and while we learn our geography most accurately through travel and observation, but a small part of our information comes through those channels. We read incessantly of our own country and others, we fill our minds with visions of plants, animals and the peoples of foreign lands from the facts we gather from the papers, magazines and books. If most of our facts come through reading it is no less true that most of our real interest in geography and history comes not from the facts of our text-books but from the literature we have read, the literature that clothed those facts and made them real and living. Ask yourselves what gave you your first real interest in the history of Scotland and see if your answer is not, “The novels of Scott.” Again, where did you get your first adequate ideas of chivalry and the feudal system if it was not from Ivanhoe or some similar piece of literature? What makes the Crimean War a household word in the homes of two continents if it is not the deeds of[401] Florence Nightingale and Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade? Who can tell most of the Battle of Waterloo, he who has read the facts of history or he who has read Byron’s thrilling poem and the description by Victor Hugo? Who knows the English home as it was? He who reads Goldsmith’s Deserted Village.

Oliver Goldsmith      Matthew Arnold
John Ruskin
Thomas Babington Macaulay      John Bunyan
Thomas De Quincey      Charles Lamb

It is in furnishing those literary masterpieces that give life to geography and inspiration to history that Journeys Through Bookland gives the best of assistance to boys and girls in their school work. Some of its selections will give facts and many of them, but the facts form the smaller part of the contribution. History is valuable only as it enables us to understand the present, thrills us with the accomplishments of the past and teaches us how to live and act in the future. No man is so wrapped up in business that he does not heed the charm of noble deeds and fails to be moved by glorious achievement. Some histories are literature in themselves and have the inspiring quality we crave, but most of them are too dry and scientific to afford much interest to the child. So the greater part of our selections are not from the books that are called real history but from those which appeal to the imagination and stir the soul. Geographical teaching is likewise indirect in Journeys but it is none the less helpful and inspiring. To prove the truth of these statements we have only to present what the books contain and show how the selections may be used.

It does not seem wise to separate the two subjects too widely, for they are closely related and intimately interwoven in almost all reading. There [402]are, it is true, some masterpieces that may be considered purely geographical and others that are as entirely historical, but these will be easily identified. Yet for ease and readiness in locating them we append a list of nearly one hundred selections and classify them in a simple manner:

  1. 1. Largely geographical.
  2. a. Juvenile poems with geographical allusions, or based on geographical facts:
  3. (1) The Suns Travels, Volume I, page 68.
  4. (2) Singing, I, 83.
  5. (3) Foreign Lands, I, 130.
  6. (4) At the Seaside, I, 129.
  7. (5) Old Gaelic Lullaby, I, 203.
  8. (6) Where Go the Boats? I, 256.
  9. (7) Foreign Children, I, 351.
  10. (8) Keepsake Mill, I, 349.
  11. (9) Windy Nights, II, 123.
  12. (10) Picture Books in Winter, II, 87.
  13. (11) The Child’s World, II, 66.
  14. b. Stories and poems that describe places or people in Europe and some of their customs and modes of life:
  15. (1) The Tree, Volume I, page 301.
  16. (2) The Snow Maiden, I, 257.
  17. (3) The Snow Queen, II, 124.
  18. (4) The Skeleton in Armor, V, 327.
  19. (5) Rab and His Friends, VI, 99.
  20. (6) The Governor and the Notary, VII, 20.
  21. (7) Don Quixote, VII, 431.
  22. (8) The Alhambra, VIII, 153.
  23. (9) Ascent of the Jungfrau, IX, 1.
  24. (10) The Cotters Saturday Night, VIII, 319.
  25. [403]c. Fanciful legends with geographical interests:
  26. (1) Why the Sea Is Salt, Volume II, page 484.
  27. (2) Origin of the Opal, II, 480.
  28. d. A Story from Japan.
  29. (1) The Mirror of Matsuyana, Volume II, page 36.
  30. e. A story of longitude:
  31. (1) Three Sundays in a Week, Volume VI, page 453.
  32. f. Plants or plant life:
  33. (1) The Potato, Volume II, page 467.
  34. (2) Trees and Ants That Help Each Other, VII, 306.
  35. (3) A Bed of Nettles, VIII, 209.
  36. g. Animal life:
  37. (1) Salmon Fishing, VII, 285.
  38. (2) Winter Animals, VII, 293.
  39. (3) Trees and Ants That Help Each Other, VII, 306.
  40. (4) Owls, IX, 229.
  41. (5) Elephant Hunting, VI, 385.
  42. (6) Some Clever Monkeys, VI, 402,
  43. (7) The Buffalo, VII, 96.
  44. (8) A Gorilla Hunt, VII, 247.
  45. (9) Brute Neighbors, VII, 260.
  46. (10) The Pond in Winter, VII, 280.
  47. h. Natural phenomena:
  48. (1) The Cloud, Volume VII, page 257.
  49. 2. Indians and their habits. The selections are either historical or geographical or both.
  50. a. The Arickara Indians. (A description of the habits and customs of one of the[404] western tribes.) Volume IV, page 472.
  51. b. Reminiscences of a Pioneer. (This contains a few interesting anecdotes of Indians and many incidents of pioneer life.) Volume V, page 340.
  52. c. Black Hawk Tragedy. (A very interesting biographical and historical sketch.) Volume VII, page 58.
  53. d. An Exciting Canoe Race. (A story of the New York Indians at an early day.) Volume VII, page 79.
  54. e. David Crockett in the Creek War. (An interesting account of southern Indians and their wars.) Volume VIII, page 37.
  55. 3. Biography. The selections in this group consist of anecdotal sketches, brief biographies, extracts from longer works, and a few poems.
  56. a. Authors of the United States and of foreign countries:
  57. (1) Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume I, page 128.
  58. (2) Eugene Field, I, 242.
  59. (3) Hans Christian Andersen, II, 81.
  60. (4) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, IV, 62.
  61. (5) Alice and Phoebe Cary, IV, 116.
  62. (6) Nathaniel Hawthorne, IV, 180.
  63. (7) Sir Walter Scott, VI, 26.
  64. (8) John Greenleaf Whittier, VII, 381.
  65. (9) William Cullen Bryant, VII, 391.
  66. (10) Oliver Wendell Holmes, VII, 398.
  67. (11) James Russell Lowell, VII, 411.
  68. [405](12) Washington Irving, VIII, 216.
  69. (13) Charles and Mary Lamb, VIII, 328.
  70. b. Biblical Characters:
  71. (1) The Story of Joseph, Volume I, page 456.
  72. (2) The Story of Esther, II, 448.
  73. (3) David, IV, 274.
  74. (4) Ruth, VI, 143.
  75. c. The author of many fables:
  76. (1) Aesop, Volume II, page 1.
  77. d. English history:
  78. (1) Alfred the Great, Volume IV, 260.
  79. (2) Queen Victoria, VII, 152.
  80. (3) Florence Nightingale, IX, 13.
  81. e. American history:
  82. (1) George Rogers Clark, Volume VI, page 422.
  83. (2) David Crockett in the Creek War, VIII, 37.
  84. (3) Père Marquette, VIII, 121.
  85. (4) Abraham Lincoln, IX, 324.
  86. f. Roman history:
  87. (1) Julius Cæsar, Volume IX, page 126.
  88. 4. Myths from several sources:
  89. a. Grecian and Roman:
  90. (1) Atalanta’s Race, Volume I, page 386.
  91. (2) Baucis and Philemon, I, 431.
  92. (3) The Golden Touch, II, 43.
  93. (4) The Chimera, II, 173.
  94. (5) The Story of Phaethon, II, 206.
  95. (6) The Queen of the Underworld, II, 468.
  96. (7) Cupid and Psyche, III, 365.
  97. b. Northern Europe:
  98. (1) How the Wolf was Bound, II, 91.
  99. [406](2) The Death of Balder, II, 99.
  100. (3) The Punishment of Loki, II, 111.
  101. (4) Beowulf and Grendel, III, 350.
  102. c. Miscellaneous:
  103. (1) Stories of the Creation, Volume IV, page 159.
  104. 5. Legendary heroes. The following selections give vivid ideas of the great national heroes whose reputed deeds have been an inspiration to hosts of children in many lands:
  105. a. Scandinavian:
  106. (1) Frithiof the Bold, Volume III, page 394.
  107. b. German:
  108. (1) The Story of Siegfried, Volume III, page 410.
  109. c. English:
  110. (1) Robin Hood, Volume III, page 436.
  111. (2) King Arthur, V, 113.
  112. (3) Balin and Balan, V, 130.
  113. (4) Geraint and Enid, V, 148.
  114. (5) The Holy Grail, V, 207.
  115. (6) Dissensions at King Arthur’s Court, V, 232.
  116. (7) The Passing of Arthur, V, 237.
  117. d. French:
  118. (1) Roland at Roncesvalles, Volume III, page 460.
  119. e. Spanish:
  120. (1) The Cid, Volume IV, page 9.
  121. f. Greek:
  122. (1) The Death of Hector, Volume IV, page 364.
  123. (2) Ulysses, IV, 398.
  124. [407]g. Roman:
  125. (1) Horatius, Volume VI, page 1.
  126. 6. Historical tales, poems, and selections of different kinds and varying degrees of difficulty:
  127. a. Northern Europe:
  128. (1) Holger Danske, Volume II, page 377.
  129. (2) Make Way for Liberty, VII, 172.
  130. (3) Marco Bozzaris, VIII, 90.
  131. b. France and Napoleon:
  132. (1) Incident of the French Camp, Volume IV, page 174.
  133. (2) Battle of Ivry, VIII, 76.
  134. (3) Hervé Riel, VIII, 168.
  135. (4) The Battle of Waterloo, VIII, 176.
  136. (5) The Battle of Cressy, IX, 161.
  137. c. Classic lands:
  138. (1) The Wooden Horse, Volume IV, page 383.
  139. (2) The Battle of Thermopylae, VIII, 81.
  140. (3) The Death of Caesar, IX, 126.
  141. (4) The Death of Caesar, IX, 143.
  142. (5) Julius Caesar, IX, 155.
  143. d. British Isles:
  144. (1) Chevy Chase, Volume IV, page 312.
  145. (2) The Ballad of Agincourt, V, 95.
  146. (3) Some Children’s Books of the Past, V, 101.
  147. (4) The Rise of Robert Bruce, V, 278.
  148. (5) Bruce and the Spider, V, 314.
  149. (6) The Heart of Bruce, V, 316.
  150. (7) The Tournament, VI, 38.
  151. (8) Bannockburn, VII, 15.
  152. [408](9) The Charge of the Light Brigade, VII, 147.
  153. (10) The Recessional, VII, 164.
  154. (11) The Battle of Trafalgar, VIII, 284.
  155. (12) Casabianca, VIII, 313.
  156. (13) The Impeachment of Warren Hastings, IX, 32.
  157. (14) The Battle of Cressy, IX, 161.
  158. (15) The Battle of Hastings, IX, 330.
  159. e. United States:
  160. (1) The Pine Tree Shillings, Volume IV, page 192.
  161. (2) The Sunken Treasure, IV, 199.
  162. (3) The Hutchinson Mob, IV, 208.
  163. (4) The Boston Massacre, IV, 217.
  164. (5) The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in New England, IV, 197.
  165. (6) Sheridan’s Ride, IV, 223.
  166. (7) Henry Hudson’s Fourth Voyage, V, 254.
  167. (8) Reminiscences of a Pioneer, V, 340.
  168. (9) Braddock’s Defeat, V, 379.
  169. (10) The American Flag, V, 396.
  170. (11) Stonewall Jackson’s Way, V, 400.
  171. (12) The Capture of Vincennes, VI, 428.
  172. (13) The Old Continentals, VII, 175.
  173. (14) America, VIII, 60.
  174. (15) The Fall of the Alamo, VIII, 141.
  175. (16) The Knickerbocker History of New York, VIII, 224.
  176. (17) The Battle of Saratoga, IX, 176.
  177. (18) The Gettysburg Address, IX, 321.
  178. f. America, outside of the United States:
  179. (1) The Buccaneers, Volume V, page 359.
  180. [409](2) Captain Morgan at Maracaibo, V, 365.
  181. (3) Ringrose and His Buccaneers, VIII, 1.
  182. (4) The Retreat of Cortez, VIII, 63.

The object of teaching geography and history is not solely that children may acquire a collection of facts. Too often the lessons in these branches consist merely in memorizing text books, in learning long descriptions, in the study of meaningless maps and in the listing of political and military events in chronological order. The value of such work is comparatively small, and the studies cannot be considered profitable. If, however, children are taught to know and understand people, their habits and modes of life; if they learn geographical facts in their relation to humanity, to study events in the relation of cause to effect, to seek for truth and the meaning of things, then nothing is more productive of good than the teaching of geography and history.

If we accept as true the foregoing statements, then methods of teaching the subjects become clear as we think of them. It is evident that early lessons should be designed to create interest:

(1) In the world of things immediately around us; in the land and what grows and lives upon it; in the water, its relation to the land, its motions, and the life that it contains; in the air, its phenomena and its denizens; in human beings, their feelings and all their activities.

(2) In the great earth as a whole and its parts; in foreign animals and plants; in humanity in other lands.

It appears that so broad an outline as the one just given can never be filled in, that the study [410]of geography and history, the study of the world and its peoples, can never be completed. If such is the case, it follows that the teacher who creates the most vital interest in the subject, who leaves with her pupils the most ardent desire to study and know, has been of greatest service to them.

Now, the great interests of life have their inception in early years when the mind is active, curiosity strong, and instruction accepted without question. Then should be created that abiding interest which will make good students of geography and history, good citizens, good men and women. If too many formal lessons are given them, and pupils are set to work at dreary tasks and are asked to memorize dry facts, it is probable that they will never become good students. How, then, shall an abiding interest be created?

The entrance to the field of geography is through nature study, which is discussed elsewhere under that title. For the first two years of a child’s school life he will hear nothing of geography, and even in the third year there will be little formal reference to it, but all the time he is quietly mastering facts and developing interests that are geographical in their character.

When systematic lessons begin, there should be presented only real facts and genuine things, that bear some close and direct relation to ourselves and that should be matters of personal observation, as far as possible. Day and night in summer and winter, the seasons, the weather, wind, rain, snow, sleet, foods, clothing, the occupations of the neighborhood, the brooks and bodies of water about the school, hills, valleys, plains, plants and animals of [411]the locality, each in turn serves its purpose. We cannot here show how these various subjects should be treated, but to illustrate the use of literature in elementary geography lessons we will present an outline on a single subject. New possibilities will be seen in every direction if frequent use of the list given above is made in finding suitable selections.

If we choose the wind as the subject of our model lesson, we may be sure to cover several recitations that will lead us into reading, nature study and language (oral and written). It is a subject that encourages wide correlation. The outline might be the following:

  1. 1. Purpose of the Lesson. To teach the following facts:
  2. a. That air occupies space.
  3. b. That wind is air in motion and has force.
  4. c. The directions and names of winds.
  5. d. The uses of winds.
  6. 2. Experiments and Observation.
  7. a. Take an empty bottle and thrust it squarely, mouth down, into water. Does the water rise in the bottle? (Only a little way.) Why? (It can’t get in. There is air in the bottle.)
  8. b. Raise the bottle slowly and tip it slightly so that a part of the mouth is above the water, then push it horizontally into the water. Does the water go into the bottle now? (Yes.) Why? (Because there is no air there to keep it out.) How do you know? (I saw the air coming out in bubbles.) Why didn’t the air come out when we pushed the bottle down the first time? (The[412] water was too heavy; it held the air in.)
  9. c. Hold your hand close in front of your mouth and blow. Can you feel anything? (Yes; the air strikes my hand.) When you are out in the wind can you feel it? (Yes; it pushes against me.) Can it push hard? (Yes; sometimes it pushes over trees and houses.) What is the wind? (It is air moving.)
  10. d. Is the wind blowing today? Did it blow yesterday? From what direction is it (was it) blowing? How do you know? (I saw trees bending away from it. I felt it pushing from that side. It came in at that window. The vane on the church steeple pointed that way.)
  11. e. When a wind comes from the South, what do we call it? (South wind.) When a wind blows from the North what do we call it? (North wind.) What wind brings cold weather? (North.) What wind brings warm weather? (South.) What wind brings long spells of rainy weather? (East.) What wind brings showers and thunderstorms? (South and West.) What winds prevail in summer? (South and West.) What winds prevail in winter? (North.)
  12. f. What work have you seen the wind do? (Turn windmills; sail boats.) Have you seen it do any work for us here? (Yes; it drives the clouds that bring us rain. It drives away stormy clouds.) Can’t you think of something else? (It scatters seeds[413] of plants. It shakes nuts from trees. It helps melt snow and ice. It keeps the air clean and pure.)
  13. 3. Literature.
  14. a. As an introduction to the lesson or in preparation, give the first two stanzas of that beautiful poem by W. B. Rands, The Child’s World (Volume II, page 66).
  15. b. In considering the strength of the wind, there is a fine opportunity to introduce the fable The Wind and the Sun (Volume I, page 95).
  16. c. Robert Louis Stevenson’s verses, Windy Nights (Volume II, page 123), are entertaining and give an opportunity for nice explanation.
  17. d. In the same light as the preceding selection may be regarded the imaginative verses by the same author, The Wind (Volume I, page 440).
  18. e. In The King of the Golden River (Volume II) is a humorous personification of the southwest wind. It is strikingly true of the nature of that wind. The description begins on page 408, and a second appearance of the wind is chronicled on page 415.
  19. f. Finest of all the selections for this topic is Tennyson’s exquisite lullaby, Sweet and Low (Volume VI, page 122). This is well worth memorizing.

If we wish a model for a history lesson, the following will answer:

One of the interesting characters in history is[414] King Alfred of England, and in the sketch of him (Volume IV, page 260) are facts enough for several elementary lessons in history. The outline for teaching might be as follows:

  1. 1. Preparation.
  2. a. Read the article above referred to, and such other material concerning Alfred as can be found.
  3. b. Select two incidents for story telling and prepare them for recital. (See articles on Story Telling in this Volume.)
  4. 2. Presentation.
  5. a. Tell the first story (page 260). It might be given in this form:

“More than a thousand years ago, Alfred, the youngest of the four sons of the king, was born. He was a fine lad and the favorite of his parents, but when he was twelve years of age he had not yet learned to read. This is not so strange, when we stop to think that it was long before people knew anything about printing, and every letter in every book had to be slowly made with a pen.

“This made books very expensive and rare, so that only a few people could own even one. Still, you have no idea how beautiful some of those books were. They were written on thin, fine-grained leather called parchment, and were beautifully decorated in colors. The capital letters which began paragraphs, and sometimes all the capital letters, were made large, in fanciful shapes, and all around them were painted flowers, birds, human beings, or pretty designs, so that each letter was a beautiful picture in itself. Then in the margins, [415]above the titles, at every place where there was no writing were still other delicate designs. Some of those wonderful old books are still in existence, and people go long distances to see them. They are more valuable now than ever, and most of them are safely guarded in museums.

“One day Alfred’s mother was reading to her children, from one of those beautiful books, some fine poems which the Saxons had written. The boys all became very much interested in the rich little paintings that decorated it. The mother pointed out its beauties and told the boys how carefully the artists had worked and how long it had taken them to do it.

“‘Did you ever see its equal?’ she asked.

“‘No,’ replied the oldest boy, ‘I have not seen anything like it. I wish I had one like it.’

“‘Boys,’ said the mother, ‘this is one of the greatest treasures I have, and I would not like to part with it. Yet I love my boys better than the book, and I want them to learn to read. So this is what I will gladly do: I will give this book to the first of you who comes to me and shows that he can read it understandingly.’

“‘It is my book, for I can read some already,’ said the oldest.

“‘But I can work harder than you, and I will learn faster,’ said the second.

“‘I learn more easily than any of you,’ the third boy added. ‘I feel sure I shall win the book.’

“Alfred said nothing, but as soon as his mother had ceased to read he hurried away, found a wise man to teach him and began immediately to work with great diligence. It was not long before he [416]began to read for himself, and before his brothers had made much progress Alfred went to his mother.

“‘I think I can read the book,’ he said.

“‘I do not think you have had time to learn. You are hurrying too much. You should study more,’ his mother replied.

“‘But, mother, please let me try,’ pleaded Alfred.

“The mother yielded and Alfred brought the big book to her and laid it on her knee. Then he opened it at the beginning and with very few mistakes read poem after poem. His mother was more than satisfied, and when Alfred left the room he was hugging the elegant book and carrying it to his part of the castle.

“This was only the beginning, for Alfred became the greatest scholar and the wisest king the Saxons ever had. He made just laws, he ruled kindly, he founded schools, and he tried in every way to make his subjects better, wiser and happier. Do you not think it all began in his love for the beautiful look?”

3. Recitation.

Ask questions and make the children see in the story:

a. (The Introduction.) The first general facts about Alfred.

b. (The Body of the Narrative.) The story of how Alfred learned to read.

c. (The Conclusion.) Alfred wins the prize and becomes a great ruler.

Then ask them to tell the story in their own words.

[417]Finally ask them to write the story for a composition.

4. Additional Information. Find out what other things about Alfred are already known to the class. Then tell the story of Alfred and the cakes (page 261); of his battles with the Danes under Guthrum (page 262); of his war with the Danes under Hastings (page 263); of his work for his people (page 264); and of his plans and inventions (page 265).

5. Supplementary Readings. If the lessons on Alfred have been well conducted, interest will have been created in a variety of subjects relating to early English history. The Saxons, their mode of life, armor, weapons, manner of warfare, laws and customs; the Danes and their characteristics; the rulers who followed Alfred; the formation of the English nation, are topics that readily suggest themselves.

More or less closely connected with these lines of thought are the following selections in Journeys Through Bookland. Interest may be deflected in any direction. If the selections are too hard for the class to read, tell the stories in simplified form:

It will be noticed that while this outline is given for use with young children, it easily may be adapted to the use of older ones and may lead into a wide course in historical reading.

The textbook in history is necessarily brief and really little more than an outline of events. In many instances the book gives too much space to battles, sieges and military movements and too little to the conditions of life, to manners, customs and causes and effects of events. Yet the textbook is a valuable guide and enables anyone to present the subject logically and to systematize what is learned, if nothing more.

What a wide range of subjects is covered in the study of history! What abundance of material for study is required! Dates must be learned and events arranged chronologically; maps must be studied, fixed in mind and made of real value by a comprehension of the things they are supposed to represent; military events must be understood in relation to the causes that lead to them and the results that follow. Some few battles or campaigns must be made vivid enough to give an idea of the [419]expense, the labor, the suffering and the horrors involved in war; government, educational and religious institutions, religious and social customs and financial methods must be studied; industries and amusements, the lives of the people, food and food supplies, the production of clothing and building material must be examined; in fact, each one of the multiform interests of humanity may be a fair topic for study at some time in the history class.

Methods of instruction must be as varied as the subject-matter. Sometimes drill is necessary to fix facts; again it is necessary to encourage the observation and study of persons, things and events about us; a third time, wide research and extensive reading are demanded; again, the feelings must be aroused, sentiment and enthusiasm encouraged, patriotism taught.

There is material for many of these exercises in Journeys Through Bookland.

As a type of study for the military campaign, we might take Burgoyne’s campaign in the Revolution. From the textbook we may learn certain facts and encourage the pupils to group them as follows:

Burgoyne’s Campaign.

  1. 1. Conditions prior thereto:
  2. a. The British occupied only New York and Newport.
  3. b. They understood the natural highway that existed along Lake Champlain and the Hudson River from the Saint Lawrence River to New York.
  4. c. They resolved to establish a line of military posts along this highway.
  5. [420]2. Plan of Campaign:
  6. a. General Burgoyne was sent to Canada with 4,000 British regulars and 3,000 Hessians.
  7. b. Canadians and Indians to the number of 1,000 joined the troops under Burgoyne.
  8. c. St. Leger was sent to Oswego to descend the Mohawk, capture Fort Stanwix and join Burgoyne.
  9. d. Burgoyne was to go through Richelieu River and Lake Champlain by boats; thence march to New York by land.
  10. 3. American Troops in Opposition:
  11. a. General St. Clair with 3,000 men at Ticonderoga.
  12. b. General Schuyler with about 3,000 men on the Hudson.
  13. 4. Burgoyne’s Advance:
  14. a. The trip to Ticonderoga made and the Americans dislodged from the fort.
  15. b. The skirmish at Hubbardton was successful, but the Americans were not captured, and the delay to Burgoyne enabled St. Clair to join Schuyler.
  16. c. The march to the Hudson was full of difficulties and discouragements:
  17. (1) Obstructed roads; destroyed bridges.
  18. (2) Inadequate supplies.
  19. (3) Deserting Indians.
  20. (4) Leaving a third of his troops at Ticonderoga.
  21. d. The Expedition against Bennington:
  22. (1) Colonel Baum sent to take supplies from the Americans there.
  23. [421](2) Met General Stark with a force outnumbering him two or three to one.
  24. (3) Rain delayed battle, and British entrenched.
  25. (4) Baum surrounded; his force captured or killed, including a relief party under Riedesel.
  26. e. St. Leger’s Campaign.
  27. (1) Unsuccessful battle at Oriskany.
  28. (2) St. Leger retreated and disappeared from the region after a flight induced by a ruse invented by Benedict Arnold.
  29. 5. Burgoyne’s Surrender.
  30. a. He attempted to cut his way through the lines of the American troops which surrounded him.
  31. b. Crossed the Hudson and met the Americans at Bemis Heights; defeated.
  32. c. Defeated at Freeman’s Farm.
  33. d. Surrendered October 17, 1777.
  34. 6. Effects of the Surrender.
  35. a. Gave the Americans many arms and munitions of war.
  36. b. Gave the Americans greater confidence in themselves and their cause.
  37. c. Caused great discouragement to the British, both at home and in the colonies.
  38. d. Established the prestige of the American cause in Europe.
  39. e. Secured the assistance of France.
  40. f. Probably was the most influential single campaign in the war and largely instrumental in enabling the colonists to win.

[422]The preceding outline is the framework for the study of one military campaign. In a school it would be the basis for topical recitations, but in itself it has neither interest nor vitality. The main points should be memorized so that facts learned subsequently may be logically arranged. When the general outline is mastered, teachers and pupils begin to fill in details from all available sources and create in the minds of the pupils vivid pictures of the scenes, a thorough understanding of the course of events, and a lively realization of the effect of this remarkable episode of a great war. At home it may be used in a similar manner.

To further assist in this instance and to furnish a type or model for succeeding studies, we will traverse the outline again, showing what may be done with it and how literature may lend its aid to the study of history. In Journeys Through Bookland we have a long extract from The Battle of Saratoga by Creasy (Volume IX, page 176). This will be the source of much of our information, and there are explanatory footnotes of considerable value. We reproduce here only the indices of the original outline:

1. a, b and c. A good outline map of the colonies is necessary. It must show the location of bodies of water, natural thoroughfares, cities and forts. The map should be made for the purpose and contain no details beyond those necessary for an understanding of this campaign. A second map showing a strip of country from the Saint Lawrence to New York and wide enough to include all the operations of the armies should contain more detail and be used frequently as the study proceeds.[423] It may be well for each child to draw this region in outline and fill in the details as his study proceeds. Read page 177, Volume IX.

2. a, b, c and d. Read pages 180-182, Volume IX.

3. a and b. Pages 182-183, Volume IX.

4. a and b. Pages 181-182, Volume IX. The quotation from Burke, Volume IX, pages 183 and 184, and the following paragraph are interesting accounts of the feeling in England and America over the apparent successes of Burgoyne.

c. The causes of the increased efficiency of the Americans and the bitterness with which the British were regarded by the colonists is explained on pages 184 and 185 of Volume IX.

Something of the nature of the Indian allies may be gained from the story, An Exciting Canoe Race (Volume VII, page 79).

A stirring poem, to be read in this connection, is The Old Continentals (Volume VII, page 175).

5. a, b, c and d. The final days of the campaign and the surrender are described on pages 193-200, Volume IX. In using this, bring out the following points not made in the original outline:

The near approach of Clinton and the message from him. What must Burgoyne have felt when he received the message! Put human interest into the tale.

The character of Burgoyne, Gates and Arnold, as shown by their acts.

The Germans (Hessians) in the campaign.

The burial of General Frazer.

The condition of the British troops when they surrendered.

[424]The terms of surrender.

Gates’s message to Congress.

6. a, b, c, d and e. See, in this connection, pages 198 and 199 of Volume IX.

The Soldier’s Dream (Volume VII, page 170) is a good poem to read for the purpose of exciting sympathy for the soldiers.

The Picket Guard (Volume VII, page 177) is useful in a similar way, though written in connection with another war.

The American Flag (Volume V, page 396) may be used here. Did the American soldiers carry the flag of the United States at the time of the battle of Saratoga? If not, what flag was borne? Did the “United Colonies” have a flag?

By consulting the tabulated list of selections useful in history classes you may find other things of interest. Care should be taken, however, not to cloud the main purpose of the lessons by the introduction of too much literary matter.

Before leaving the subject of history and geography we urge upon those who wish to work with children, a careful perusal of the sections entitled Close Reading in this volume.



Journeys Through Bookland in Its Relation to the High School


All high school students are expected to be well grounded in good literature. It is part of every well planned course of study and the basis of much of the work in every year. Yet very few high schools are able to furnish the material for every student to read, and often the methods of instruction are inadequate to the large classes or fail in character and execution. There is contained in Journeys practically all the real literature that is necessary for the foundation of a broad culture, and though much of it is simple and elementary, it is no less interesting and valuable. As a matter of fact, few high school students have ever read the simpler classics in a manner that brought to them the full message of the selections. Accordingly the most elementary things are often the newest and the most valuable. The simplest of the nursery rhymes, as may be seen by the comments and explanations given in another part of this volume, are full of interest to high school boys and girls, and in not a few schools form the basis of many serious lessons. The fables, the myths and the literature of the legendary heroes are not only interesting, but are of sufficient breadth [426]in meaning to justify hard work on the part of anyone who has not already mastered them. It is a mistake to think that the simple things do not interest young men and young women. The people who scorn the elementary literature of nursery rhymes, fairy tales and fables are the immature boys of thirteen or fourteen years to whom everything juvenile seems beneath their dignity and newly acquired independence.

The reader of Journeys will notice, however, that the quantity of matter that may be called really juvenile is small in comparison with the grand total. As a matter of fact, the selections of the last six volumes are worthy the reading by anyone, old or young, at any time, and to be fully appreciated they must be read with care and discrimination by everyone. The sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth volumes are all high-class literature for adults as well as young children and the studies are worthy a place in any high school.

The older a person grows the more he loves the things that were a delight to his childhood and the more keenly he realizes his loss if he never had the opportunity to become well acquainted with the great masterpieces that have been the comfort and inspiration of such countless thousands of people. Men and women of judgment never criticize the selections in Journeys on the ground that they are too simple or are childish. Good literature never dies, never loses its interest. It lives in a day-by-day intimacy with every one of its acquaintances, and the love for it increases year by year for everyone who will listen to its teachings.

Doubtless some high school students will be glad [427]to have pointed out to them more in detail the things which are especially applicable to their work in school and which will help them in the mastery of the subject so that their school work will be made easier and they may raise their rank in the eyes of their teachers and companions.


Nearly all of the studies in the other volumes and all of them in this volume are of value to high school students. If they are not difficult enough to cause work they at least suggest ways of reading that will be valuable. In the ten volumes the studies are scattered so that young children may not see too much of the machinery of instruction as they read. On the other hand the high school student wants the material systematically arranged and easy of access.

Accordingly the following arrangement of the studies in this and the other volumes of Journeys will be of assistance:

  1. I. Studies in Character:
  2. (1) Cinderella, Volume I, page 224.
  3. (2) The Hardy Tin Soldier, X, 158.
  4. (3) Rab and His Friends, X, 177.
  5. II. Studies in plot:
  6. (1) The Snow Queen, Volume II, page 124.
  7. (2) The Gold Bug, IX, 232.
  8. (3) Cinderella, X, 150.
  9. III. Studies in description:
  10. (1) The King of the Golden River, Volume II, page 405.
  11. [428](2) The Reaper’s Dream, VII, 345.
  12. (3) The Recovery of the Hispaniola, VII, 352.
  13. IV. Method of analysis:
  14. (1) The Gettysburg Address, Volume IX, page 321.
  15. (2) Braddock’s Defeat, X, 227.
  16. V. General studies involving several or all of the main points:
  17. (1) Incident of the French Camp, Volume IV, page 174.
  18. (2) The Tempest, VIII, 468. (Extensive studies following the drama.)
  19. (3) The Passing of Arthur, X, 214.
  20. VI. Studies in rhyme, meter and melody:
  21. (1) The Country Squire, Volume VI, page 474.
  22. (2) To My Infant Son, VI, 478.
  23. (3) The Daffodils, VII, 1.
  24. (4) The Old Oaken Bucket, VII, 11.
  25. (5) Bannockburn, VII, 15.
  26. (6) Boat Song, VII, 17.
  27. (7) The Bugle Song, X, 287.
  28. VII. Studies in interpretation, giving various methods and considering different phases of the subject:
  29. (1) Christmas in Old Time, Volume VI, page 356.
  30. (2) The Recessional, VII, 164.
  31. (3) The Cubes of Truth, VII, 406.
  32. (4) America, VIII, 60.
  33. (5) A Descent Into the Maelstrom, VIII, 95.
  34. (6) Dream Children, VIII, 335.
  35. [429](7) The Vision of Mirza, IX, 285.
  36. (8) Pippa Passes, IX, 293.
  37. (9) Rab and His Friends, X, 225.
  38. (10) The Reaper and the Flowers, X, 272.
  39. (11) Adventures in Lilliput, V, 8.
  40. (12) David Crockett in the Creek War, VIII, 37.
  41. (13) The Impeachment of Warren Hastings, IX, 32.
  42. (14) A Christmas Carol, VI, 244.
  43. VIII. Biographical sketches of authors, suitable for class use:
  44. (1) Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume I, page 128.
  45. (2) Eugene Field, I, 242.
  46. (3) Aesop, II, 1.
  47. (4) Hans Christian Andersen, II, 81.
  48. (5) Henry W. Longfellow, IV, 62.
  49. (6) Alice and Phoebe Gary, IV, 116.
  50. (7) Nathaniel Hawthorne, IV, 180.
  51. (8) Jonathan Swift, V, 1.
  52. (9) Sir Walter Scott, VI, 26.
  53. (10) John Howard Payne, VI, 221.
  54. (11) John Greenleaf Whittier, VII, 381.
  55. (12) William Cullen Bryant, VII, 391.
  56. (13) Oliver Wendell Holmes, VII, 398.
  57. (14) James Russell Lowell, VII, 411.
  58. (15) Elizabeth Barrett Browning, VII, 419.
  59. (16) Washington Irving, VIII, 216.
  60. (17) Charles and Mary Lamb, VIII, 328.
  61. (18) William Shakespeare, VIII, 468.



The assistance that literature may give in reading, language, nature study, history and geography is set forth at length in other chapters of this volume, and the high school student is earnestly requested to examine those chapters carefully and utilize whatever appeals to him in his studies. Especially are the chapters on reading and language valuable. Usually the greater part of the criticisms passed upon high school work is aimed against weaknesses in English. No small portion of this criticism is just, and it comes to a considerable extent from the fact that theme work is usually assigned on subjects so abstruse and so far beyond the ready appreciation of the student that the youthful writer is more concerned in finding out what he is to write than in thinking how he shall write. The result is a carelessness that brings errors in construction and an entire lack of clearness and elegance in expression. Even the older pupils can learn more from writing upon simple subjects where the material is easily obtained and is in itself interesting than from the usual difficult and uninteresting subjects.

The close analysis of a masterpiece gives fine models of expression and furnishes the best of material for discussion. The use of capital letters and punctuation marks, spelling and the choice of words are all subjects for study and are all learned best from good models, such as are found in the masterpieces of literature. Students will soon [431]learn that the rules of grammar are not always so hard and fast as they appear and that the practice of authors and publishers varies in minor things, especially in the use of commas and capital letters.

Some studies of special interest that may be based upon the masterpieces in Journeys will be given below. Many of the stories, poems and essays are accompanied by notes, queries and comments that will assist in making the studies profitable. Several good lessons may be derived from each topic and may be pursued at greater length by research in the volumes of reference in the school or public library.

Look in the Index of the tenth volume for the following topics and then find in the proper volumes the several selections named in the Index:

I. Ballads. Eight of the old English ballads and five more modern imitations are given. They are virile poems; simple, direct narratives. The old ones show the peculiarities of the old style English diction before poetry had been refined, while the later ones, breathing still the fire and originality of the earlier, are more polished and show the greater skill and accomplishments of the poets. The old ballads sprang spontaneously from the race, and doubtless many minds contributed to their phraseology, for they were sung and recited and passed on from mouth to mouth for generations before they were fixed in their present form.

II. Essays. In the list of essays (fourteen) are some of the most exquisite ever written and others that are full of information and inspiration. Dream Children is a perfect prose lyric; Some Children’s Books of the Past is an extremely interesting [432]essay of the informational class. Besides the essays listed in the Index there are other selections in essay form that may be studied with profit. Here are some of them:

III. Fables. The names of more than thirty fables are given in the list. Comparative study of these fables, considering the animals most frequently mentioned, the correctness and naturalness of the traits ascribed to the different animals, the moral precepts inculcated by the fables, etc., will be found interesting and profitable.

IV. Fairy Lore and Folk Lore. Though fairy stories may have lost their intrinsic interest for high school students, the teacher will find in the collection given here the material for many a study. What merits keep the old stories alive and make them perennially fascinating to children of all nations? Which stories are the better for children, those of Hans Christian Andersen or those of the Brothers Grimm? What are the particular merits or demerits of each class? How do the stories by [433]the latter writers compare in originality and beauty with the older stories? What comparisons can be made between The Ugly Duckling and The King of the Golden River? What merits has Cinderella over Bluebeard? What is the effect of Jack the Giant Killer and stories of that kind on the minds of young people?

V. Fiction. Look under the subtitles for the long list of stories suitable for study when the class is dealing with fiction.

VI. Legendary Heroes. What can be more interesting than a study of these characters from the borderland of history? These great figures come forth from the shadows of the past and move before us like living men: Beowulf, the Saxon; Frithiof, the Norse hero; Siegfried, the German; Roland, the French knight; The Cid, Spain’s greatest warrior and gentleman; Hector and Ulysses, the Greeks; King Arthur and his knights from England; Horatius, the Roman, and Sohrab, the Persian.

The literature of the Arthurian legends as given in Journeys, where they cover about 150 pages, is a cycle of great importance to every high school student. The selections concerning Arthur form a series of narratives which, though from different sources, give a vivid picture of the great knight and his times. The cycle is in volume V and the titles are:

a. Arthur Made King, page 117.

b. Arthur Weds Guenevere; The Round Table, page 119.

c. Arthur and Pellinore, page 122.

d. Arthur Gets Excalibur, page 127.

[434]e. Balin and Balan, page 130. (The stories given so far were written expressly for Journeys, but all have followed rather closely the relation of Malory.)

f. Geraint and Enid, page 148. (This is one of the most popular of Tennyson’s Idyls of the King. The poem is given complete.)

g. The Holy Grail, page 207.

(1) The Knighting of Sir Galahad, page 208.

(2) The Marvelous Sword, page 209.

(3) Galahad and the Siege Perilous, page 212.

(4) Galahad draws the Sword of Balin Le Savage, page 213.

(5) The Holy Grail Appears, page 214.

(6) Galahad Gets His Shield, page 217.

(7) The Grail Achieved, page 222. (The story of the search for the Holy Grail, which is taken from the narrative of Sir Thomas Malory, retains his quaint and charming style. The only material changes are in paragraphing and the use of quotation marks.)

h. Dissensions at King Arthur’s Court, page 232. (This was written for Journeys, to cover the interval between the achievement of the Grail by Sir Galahad and the death of Arthur.)

i. The Passing of Arthur, page 237. (This is Tennyson’s beautiful poem given in full. It describes the last days of Arthur’s reign and the strange story of his death.)

[435]VII. Lyrics. This topic gives the titles of about fifty beautiful lyrics.

VIII. Myths. Twelve titles showing stories from the mythology of different nations. Many of the articles have explanatory comments and, though stories and notes are intended primarily for young children, the whole offers a good introduction to a more extended study of mythology.

IX. Don Quixote. The five adventures related give a good idea of the nature of the book and are sufficient for reference when the history class is studying chivalry.

X. Odes. These seven of our finest odes will please the class in literature.

XI. Poetry. Look up the sub-titles for names of poems.

XII. Wit and Humor. It is not always easy to find what is wanted for class study under this head. The selections given are amusing, but at the same time most of them have real literary value, as well, and are worth study.



Recitations and Special Days in School

Whoever has had charge of young children who are in attendance at school has been many, many times worried in trying to answer for them the oft-repeated request “Where shall I find a piece to speak?” Every volume of Journeys Through Bookland has a large number of selections suitable for this purpose. All of them may be found readily by consulting the Index at the end of the tenth volume, when the name is known or the nature of the selection is understood, or by examining the table of contents at the beginning of each volume when no intimation of title or subject has been given.

It has become customary in most schools to observe with appropriate exercises certain notable days. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Arbor Day, and Bird Day have their own peculiar functions and for each there is a different style of observance. Recitations, songs, readings, stories, help to make up the programs, and upon the parent often falls most of the burden in selecting material. In many states the Department of Education issues beautiful circulars on some of these special days, and from them the teacher draws some of her material and forms her program for the occasion. Yet when the one or two days for which material has been provided have [437]passed there come a number of others which make their demands. Besides those mentioned, there are the birthdays of our great patriots and literary men and the general exercises at other times for which no special provision has been made. For the busy parent, teacher or pupil, Journeys Through Bookland provides an almost inexhaustible supply of excellent things, most of which may be found readily through the Index. Moreover, the selections are from the best literature for children, from that which they should know, so that the tired and harrassed mother need not worry for fear that the children are filling their minds with useless things.

It does not seem worth while to give long lists of selections appropriate to special days, as things are well classified in the Index in the tenth volume. Yet to show more fully how Journeys Through Bookland may be used, the following suggestions are offered:

I. Bird Day. Besides many other selections that are usable in different grades, the following seem peculiarly appropriate:

II. Memorial Day. A few of the selections suitable for this occasion are the following:

III. Christmas. There are at least three selections dealing specifically with Christmas, while many others are appropriate to the time:

IV. Birthdays. In the Index will be found the names of a number of great men and women [439]of whom there are biographical sketches and from whose writings quotations have been made. Each of these may be made the subject of a general exercise at an appropriate time.

V. Dramatization. Many a poem or story may be put into dramatic form with very little effort and thus furnish an exercise for several pupils at the same time. The descriptive parts may be read by a pupil not in the dialogue or may be omitted. In the latter case, acting may fill the void or the narrative may be made into conversation between the characters. Some rearrangement may be necessary and a little change in phraseology may be needed. Such adaptations the pupils may make themselves. The following scenes may be used by pupils of different ages:

1. The description of the attack as given by Rebecca to Ivanhoe. (See The Attack on the Castle, Volume IV, pages 324 to 338.) By costumes and good acting this may be made a very effective scene.

2. A few boys will enjoy rendering the conversational parts of The Heart of Bruce (Volume V, page 316) while a girl reads the descriptive lines of the ballad.

3. By making some changes in the text and putting into direct discourse some of that which Dickens has written in indirect discourse, a capital Christmas sketch may be made from the Christmas doings at the Cratchit home. (See A Christmas Carol, Volume VI, pages 303 to 312.)

4. Limestone Broth (Volume VI, page 467) can be made into a neat little humorous dialogue with very little change.

[440]5. Several scenes from The Tempest (Volume VIII, page 364) are suitable for school use.

6. The Death of Caesar (Volume IX, page 143) is a fine dialogue and affords a good opportunity for many speakers.

7. The conversation between Luigi and his mother (Pippa Passes, Volume IX, pages 317-323) is a fine scene for school use, especially if Pippa really passes singing at the right moment.

VI. An Old-fashioned Afternoon. Not so many years ago it was an almost universal custom to give over Friday afternoon to the “speaking of pieces.” Occasionally even now a teacher wants one of the old-fashioned mixed programs, and though she will prefer to make her own for each occasion, the following example will show one of the many that might be made from Journeys Through Bookland:



Handy List of Studies in Journeys Through Bookland

The following list gives the names of those selections upon which the more important studies have been based. Here, they are arranged in the order in which the selections appear in the several volumes. When a study accompanies a selection, the reference given is that upon which the selection begins. However, as in a number of instances where studies are in one place while the selections are in another, the cross references are given more in detail, and a statement is made as to just what points in the selection are covered by the studies—whether these latter are character studies, scene studies, word studies, studies of figures or historical studies.

Probably not a few of the readers of Journeys will be glad to use the studies continuously, or will frequently want to know if some given selection in the volume has been treated. This question is easily answered by referring to this chapter, finding the volume in which the selection occurs, and then running down the numbers at the right of the page. This method will be more expeditious than running over the titles of the selections, though of course the latter may be followed.

Reference should also be had to the General Index, under Studies.


Volume One

Down Tumbled Wheelbarrow 46
(See Study of Picture—Volume X, page 58)
The Dog and His Shadow 63
(See Study on Scene—Volume X, page 164)
The Fox and the Crow 64
(See Complete Study—Volume X, page 187)
The Hare and the Tortoise 71
(See Complete Study—Volume X, page 185)
The Fox and the Stork 73
(See Study on Scene—Volume X, page 166)
The Rock-a-By Lady 94
The Wind and the Sun 95
(See Lesson in Language—Volume X, page 357)
My Bed is a Boat 126
(See Study of Picture—Volume X, page 52)
Little Blue Pigeon 133
The Land of Counterpane 144
The Brown Thrush 147
(See Study—Volume X, page 276)
The Hardy Tin Soldier 148
(See Character Study—Volume X, page 158)
Jack and the Beanstalk 156
(See Study of Picture—Vol. X, page 52)
[443]The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse 199
Old Gaelic Lullaby 203
Cinderella 224
(See Character Study—Volume I, page 238)
(See Complete Study—Volume X, page 150)
Wynken, Blynken and Nod 262
(See Study of Picture—Volume X, page 53)
The Twin Brothers 264
Industry and Sloth 300
(See Study in Close Reading—Volume X, page 229)
The Drummer 303
(See Complete Study—Volume X, page 193)
Keepsake Mill 349
“Something” 395
The Fairies 405
The Reaper and the Flowers 410
(See Study—Volume X, page 272)
The Ugly Duckling 414

Volume Two

The Golden Touch 43
The Child’s World 66
(See Study—Volume X, page 277)
The Fir Tree 68
(See Study of Picture, The Swallow and the Stork Came—Volume X, page 55)
[444](See Study in The Lesson and the Author’s Purpose—Volume X, page 173)
Picture Books in Winter 87
Seven Times One 119
(See Study—Volume X, page 278)
Shuffle-Shoon and Amber Locks 121
(See Study of Picture—Volume X, page 54)
The Snow Queen 124
(See Study on The Plot—Volume II, page 169)
A Visit from Saint Nicholas 202
(See Study in Figures—Volume X, page 270)
Tom, the Water Baby 215
(See Study of Picture, Tom and the Dragon Fly—Volume X, page 55)
(See Nature Study Lesson—Volume X, page 381)
The Milkmaid 374
Holger Danske 377
The Fairies of Caldon-Low 395
(See Story Told—Volume X, page 68)
Who Stole the Bird’s Nest? 399
(See Character Study—Volume X, page 95)
The First Snowfall 403
(See Study in Figures—Volume X, page 270)
(See Complete Study—Volume X, page 281)
[445]King of the Golden River 405
(See Study—Volume II, page 441)
(See Study in Description—Volume X, page 366)
(See Complete Study—Volume X, page 393)
The Potato 467
(See Study—Volume X, page 285)
The Queen of the Underworld 468
Origin of the Opal 480
(See Study—Volume X, page 285)
In Time’s Swing 481
Why the Sea Is Salt 484
(See Study in Close Reading—Volume X, page 231)

Volume Three

Robinson Crusoe 45
(See Nature Study—Volume X, page 382)
Faithless Sally Brown 92
(See Study in Close Reading—Volume X, page 232)
Swiss Family Robinson 99
(See Nature Study—Volume X, page 382)
Cupid and Psyche 365
Frithiof The Bold 394
Lochinvar 432
Robin Hood and the Stranger 444
(See Study in Narration—Volume X, page 363)


Volume Four

The Barefoot Boy 3
(See Study—Volume X, page 286)
Cid Campeador 9
(See Study in Exposition—Volume X, page 368)
To H. W. L. 84
The Village Blacksmith 86
The Definition of a Gentleman 170
(See Study in Close Reading—Volume X, page 234)
Incident of the French Camp 174
The Boston Massacre 217
(See Study in Argument—Volume X, page 370)
Alfred the Great 260
(See Study in History—Volume X, page 414)
Little Giffin of Tennessee 461
(See Story Told—Volume X, page 71)

Volume Five

Gulliver’s Travels 6
(See Study in Close Reading on Adventures in Lilliput—Volume X, page 235)
Ballad of Agincourt 95
(See Story Told—Volume X, page 74)
Lead, Kindly Light 110
(See Study—Volume X, page 98)
Geraint and Enid 148
(See Study of Picture, Geraint hears Enid Singing—Volume X, page 60)
[447]The Passing of Arthur 237
(See Complete Study—Volume X, page 214)
The Heart of Bruce 316
(See Study in Close Reading—Volume X, page 238)
How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix 335
Reminiscences of a Pioneer 340
(See Study—Volume X, page 119)
Braddock’s Defeat 379
(See Study in Close Reading—Volume X, page 227)
The American Flag 396

Volume Six

Rab and His Friends 99
(See Study in Emotional Power—Volume X, page 177)
(See Study in Close Reading—Volume X, page 225)
Annie Laurie 119
(See Study in Close Reading—Volume X, page 243)
Sweet and Low 122
The Bugle Song 133
(See Study—Volume X, page 287)
A Christmas Carol 244
(See Study in Scene—Volume X, page 168)
(See Study of Picture, Bob and Tiny Tim—Volume X, page 41)
[448]Christmas in Old Time 356
Poor Richard’s Almanac 407
(See Study in Character Building—Volume X, page 101)
The Country Squire 474
To My Infant Son 478

Volume Seven

The Daffodils 1
The Old Oaken Bucket 11
Bannockburn 15
Boat Song 17
The Petrified Fern 77
(See Study—Volume X, page 291)
An Exciting Canoe Race 79
(See Study in Forms of Expression—Volume X, page 376)
The Recessional 164
The Forsaken Merman 180
(See Study—Volume X, page 295)
Tom and Maggie Tulliver 186
The Cloud 257
(See Study—Volume X, page 301)
Brute Neighbors 260
(See Study—Volume X, page 383)
Ode to a Skylark 275
(See Study in Figures—Volume X, page 268)
The Pond in Winter 280
(See Nature Study—Volume X, page 383)
[449]Winter Animals 293
(See Study—Volume X, page 383)
Trees and Ants that Help Each Other 306
(See Study—Volume X, page 385)
My Mother’s Picture 335
(See Study in Description—Volume X, page 367)
The Reaper’s Dream 345
The Recovery of the Hispaniola 352
The Cubes of Truth 406
The Lost Child 409
(See Study in Close Reading—Volume X, page 243)

Volume Eight

David Crockett in the Creek War 37
(See Study—Volume X, page 244)
America 60
A Descent into the Maelstrom 95
Hervé Riel 168
(See Story Told—Volume X, page 78)
Dream Children 335
Reading Shakespeare 346
The Tempest 364

Volume Nine

The Impeachment of Warren Hastings 32
(See Study—Volume X, page 248)
From The Death of Caesar 143
(See Study—Volume X, page 253)
Battle of Saratoga 176
(See Study in History—Volume X, page 419)
[450]The Gold Bug 232
(See Study—Volume IX, page 283)
The Vision of Mirza 285
(See Study in Notes)
Pippa Passes 293
(See Study—Volume IX, page 316)
The Gettysburg Address 321
Of Expense 397
Robert of Lincoln 444
The Chambered Nautilus 454
Ode to a Grecian Urn 462
The Fate of the Indians 466
A Call to Arms 475



Supplementary Book Lists

If Journeys Through Bookland is read as we intend, it will occupy no inconsiderable part of the time boys and girls give to reading. Yet there will be a call for more books. Some selections from great authors will create a taste for more from the same writers, and certain pieces will suggest lines of reading that may profitably extend far beyond the limits of the present volumes. In fact, this series is meant to be the stimulus to a lifetime of reading. Some children are naturally readers, and will require more to satisfy their avid tastes than may be sufficient for their brothers and sisters, while other children may need to be helped even beyond the limits covered by our plans. It may be that some parents will feel uncertain what advice to give their boys and girls when asked about other books than those indicated in the text. For such the following lists have been prepared.

At the present day, good libraries are to be found in almost every town, and either from the school or the town library may be drawn most of the books mentioned. Books are always good presents, and from these lists parents who have watched the development of their children’s tastes will find helpful hints in the selection of presents that will be accepted with joy and read with continued pleasure.

[452]The training these plans for reading have given will excite interest in the great classics which the quantities of light, frivolous stories carelessly written for children have in a measure relegated to the background. These classics are the foundation of literature, and without a knowledge of them, best obtained in youth, genuine culture seems almost impossible.

In presenting the lists it has seemed best to make some of them parallel to the volumes of this work rather than to arrange them by the ages of the children or their grades in school. The power to read intelligently and with appreciation is not wholly dependent upon age, nor does rank in school show the capability of the young person. Some boys of twelve will read and enjoy things that others of sixteen will find almost impossible. Not infrequently a little “sixth-grader” reads better literature than many a high school student. Other lists for older boys and girls are classified according to subject-matter. The method in every case is obvious.

This series is for boys and girls of all ages; for girls as much as for boys. Good literature appeals to universal taste, and there is little question of sex in it. There was a time when girls were thought so different from boys that “girls’ books” were written in abundance. Now that girls are given the same education that boys have, they usually like the same things. There will be found nearly as great extremes of taste in one sex as in the other during those years to which this set is adapted. Whatever difference there is in the sexes will manifest itself in what each selects for his or her own [453]from the masterpiece that both read. That we get from our reading what we put into it, is as true of us when we are young as it is when we have grown older. To as great an extent as Alice is different from Fred will what she gets from reading Rab and His Friends differ from what he absorbs.

In the books of this series the love story has little place, and into it sex problems do not enter. Its readers have not reached an age when such things are of serious moment, and there is enough good literature for them without dragging in or even admitting stories of passion and those that make their strongest appeal to the attraction of one sex for another. However, there is an abundance of sentiment, and the home feelings are recognized again and again; the love of parents for each other and for their offspring, the love of brother and sister, friendship, the pure affection of young people, love of home, of God, of country, all are subjects of the finest selections the language contains. Such are to be found in abundance.

In the lists more latitude has been allowed, and while nothing has been included that may excite anything but the purest emotions, yet room has been made for many of the great novels that are real studies of the lives and characters of adults. These books, really written for older people, will have their message for the young, a message that will be amplified and perhaps changed entirely, when, after many years, the book is read again with no lessened interest. Les Miserables was read once by a young boy whose attention was caught and held so strongly by the exciting story that he held [454]himself through all the long, prosy meanderings with which Hugo has delayed the march of his plot. Some years later the same boy, grown to a college student, read Les Miserables again with even greater interest. He remembered the story quite well, but the prosy meanderings had to his broadened intelligence become wonderful pictures of life, and even the book-long description of the Battle of Waterloo was fascinating, though its only function in the story was to say that one man saved another man’s life. The boy, now a man in middle life, read Hugo’s masterpiece a third time. Story and description were now secondary in interest, but the author’s deep insight into human nature, his brilliant style and shrewd, kindly philosophy held the old reader more closely than had anything before. So will it be with many of the books in the list. If we are to make friends, let us meet them as early as we can, see them as often as we can, and cling to them as long as we can.

In recommending books to children, parents will do well to remember that books in which young people are not interested will not be read in such a way as to be profitable. The books in these lists are all interesting in themselves, and there need be no fear that they will not be read. The child who has been trained after the manner indicated in these talks will need little further assistance in mastering these books.

Charles Kingsley      Thomas Moore
John Tyndall
Alexander Pope      Thomas Campbell
David Livingstone      George MacDonald

Volume I

Æsop’s Fables.

There are many good editions published by the various schoolbook houses. That edited by J. H. Stickney and published by Ginn & Co. is as good as any, and contains also a supplement with fables from La Fontaine and Krilof.


A Child’s Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

The edition illustrated by E. Mars and H. M. Squire and published by Rand, McNally & Co. is excellent. Jessie Wilcox Smith illustrates an edition for Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Lullaby Land, by Eugene Field.

This is published in beautiful form by Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Fairy Tales, by Hans Christian Andersen.

The schoolbook houses publish selections in an attractive form; Blackie and Son, London, a cheap edition.

Fairy Tales, by Wilhelm and Jakob Grimm.

Selections, such as those edited by Sarah E. Wiltse for Ginn & Co., are better than the complete editions, for many of the Grimm tales are coarse and valueless.

Blue Fairy Book and Green Fairy Book, by Andrew Lang.

Besides some of the Grimm tales these books contain folklore stories from many nations. Lang has edited other books in this series, but two are probably enough.

The Adventures of a Brownie, by Dinah Maria (Mulock) Craik.

This is a charming little tale, much loved by children.

Pinocchio, by C. Collodi.

Walter Cramp’s translation of this little Italian classic will be highly appreciated. Ginn and Company.

Old Greek Stories, by James Baldwin.

American Book Company. This contains the stories of Arachne, the Gorgon’s Head, Prometheus and Theseus.

Letters from a Cat, by Helen Hunt Jackson.

Amusing letters which a cat writes to its mistress. Helpful in teaching kindness to animals.

The Book of Joyous Children, by James Whitcomb Riley.

Charles Scribner’s Sons; Child Rhymes, Bobbs-Merrill Co.; Child World, Bobbs-Merrill Co. Three books with delightful poems for children and about them.

Volume II

While the books mentioned in these lists seem most closely connected to the volume to which they are ascribed, yet no hard and fast lines can be drawn. Children will read in the second volume of this set before they have finished the first, and the books in the lists are suitable whenever interest is ripe in the kind of literature which the books contain. Several of the titles given in the list for the first volume should be considered with the second volume.


Wonder Book for Boys and Girls, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

This contains many other stories than those given in these volumes.

Tanglewood Tales, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

A second wonder book of classic myths. Houghton, Mifflin Co. are the authorized publishers of the wonder books.

The Heroes, or Greek Fairy Tales, by Charles Kingsley.

Published by E. P. Dutton & Co., with pictures by Rose Le Quesne.

Three Fairy Tales, by Jean Ingelow.

Illustrated by A. J. Ripley. D. C. Heath & Co.

The Story of Æneas, by Michael Clarke.

American Book Company. Fine illustrations. This contains the story of the Aeneid for young American readers.

The Little Lame Prince, by Dinah Maria (Mulock) Craik.

D. C. Heath & Co. An allegorical fairy tale of great beauty, teaching the lesson of patience and true manhood.

Little Mr. Thimblefinger and His Queer Country, by Joel Chandler Harris.

Illustrations by Oliver Herford. Houghton, Mifflin Co.

Mr. Rabbit at Home, by Joel Chandler Harris.

A sequel to Little Mr. Thimblefinger.

Nonsense Songs and Stories, by Edward Lear.

F. Warne & Co.

Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

This is one of the books that every family ought to own, there is so much in it for every age. Besides the lyrics children love so well, there are Hiawatha, Evangeline, Miles Standish and other poems, which belong to children as well as to the adults. The Cambridge edition published by Houghton, Mifflin Co. is a cheap, serviceable book, though the print is necessarily rather small.

The Wonderful Chair and the Tales It Told, by Frances R. Browne.

D. C. Heath & Co.

The Blue Bird for Children, by Maurice Maeterlinck.

The story of the play, beautifully told. Silver, Burdett & Co.

The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling.

The hero is a child brought up among the wolves. A delightful story to create interest in wild animals. The Century Company.

The Second Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling.

The Century Company.

Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling.

Wild Animals I Have Known, by Ernest Thompson Seton.

A delightful series of stories full of human interest.


Volume III

This volume contains selections from several books which it is felt will be read in their entirety by most children. They are:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.

Two modern fairy tales by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson). The amusing pictures are by Sir John Tenniel. The Macmillan Company. These fantastic stories delight everyone who reads them.

Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe.

There are many editions of this old and popular story for boys, from an abbreviated form in words of one syllable to the original work in full. W. H. Lambert has edited a school edition in excellent manner for Ginn & Co.

The Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann Rudolph Wyss.

Though not of such literary merit as Robinson Crusoe, it is similar in plot and usually more popular. Ginn & Co. publish a good, cheap edition, edited by J. H. Stickney.

Arabian Nights’ Entertainment.

The complete editions are not suitable for children to read, but the edition edited by Andrew Lang is excellent. Several schoolbook houses publish good selections, including the most popular tales.

Besides the books mentioned in the lists for Volumes I and II, the following might be suggested here:

The Complete Poetical Works of John Greenleaf Whittier.

Houghton, Mifflin Company’s Cambridge edition is perhaps the best. Whittier did not write as much for children as Longfellow did, but his Snow-Bound is a classic that every child will love if he is helped a little in reading it. Other poems will appeal to the older members of the family.

The Book of Legends Told Over Again, by Horace E. Scudder.

Houghton, Mifflin Co. The Flying Dutchman, St. Christopher, William Tell, and The Wandering Jew are some of the names.

The Adventures of Ulysses, by Charles Lamb.

D. C. Heath & Co.

Norse Stories Re-Told from the Sagas, by Hamilton Wright Mabie.

Rand, McNally & Co.

The Biography of a Grizzly, by Ernest Thompson Seton.

The Century Company.


Some Merry Adventures of Robin Hood.

Written and illustrated by Howard Pyle. Charles Scribner’s Sons.

The Story of Roland, by James Baldwin.

Illustrated by R. B. Birch. Charles Scribner’s Sons.

The Story of Siegfried, by James Baldwin.

Illustrated by Howard Pyle. Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Volume IV

Story of the Cid.

Retold by Calvin Dill Wilson. Lathrop, Lee and Shepard.

Old Indian Legends.

Retold graphically by Zitkala Sä, one of the tribe of the Dakotahs, and illustrated by Angel de Cora (Hin-ook-Mahiroi-Kilinaka), the Indian artist. Ginn & Co.

Indian Boyhood, by Charles Eastman, a Sioux Indian.

Full of the manners and customs of the Indians, and containing as well some good stories of adventure. Little, Brown & Co.

Grandfather’s Chair, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Houghton, Mifflin Co. This book contains, besides the stories printed in this set, many other interesting historical tales.

The Boys of ’76, by Charles Carleton Coffin.

Harper and Bros. A fine book that will interest any child in the story of the Revolution. There are other books in a similar vein by the same author.

The Story of the Greeks,
The Story of the Romans, and
The Story of the English

are three good books by H. A. Guerber, which will help to create an interest in the history of those peoples and at the same time give information valuable in reading literature. All are published for school use by the American Book Company.

Child’s History of England, by Charles Dickens.

This book is always interesting to children, and is such good reading that we need not feel afraid of Dickens’ inexactness and apparent prejudices. Read it as literature, not so much as history.

Birds and Bees, Sharp Eyes and Other Papers, by John Burroughs.

Houghton, Mifflin Co. Though this may seem rather hard reading to some, it is delightful literature, and full of good lessons in observation for children. Other books by the same author are equally entertaining. An excellent book to read to children.

Indian Days of the Long Ago, by E. S. Curtis.

World Book Co.

The Magic Forest, by Stewart Edward White.

Macmillan Co.


The World of the Great Forest, by Paul Du Chaillu.

Harper and Bros. An interesting account of animal life, not without some literary merit. Other books by the same author will delight the adventurous.

Sharp Eyes, and
My Studio Neighbors

are two beautiful books, illustrated by the author, William Hamilton Gibson. Harper and Bros. They are as interesting and as charmingly written as any of the multitudinous nature books.

Volume V

The Boys’ King Arthur, edited by Sidney Lanier.

Illustrated by Alfred Kappes. Charles Scribner’s Sons.

The Vision of Sir Launfal, by James Russell Lowell.

One of the finest poems in the language. Best read in connection with the stories of King Arthur. Houghton, Mifflin Co.

The Boys’ Froissart.

The chronicles retold in simple English by Sidney Lanier. Scribners.

Travels of Marco Polo, abridged by Thomas W. Knox.

The touch of fiction does not injure these old tales.

Little Smoke, by William Osborn.

An exciting story of Sioux life.

Ten Big Indians, by Mary Hazelton Wade.

W. A. Wilde & Co. An interesting introduction to Indian history.

Hans Brinker; or The Silver Skates, by Mary Mapes Dodge.

A delightful story of child life in Holland. A valuable picture of manners and customs.

The Hoosier School Boy, by Edward Eggleston.

Charles Scribner’s Sons. An interesting story of pioneer times.

The Peterkin Papers, by Lucretia Peabody Hale.

Houghton, Mifflin Co. One of the few good humorous stories for children.

Toby Tyler, Or Ten Weeks With a Circus, and
Mr. Stubbs’s Brother

are two wholesome stories full of humor and pathos. Harper and Bros.

The Story of a Nürnberg Stove, by Louise De la Ramée (Ouida).

Educational Publishing Company.

Betty Leicester, by Sarah Orne Jewett.

A fine story for girls. Houghton, Mifflin Co.

The Birds’ Christmas Carol, by Kate Douglas Wiggin (Riggs).

Houghton, Mifflin Co. A charming story which will delight everybody. By the same author, The Story of Patsy, Timothy’s Quest and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm are all wholesome and entertaining.


Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, by Kate Douglas Wiggin.

Houghton, Mifflin Co.

The Prince and the Pauper, A Tale for Young People of All Ages,

by Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens). Harper and Bros. The story relates to England in the sixteenth century.

The Man Without a Country, by Edward Everett Hale.

Little, Brown & Co. The style and language are mature, but the story is one of the best lessons in patriotism ever written.

Volume VI

Tales of a Grandfather, by Sir Walter Scott.

An abridged edition, published by Ginn & Co., contains the best tales, but many children will like them all.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.

An excellent book for young people on account of its interest and its clear literary style. An edition by Houghton, Mifflin Co., contains a sketch of Franklin’s life subsequent to the time when his autobiography ends.

Lays of Ancient Rome, by Thomas Babington Macaulay.

Inspiring tales in verse such as children love to hear. Horatius is among them.

Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott.

Houghton, Mifflin Co. publish a cheap school edition.

The Talisman, by Sir Walter Scott.

Scottish Chiefs, by Jane Porter.

This is one of the stories that young people enjoyed years ago. It helps to the reading of Scottish history, and is a good type of the romantic novel.

Enoch Arden, by Alfred Tennyson.

Idyls of the King, by Alfred Tennyson.

The Complete Poetical Works of Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Cambridge edition of Houghton, Mifflin Co. The Grandmother’s Story of Bunker Hill, A Ballad of the Boston Tea Party, Ode for Washington’s Birthday, Old Ironsides, Lexington and others have historical value. The humorous poems like The One-Hoss Shay, How the Old Horse Won the Bet, and such beautiful poems as The Chambered Nautilus and The Last Leaf always appeal to young folks.

The Spy, by James Fenimore Cooper.

This is a thrilling story of the Revolution.

The Pilot, by James Fenimore Cooper.

This also is a story of the Revolution, and it has Paul Jones as its hero.

Men of Iron, by Howard Pyle.

Harper and Bros. The “men of iron” are Henry IV of England and the men of his court.

The Story of a Bad Boy, by Thomas Bailey Aldrich.

Houghton, Mifflin Co. An amusing and frank story of New England boy life.


Volume VII

The Cricket on the Hearth, by Charles Dickens.

This is one of the Christmas stories, and is written in the best vein of the fascinating author.

David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens.

This is usually considered the masterpiece of the author.

A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens.

A thrilling story of the French Revolution, rather full of terrible happenings, and rather mature.

The Lady of the Lake, and
Marmion, by Sir Walter Scott,

the two best of his longer poems, rarely fail to interest young people.

Tales from Shakespeare, by Charles and Mary Lamb.

The Tempest,
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and
The Merchant of Venice,

are the three Shakespearean plays that first interest children. Care should be taken in the selection of the edition, as none of the plays in their original form are suitable for children. School editions with notes are excellent. The Tempest is printed in Volume VIII of this set, and is deferred to that point on account of the very full notes and comments that accompany it. The play itself may be read quite early, and children should be encouraged to try their skill on Shakespeare as soon as they show signs of interest.

Undine, by Baron de la Motte Fouqué,

is a beautiful fairy tale from the German, with interest for older children than those who read Andersen and Grimm.

Plutarch’s Lives.

White’s Boys’ and Girls’ Plutarch is recommended. The lives of Brutus, Julius Cæsar, Themistocles, Pericles and Alexander are among the more interesting.

The Burning of Rome, by A. J. Church,

is a thrilling story of that event.

Cuore, by Edmondo De Amicis.

The journal of an Italian schoolboy. Useful and moral, but not always interesting to American boys.

In His Name, by Edward Everett Hale.

A tale of religious persecution.

The Peasant and the Prince, by Harriet Martineau.

An intensely interesting picture of France just before the Revolution.

Picciola, by X. B. Santine.

A touching story whose scene is laid in France in the time of Napoleon.

Life of Daniel Boone, by J. and J. C. Abbott.

The Iliad, Bryant’s translation.


Classified Lists

When boys and girls can read the first seven volumes of this set intelligently and with pleasure they are thinking for themselves. Their tastes are forming rapidly, and they have learned how to read nearly everything that comes to them. They know how to use reference books, and can “make out the meaning” of difficult passages. They are reading for information and culture. What they lack is experience in life, and so they are unable to interpret what they read as fully as can those who have lived longer, seen more of the world, enjoyed more, suffered more. Where they are liable to fail and go astray is in the lack of judgment. They know right and wrong, but they cannot always see the difference. They are apt to be misled by their feelings and to be ruled by their emotions.

The studies and selections of the last three volumes are varied and highly suggestive. They will open new lines of thought and prompt to wider reading in many directions. The contents vary in difficulty as in character, but are not graded in a strict sense of the term. They are meant for independent readers, readers who are governed by mood or purpose and no longer rely upon outside guidance.

Accordingly, lists of books suitable for readers of these volumes will cover every department of literature and lead into the reading favored by adults. The majority of these lists deal with literature. They contain the names of those books which are distinctly helpful, and from which young [463]readers may derive nothing to corrupt taste or give false impressions of life. They are the standard books of the language. The lists might have been longer; they do contain, however, the names of those best books that every cultured person should know. For convenience in reference the arrangement is the alphabetical order of authors’ names.


Ainsworth, William Harrison: The Tower of London, the story of Lady Jane Grey, and the plots and intrigues that centered about her.

Alcott, Louisa M.: Little Men and Little Women, two interesting and thoroughly wholesome books for boys and girls.

Austen, Jane: Pride and Prejudice, an old-fashioned story, interesting, but liable to be called dull by those who read only the lively stories of the day.

Blackmore, R. D.: Lorna Doone, a delightful romance, the scene of which is laid in Exmoor, England, in the beginning of the eighteenth century.

Bulwer-Lytton, Sir Edward: The Last Days of Pompeii, the author’s greatest novel; The Last of the Barons, the story of the Earl of Warwick; Harold, The Last of the Saxons, a tale of the Norman Conquest of England.

Doyle, A. Conan: The White Company, an exciting fourteenth century story.

Eliot, George: Silas Marner, an intensely human story, a heart history; Romola, a thrilling story of Florence in the days of Savonarola, a study in the degeneration of character that comes from doing only the agreeable things in life.

Goldsmith, Oliver: The Vicar of Wakefield, an amusing and at times pathetic picture of English country life in the eighteenth century.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel: The Scarlet Letter, a tale of sin and its punishment in Puritan New England; The Marble Faun, an Italian story full of the art and culture of Rome.

Hugo, Victor: Les Miserables, one of the greatest novels of the world, but its digressions and its philosophy make it difficult reading for the young. Interesting abridgements of it may be had from the schoolbook houses.

Saint Pierre, Bernardin De: Paul and Virginia, a pretty love story from the French.

Scott, Sir Walter: Kenilworth, a tale of the days of Queen Elizabeth; Old Mortality, a story of the Covenanters; Guy Mannering, an eighteenth century tale, with Meg Merrilies, Dominic Sampson and others of Scott’s most famous characters; The [464]Heart of Midlothian, a tale of sin and its punishment, with a wonderful picture of a sister’s love and devotion.

Stowe, Harriet Beecher: Uncle Tom’s Cabin, an interesting story, but like most books written for partisan purposes, its influence is not now wholesome.

Thackeray, William Makepeace: Henry Esmond, Pendennis and The Newcomes may be read in the order named. Vanity Fair is better appreciated by adults.

Twain, Mark: Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, two stories whose fun every boy will appreciate.

Wallace, Lew: Ben Hur, a Tale of the Christ. An admirable historical novel.

Poetry and Drama

Browning, Robert: Besides the poems given in these books, The Lost Leader and Rabbi Ben Ezra are enjoyed by boys and girls.

Bryant, William Cullen: The Poetical Works (Household Edition), D. Appleton & Co. The Song of Marion’s Men, The Green Mountain Boys, Thanatopsis, Sella, The Death of the Flowers, The Planting of the Apple Tree and Robert of Lincoln are among his best poems.

Shakespeare, William: Julius Cæsar and Coriolanus, two plays based on Roman history and excellent for reading purposes; Richard II (1398-1399), Henry IV (1402-1413), Henry V (1414-1420), Henry VI (1422-1471), Richard III (1471-1485), all based on English history; As You Like It, a great comedy; Hamlet and King Lear, perhaps the two greatest tragedies. All these are excellent reading, especially in such an edition as the Temple Classics. Other plays may well be read, but everyone should know the foregoing list.


Emerson, Ralph Waldo: The American Scholar, Self-Reliance, Culture and Behavior may be read with profit by the young, even if they do not fully understand the philosophy.

Hale, Edward Everett: American Essays and English Essays, two books edited by Hale. They contain selections from the writings of George William Curtis, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Washington Irving, James Russell Lowell, Addison, Goldsmith, Lamb and Thackeray.

Holmes, Oliver Wendell: The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, a charming series of talks which embody the best of Holmes’s wit, wisdom and philosophy. One of those things everybody must read.

Irving, Washington: The Sketch Book contains such perfect stories as Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, as well as a number of fine essays for later reading.

Roosevelt, Theodore: American Ideals and Other Essays. Putnam.


Ruskin, John: Sesame and Lilies. In spite of its seeming difficulty, this book contains some of the most inspiring words ever spoken on books and reading.

Warner, Charles Dudley: A-Hunting of the Deer and Other Essays, a delightful little collection that young people will enjoy and that has fine literary qualities. Houghton, Mifflin Co.


Thoreau, Henry David: Walden, a vivid book of outdoor life. Such also are A Week on the Concord and Merrimac Rivers and Excursions in Field and Forest.


Fabre, Jean-Henri: Our Humble Helpers, familiar talks on the domestic animals. The Century Co.

Boswell, James: Life of Samuel Johnson. The first great biography, and still the most remarkable in its intimacy. Not of general interest to young people.

Brooks, Eldridge Streeter: Historic Girls. G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

Brooks, Noah: Life of Abraham Lincoln. G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

Burroughs, John: John James Audubon. Small, Maynard & Co.

Golding, Vautier: The Story of Henry M. Stanley. E. P. Dutton & Co.

Harrison, Frederick: Oliver Cromwell. Macmillan.

Irving, Washington: Washington, and Mahomet.

Lodge, Henry Cabot: Alexander Hamilton. Houghton, Mifflin Co.

Nicolay, John G.: Boys’ Life of Abraham Lincoln.

Ober, Frederick O.: Pizarro. Harper.

Riis, Jacob A.: The Making of an American. Macmillan.

Schurz, Carl: Life of Henry Clay. Houghton, Mifflin Co.

Scudder, Horace Elisha: George Washington. Houghton, Mifflin Co.

Trent, W. P.: Robert E. Lee.

Wister, Owen: U. S. Grant. Beacon Biography.


Bancroft, George: History of the United States (to the inauguration of Washington). A voluminous history with interesting passages, but tedious to young readers.

Draper, Andrew Sloan: The Rescue of Cuba. Silver, Burdett & Co.

Fiske, John: The War of Independence. Houghton, Mifflin Co.

Lodge, Henry Cabot, and Roosevelt, Theodore: Hero Tales from American History. The Century Company.

Motley, John Lothrop: The Rise of the Dutch Republic. This, with other histories by the same writer, is a long and brilliant account, full of interest to the older youths who have a taste for history.


Parkman, Francis: La Salle and the Northwest, The Conspiracy of Pontiac, and Montcalm and Wolfe are three histories of a brilliant series on the French explorations and colonizations in the Northwest. Parkman is one of our finest historical writers, and his graphic style has given many a young man a deep interest in history.

Prescott, William Hickling: The Conquest of Mexico and The Conquest of Peru are two interesting histories of the longer type, written in an interesting style that many youths will enjoy. Prescott’s work lies with the Spanish, as Motley’s with the Dutch and Parkman’s with the French.

Roosevelt, Theodore (see Lodge, Henry Cabot).

Travel and Geography

Butterworth, Hezekiah: Zig-Zag Journeys in Classic Lands. There are other interesting Zig-Zag Journeys by the same author.

Dana, Richard Henry: Two Years Before the Mast.

Darwin, Charles: Voyage of a Naturalist.

Du Chaillu, Paul: The Land of the Long Night. A winter journey through Northern Europe.

Ingersoll, Ernest: The Book of the Ocean.

Jenks, Tudor: The Boy’s Book of Exploration. Deals principally with Africa.

Knox, Thos.: The Boy Travelers in South America. There are other interesting books in the same series.

Roosevelt, Theodore: Stories of the Great West. Century Co.

Stanley, Henry M.: In Darkest Africa.

Stockton, Frank Richard: Personally Conducted. Interesting descriptions of places in Europe.

Taylor, Bayard: Views Afoot.

Twain, Mark (Samuel Langhorne Clemens): Innocents Abroad. An amusing account of European travel with good descriptions.

Warner, Charles Dudley: My Winter on the Nile.


The books in the following list have not been selected because of their literary qualities, but because they contain things that are of interest and value to young people. It is thought that parents may wish some information concerning such books as are mentioned, and those given in the list can be relied upon as being interesting, instructive and not expensive. The arrangement is by title.


American Boys’ Handy Book of Camp Lore and Woodcraft, by Daniel Cortes Beard. Tells how to fish, hunt, camp, and how to make a great variety of things.

American Girls’ Handy Book, by Adelia B. Beard. Directions for making and doing. A companion to American Boys’ Handy Book.

American Girls’ Home Book of Work and Play, by Helen Campbell. Outdoor and indoor games and amusements, Christmas gifts, cooking, etc.

Among the Law Makers, by Edmund Alton Bailey. Deals with the national Congress, largely the recollections of a former page.

Beginner’s Garden Book, The, by Allen French.

Boys’ Book of Inventions, The, by Ray Stannard Baker. Descriptions of our latest inventions.

Boys’ Second Book of Inventions, The, by Ray Stannard Baker.

Boy Scouts’ Book of Stories, Edited by Franklin K. Mathiews.

Careers of Danger and Daring, by Cleveland Moffett. Deals with the dangerous occupations of man, steeple-climbing, fire service, ballooning, etc.

Century Book for Young Americans, The, by Eldridge Streeter Brooks. Deals with Washington and the government of the United States.

Complete Housekeeper, by Emily Holt.

Electric Toy-making for Amateurs, by T. O’Connor Sloane. A practical book, interesting to boys.

Experimental Science, by G. M. Hopkins. A large and rather expensive book on experimental physics.

Flame, Electricity and the Camera. An account of man’s progress from the first kindling of fire to the present time.

Garden Making, by Liberty Hyde Bailey. A practical book for school and house.

Handycraft for Handy Girls, by A. Neely Hall and Dorothy Perkins. Practical plans for work and play.

Harper’s Indoor Book for Boys, and Harper’s Outdoor Book for Boys, by J. H. Adams. Practical directions for work and play.

Mary Frances Sewing-Book, by Jane Eyre Foyer.

Outlines of the Earth’s History, by N. S. Shaler. A popular book on physiography.

Practical Track and Field Athletics, by John Graham and Ellery H. Clark.

Rules of Order (Pocket Manual), by General Henry M. Roberts. Deals with rules of practice in deliberating assemblies.

Young People’s Story of Art, by Ida Prentice Whitcomb.

Young American, by Harry Pratt Judson. An outline of our system of government.

With Men Who Do Things, by A. Russell Bond. “Scientific American” Series.




A. Period of Preparation. From Caedmon’s Paraphrase, (670), to the death of Chaucer (1400).

  1. I. Prior to Chaucer’s birth (1340?).
  2. Beowulf.
  3. Caedmon, ?-680.
  4. Bede, 673-735.
  5. II. During Chaucer’s life.
  6. Sir John Mandeville, 1300-1372.
  7. John Wyclif, 1324-1384.
  8. William Langland, Piers Plowman, 1332-?.
  9. CHAUCER, 1340?-1400.

B. Period of Accomplishment. From the death of Chaucer to present time.

  1. I. The Period of Italian Influence. From the death of Chaucer to the Restoration of Charles II (1660).
  2. 1. The Age of Reaction. From the death of Chaucer to the Accession of Queen Elizabeth (1558).
  3. Malory, Morte d’Arthur.
  4. William Tyndale, 1449-1536.
  5. 2. The Age of Elizabeth. From 1558 to 1603, the Accession of James I.
  6. John Lyly, 1554?-1606.
  7. FRANCIS BACON, 1561-1626.
  8. Sir Philip Sidney, 1554-1586.
  9. Sir Walter Raleigh, 1552-1618.
  10. [470]EDMUND SPENSER, 1552-1599.
  11. Christopher Marlowe, 1564-1593.
  12. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, 1564-1616.
  13. Ben Jonson, 1573-1637.
  14. Francis Beaumont, 1584-1616.
  15. John Fletcher, 1579-1625.
  16. 3. The Puritan Age. From the Accession of James I to the Restoration of Charles II (1660).
  17. Izaak Walton, 1593-1683.
  18. Jeremy Taylor, 1613-1667.
  19. Sir Thomas Browne, 1605-1682.
  20. John Bunyan, 1628-1688.
  21. JOHN MILTON, 1608-1674.
  22. Robert Herrick, 1591-1674.
  23. II. The Period of French Influence. From the Restoration of Charles II to the death of Pope (1744).
  24. 1. Age of the Restoration. From the Restoration of Charles II to the Accession of Queen Anne (1702).
  25. Samuel Butler, 1612-1680.
  26. JOHN DRYDEN, 1631-1700.
  27. John Locke, 1632-1704.
  28. Samuel Pepys, 1633-1703.
  29. Sir Isaac Newton, 1642-1727.
  30. 2. The Age of Queen Anne. From the Accession of Queen Anne to the death of Pope.
  31. Jonathan Swift, 1667-1745.
  32. Daniel De Foe, 1661?-1731.
  33. Richard Steele, 1672-1729.
  34. JOSEPH ADDISON, 1662-1745.
  35. ALEXANDER POPE, 1688-1744.
  36. [471]III. The Modern English Period. From the death of Pope to the present time.
  37. 1. The Beginnings. From the death of Pope to 1780.
  38. Samuel Richardson, 1689-1761.
  39. Henry Fielding, 1707-1754.
  40. Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784.
  41. David Hume, 1711-1776.
  42. Laurence Sterne, 1713-1768.
  43. Thomas Gray, 1716-1771.
  44. Tobias George Smollett, 1721-1771.
  45. OLIVER GOLDSMITH, 1728-1774.
  46. Edmund Burke, 1729-1797.
  47. Edward Gibbon, 1737-1794.
  48. 2. The Romantic School. From 1780 to 1837, the Accession of Queen Victoria.
  49. William Cowper, 1731-1800.
  50. Robert Burns, 1759-1796.
  51. WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, 1770-1850.
  52. SIR WALTER SCOTT, 1771-1832.
  53. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1772-1834.
  54. Robert Southey, 1774-1843.
  55. Charles Lamb, 1775-1834.
  56. Lord Byron, 1788-1824.
  57. Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792-1822.
  58. John Keats, 1795-1821.
  59. 3. The Victorian Age. From the Accession of Victoria to the present time.
  60. Thomas Carlyle, 1795-1881.
  61. Thomas Macaulay, 1800-1859.
  62. Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806-1861.
  63. ALFRED TENNYSON, 1809-1892.
  64. [472]William Makepeace Thackeray, 1811-1863.
  65. Charles Dickens, 1812-1870.
  66. Robert Browning, 1812-1889.
  67. John Ruskin, 1819-1900.
  68. GEORGE ELIOT, 1819-1880.
  69. Matthew Arnold, 1822-1888.
  70. Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894.



  1. A. The Colonial Period. The seventeenth and eighteenth century writers.
  2. Anne Bradstreet, 1612-1672.
  3. Cotton Mather, 1663-1728.
  4. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, 1706-1790.
  5. B. The National Period. The nineteenth century writers.
  6. I. The Earlier Group.
  7. William Ellery Channing, 1780-1842.
  8. WASHINGTON IRVING, 1783-1859.
  9. James Fenimore Cooper, 1789-1851.
  10. William Cullen Bryant, 1794-1878.
  11. William Hickling Prescott, 1796-1859.
  12. Edgar Allan Poe, 1809-1849.
  13. II. The Civil War Group.
  14. George Bancroft, 1800-1891.
  15. RALPH WALDO EMERSON, 1803-1882.
  16. NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE, 1804-1864.
  19. OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, 1809-1894.
  20. John Lothrop Motley, 1814-1877.
  21. [474]Henry David Thoreau, 1817-1862.
  22. JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL, 1819-1891.
  23. Francis Parkman, 1823-1893.
  24. III. Later Writers.
  25. Walt Whitman, 1819-1892.
  26. Richard Henry Stoddard, 1825-1903.
  27. Bayard Taylor, 1825-1878.
  28. Edmund Clarence Stedman, 1833-1908.
  29. Mark Twain, 1835-1910.
  30. Eugene Field, 1850-1895.



























Transcriber’s Note

The following typographical errors have been corrected.

Page Error
  60 made clear? changed to made clear?)
  61 After the childen changed to After the children
  75 long been forgotton changed to long been forgotten
  94 Something, Volume, I changed to Something, Volume I
105 Pride breakfasted changed to “Pride breakfasted
121 Pere Marquette changed to Père Marquette
126 you select changed to you to select
145 2. Reading Stories changed to 2. Reading Stories
239 hundred years ago. changed to hundred years ago.)
239 What causes it? changed to What causes it?)
242 forty-sixth stanza. changed to forty-sixth stanza?
294 poet when he changed to poet when she
303 are the genii” changed to are the “genii”
303 mean: Wherever changed to  mean: “Wherever
313 person can forciby changed to person can forcibly
356 Pere Marquette changed to Père Marquette
363 are easily modifed changed to are easily modified
363 rough and-tumble changed to rough-and-tumble
386 a. Nursery rhymes: changed to a. Nursery rhymes:
390 Fox, The Wolf changed to Fox, the Wolf
405 Pere Marquette changed to Père Marquette
434 of his death. changed to of his death.)
452 to subject-matter, changed to to subject-matter.
473 Fennimore changed to Fenimore
479 The Forsken changed to The Forsaken
481 Psyche. changed to Psyche:
483 Myth and Legendary changed to Myth and Legendary
485 Pére Marquette changed to Père Marquette
489 Selections (under Macaulay) changed to Selections
491 a Grecian Urn, changed to a Grecian Urn: (twice)
491 Illustrative Study of “A Call to Arms,” as a type of changed to Illustrative Study of “A Call to Arms,” as a type of
492 Drama: changed to Drama;
493 Queen Victoria. changed to Queen Victoria.
494 of the Past. changed to of the Past:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation:

Æsop / Aesop
archway / arch-way
Cæsar / Caesar
clearcut / clear-cut
Cortés / Cortez
De la Ramée / de la Ramee
highborn / high-born
lifelike / life-like
mediæval / medieval
Nowadays / Now-a-days
Phœbe / Phoebe
retelling / re-telling
rewritten / re-written
Rock-a-by Lady / Rock-a-By Lady / Rock-a-By-Lady
Rumpelstiltzkin / Rumpelstiltzken
subtitles / sub-titles
Thermopylæ / Thermopylae
today / to-day