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peas while she gossips about the things she really cares for. And if they are very good friends she will allow them to take a hand in the morning's work.

In like manner the men who are carrying on great undertakings are usually sensitive about being caught in their working clothes. They “make company” of the public and exhibit only their completed work. Of course that is not what any one wants to see. The political orator will point with pride to what his party has accomplished in the past, while he maintains a decent reserve as to its attitude in regard to the burning questions of the day. This is safe, for dead issues tell no tales, but it is not interesting. Spent deeds and accomplished facts may be arranged neatly for exhibition. But our curiosity is aroused in regard to half-formed purposes, vague aspirations, and unsuccessful attempts. We want to know, not so much what a man has done as what he is trying to do.

One of the simplest of rural delights is that of burning brush. The odds and ends of the clearing are thrown together higgledy-piggledy, till one has satisfied the primaval desire for chaos. Then,

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when the match is lighted, the fire dances like mad through the dry boughs. There is no suggestion of order in the long, uneven tongues of flame. It is only when, in the still air, the fire has burned itself out, that we see any symmetrical arrangement. There is then a circle of ashes surrounded by a circumference of the charred ends of sticks. Each poor survivor points decorously to the centre as if to say, “ There was a hot time awhile

ago, and things looked rather mixed. But discipline reasserts itself, and here we are, all that are left of us, standing decently and in order.”

How perfectly simple old controversies always seem! All the confusing elements were burned up. When we read about them the only wonder is that anybody could have been confused. Yet at the time everybody was taking sides vigorously, and no two persons could agree as to what it was all about. Personal likes and dislikes, prejudices and frailties, religious affections and affections that were not so religious, were all mixed up together.

When we are dealing with human nature at first hand this complexity always appears. Persons who have a love of

system which is stronger than


the passion for reality have a way of putting an orderly arrangement of hard facts in place of vital processes. They look upon the deed as more important than the doer, the thought than the thinker.

This is the molluscous point of view. The mollusk differs from the vertebrate in that he wears his bones on the outside. To him this appears to be the only safe and sane fashion. Presenting an ossified surface to the world, he feels that he is adequately protected from his natural enemies. There is a certain advantage in this, but it has its drawbacks. While his hard exterior prevents the world from getting at him, it also prevents him from getting at the world. A bivalve loses many of those reactions with his environment which are so necessary to the educational process. Therefore bivalves never evolve a civilization.

Institutions, laws, systems, customs, creeds, conventions, are the bony structure of social life. Without them we were jelly-fish indeed, and the

prey of every passing circumstance. But the question is whether they shall be considered from the molluscous or from the vertebrate point of

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view. Shall they serve as a backbone or as a shell ?

It is too late now to lament the invention of the alphabet. It has come and come to stay. But we may confess that the great Illiterates to whom we owe what is fundamental in our laws, our religion, and our poetry, had the advantage of us when it came to getting at the human element in truth. There were no books, but only men thinking; no written creeds, but only men believing; no biographical dictionaries, but only tribal heroes who were remembered. There being no artificial

way of preserving thoughts, they had to use them fresh. Indeed a thought was real to them only while they were thinking it. When they got through with that they had to think of another. They had to make much use of meditation and conversation. In those days the intellectual working classes were not confronted with the idle rich, who live on the unearned increment of the general advance in knowledge and with whom it is “easy come, easy go.” People who had to do their own thinking knew what every thought


We who get our ideas through books and

lectures rather than through the free conversational method, are likely to fall victims to the formality of our instructors. There is a certain finality in a treatise that imposes on us. It is a one-sided performance. The party of the first part has an advantage over the party of the second part and uses it mercilessly. There is a monopoly which results in a restraint of the trade of thinking. The monopolist pushes his own idea, and crowds out all competitors.

. We even get the conception of a thought as a commodity that can be passed from one person to another without losing its value. A publisher working on this assumption advertises a “ Dictionary of Thoughts.” He asks, “ Have you not sometimes felt the need of a thought on some subject ?” Of course we have, and are at once interested. In answer to this felt need he has compiled his dictionary, which contains thirty thousand thoughts of sixteen hundred of the world's greatest thinkers. “When you want a thought look for it just as you would for a word in the dictionary.”

At a time when the cost of living is increasing by leaps and bounds, it is encouraging to find


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