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mously of recent years. When some of us were boys the pale-blue eggs were accorded an honored place in the collection and, speaking from memory, I do not think the bird is even mentioned in that wonderful book White's Selborne. For this increase all fair-minded people have cause to be thankful. Practical agriculturists, who have the prior claim to express an opinion, are unanimous in stating the fact that there is no more useful member of our avifauna—the plover perhaps exceptedthan the starling. We who have no crops to protect from the ravages of the leather-jacket grub and the wireworm may also, for reasons of quite a different kind, rejoice that the starling is more numerous than it was. For my part—and speaking for the nonce as a dweller in cities, though I have good reason to appreciate this bird's services to man in matters agricultural -I like our talkative friend of the house-top best when he cheers our hearts with news of spring. In the increasing sunshine of that season of anticipations and renewed hopes, when the cold gray slates glow again in a shimmer of iridescent reds and blues, and drowsy flies are making silly little trial trips of a yard or so, as though they would thaw the memories of winter out of their awakening lives, the starling comes as a blest messenger of good tidings. He is always there, on the chimney-pot near by, deeply engrossed with the intricate notes of his vernal proclamation, which, however, in the gaiety of his heart, and with a complete indifference for almanacs, he may sing all the year round. Of course the most imaginative ear could never consider the starling's song to be anything more than what it is. In our kindliest moments we must confess that the bird is not a finished artist. An odd medley of other birds' notesoften the harshest and most unmusical -a rattle of castanets, blended with
wheezy ejaculations, a hurried conglomeration of sounds which can only be described as "beaky" and an occasional long thin whistle in a sinking mono tone-all uttered in the order given or in dire confusion comprise the starling's music. It is a song that often goes unregarded by the hustling crowd below, a voice which falls unbeard upon the city's din. A very busy man once told me he thanked beaven for that! But in a more sober moment he readily confessed to owning a sneaking sympathy with the Sunday morning listener who, from the bed-clothes, could hear with delight, in the dim chimney-corner, faint snatches of that incoherent babel speaking to him of the sunshine on the roof. For although the starling may lay no claim to being a "vernal evangelist,” or anything of that kind, although his message may not inspire a poet's soul or inflame a lover's heart, there is a garland of refreshing memories woven in his song which, from the sooty chimney-top, speaks to the sympathetic listener below of the gladness of those green fields which lie beyond the sombre world of roofs. Not the most charming æsthetic sparrow that ever whispered in cockney accents of life and love in a waterspout could ever do half so much as that.
There is one very distinctive feature belonging to all the feathered minstrels of our house-tops, but to the starling in particular, which is, they all love the sun. They worship the sun fervently, devoutly, and everyone who knows what it is to reverence that creator and sustainer of life and most of us do so, though we do not always know it-as Richard Jeffries, for example, reverenced it, must extend a hand of sympathy to our friend on the chimney-pot. For whenever we hear the wild revelry of his pagan music sink down through the roar of great cities, it must send the thoughts back in imagination to that sun-bathed atmos
phere of peace which ever seems to conversations of his best friends and sleep in the lap of the green country, and relations, proclaim from the housetops most of all in the seclusion of those the gentle love secrets of the blackbird, dear old English gardens where lichened. or mimic amid the turmoil of Oxford apple trees lean beneath the weight of Street the lonely cry of some moorland kindly years, where there are borders curlew. That he possesses a sense of of untended flowers, rich with their humor few people who have studied “homely cottage smile,” and sun- his cosmopolitan ways can doubt and, warmed roofs under whose red-green like others of his tribe, he has been tiles generations of little starlings have known to forget himself so far as to been born.
talk. Few birds could have so quickly Witty and garrulous, the light-hearted adapted themselves to altered condistarling has all the interesting attribu- tions of life as the town starling has tions which belong to that race of done. Resourceful and clever to an ancient and noble lineage to which he amazing degree, he has climbed the belongs. His good humor-save when ladder of that higher evolution which the pinch of winter makes him a little I have already mentioned with extrapeevish with his neighbors—is in a per- ordinary rapidity and it seems ennial condition of effervescence. He though he would, before very long, is the jester among birds. Never at a prove to be more than a match in the loss for a topic with which to enter- race for life for his compatriot the tain his loquacious nature he will, ubiquitous sparrow. with evident satisfaction, parody the
A. T. Johnson. The Outlook.
AT THE SIGN OF THE PLOUGH.
BY VISCOUNT ST. CYRE8. 1. Which of the various pieces of bles in disposition which of the parts good advice given her did Alice find of speech? it hardest to put into practice?
7. Who moved even more delicately 2. Whose performance on what in
than the White Rabbit, and why? strument reminded whom of his 8. In what respect did the Baker rehappy youth?
semble the Fat Boy in Pickwick? 3. For how many haddocks' eyes 9. Who, by what transposition of a might the Aged Man have bought a popular maxim, might have consoled remedy for one of his ailments?
the cook for the gardener's mistake? 4. How may the apple inside a dump
10. What kind of an animal might ling be otherwise described ?
Alice, who heard the Gnat talk long 5. Give a short and unlikely query
before she set eyes on it, have fairly addressed to one who has been of- imagined it to be? fered undesired refreshment.
11. Had the mouse possessed the tal6. Which prominent character resem- ent of a dramatist, what might it 'I. "Alice in Wonderland."
have made of the Norman Conquest? II. “Through the Looking Glass," and
12. Whose lung capacity was inferior III. “Rhyme? and Reason?" comprising *Phantasmagoria" and "The Hunting of the to the Knight Mayor's own? Snark."
The Cornhill Magazine.
BOOKS AND AUTHORS.
The latest addition to the "Wisdom -fire, explosions and the deadly of the East" series (E. P. Dutton & gases; and he tells the story with sinCo.) is "The Bustan of Sadi.” This gular directness and simplicity, with eminent Persian mystic is already rep- no attempt at literary embellishment. resented in the series by his “Rose It is a story of vivid and compelling inGarden" but this second volume is wel- terest and every word bears the imcome. It contains many bits of eth- press of truth. The Houghton Mifflin ical wisdom which are not outworn, Co. though they were written nearly eight hundred years ago. This sentiment Mrs. Olive Schreiner's “Woman and on the training of sons, “A boy who Labor” (Frederick A. Stokes Company) suffers not at the hands of his teacher is not merely a record but itself an exsuffers at the hands of Time," suggests pression of the growing unrest among curiously Solomon's more terse injunc- women. That Mrs. Schreiner would tion, "Spare the 'rod; spoil the child." be extreme in her views upon this and
allied subjects might safely have been Dr. William Jewett Tucker's little predicted. She is plain-spoken to the volume on "The Church in Modern So- point of daring; her style is passionate, ciety" (Houghton Mifflin Co.) is a sug- not to say pyrotechnic. To people of gestive and stimulating statement of calm minds it may not seem that things the needs and possibilities of the are in quite so desperate a condition church to-day. Dr. Tucker takes a as Mrs. Schreiner depicts them; nor hopeful view of the future of the that the average woman is in quite church: the immediate necessities the position of parasitism which she which he urges as paramount are the affirms. But for those who like frenzy ministry of spiritual authority and in argument, this is the sort of book the ministry of human sympathy. In- they will like; and, after all allowance cidentally, Dr. Tucker emphasizes both is made for exaggeration of statement the duty which the churches owe to and excess of emotion, there remains a the immigrant, and the re-enforce- residuum of truth sufficient to give ment which the immigrant may be to pause to the thoughtful. the churches.
J. A. F. Orbaan's volume on "SixThe recent tragic mining disasters tine Rome," published by the Baker at Throon, Pennsylvania, and Little- and Taylor Company, is a detailed and ton, Alabama, lend special timeliness diverting study of the memorials and to Joseph Husband's “A Year in a monuments by which the impress Coal-Mine.” This is a record of per- which Sixtus V. left upon Rome may sonal experiences in a coal mine in be traced. It is written in a whimthe middle West. The author, within sically leisurely style, which suggests a a few days after his graduation at Har- writer thoroughly in love with his subvard, began work an unskilled ject, yet not too much so to be unable workman in this mine, and for a year to hold it off now and then and conpassed through all the adventures and template it with an amused exaggerahardships of the oddly-assorted gang tion of its importance. A large part of men engaged in working it. He of the book, naturally, is occupied with encountered all the perils of the work, the two chief memorials of the Sixtine
era, the Sixtine chapel, and the Vati- world would have missed The Trav. can library; but the author extends his eller, The Deserted Village, She Stoops researches in various directions, taking to Conquer, and The Vicar of Wake in panels and paintings and streets field. From his point of view the and monuments and even subjecting to name of Goldsmith is "the best bescrutiny the Pope's accounts. One loved in the long roll of English literachapter is devoted to the Pope's archi- ture," and it is in this spirit of unmeastect, Domenico Fontana, and his ured yet not undiscriminating enthusiachievements,-in particular, the trans- asm that this charming biography is ference of the obelisk of the Vatican; written. E. P. Dutton & Co. and another to the destruction of Septizonium. Altogether the author gives The boy whose curiosity is piqued us a charming picture of sixteenth-cen- by the title of George Cary Eggleston's .tury Rome and the thirty or more full- latest story for boys, “What Happened page illustrations add to the attract- at Quasi,” will find, on reading the iveness of his descriptions.
book, that a good many things hap
pened there, and that, although some Biography now-a-days, like most of them had a flavor of peril, the group other things, is done in a hurry; and a of four school chums who participated really leisurely biography has come to in them emerged from their expebe so rare that Frank Frankfort riences of camping and cruising none Moore's “The Life of Oliver Gold- the
for their adventures. smith,” with its nearly five hundred oc- Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Company, tavo pages, will seem to many readers who publish the book, publish also this almost appalling. But whoever will spring two other books for 'boys: take the time to read it, even curso- "Dave Porter and his Rivals,” the sevrily, will find it a discriminating and enth volume of Edward Stratemeyer's sympathetic study of Goldsmith's life “Dave Porter” series, 'in which is a and character and a just appreciation fresh instalment of boarding-school of his writings. Mr. Moore observes athletics and other boyish experiences; reflectively, as he nears the end of his and "Camp St. Dunstan" by Warren story, that if one takes a bird's eye L. Eldred, in which readers who folview of the career of a man of genius, lowed the spirited and humorous ache sees without difficulty the numerous count of the “Crimson Ramblers" in mistakes which he made, the various an earlier tale will find that group of pitfalls into which he went headlong, jovial youths enjoying the delights of and the wrong turnings which he took. a summer camp in Maine. The book The course pursued by a man of gen- is cleverly written. It is full of incijus, he goes on to say, in his walk dent and also full of fun. For small through the world, is usually zigzag; girl readers, the same publishers send but one has only to draw a pen from out "Maisie's Merry Christmas" by angle to angle to straighten it out, and Nina Rhoades, containing three stories when one has done this one sees in a and constituting the tenth volume of moment the track that he would have the "Brick House Books”; and for followed if he had been a man of wis- older girls a new “Pansy" book, "Lost dom instead of a man of genius. Mr. on the Trail," a tale of the far West, Moore traces this track, but he loves the small heroine of which makes the man who took the zigag path too her way safely through many dangers, well to wish that his life had been dif- physical and moral. A new and atferent lest, haply, in that case, the tractive edition of Mary Hartwell
iu a book on “Rousseau and Romanticism." Houghton Mifflin Company.
Catherwood's story of the middle West, “Rocky Fork," comes from the same house.
The illustrations are by Frank T. Merrill.
Professor Irving Babbitt's “The New Laokoon" is defined in its sub-title as “an essay on the confusion of the arts." It derives its first title from the fact that it is at once a discussion and an extension of Lessing's “Laokoon” published a century and a half ago. Lessing dealt with the confusion of the arts of the poet and the painter, and was thought, to have dealt a deathblow to descriptive poetry. But Professor Babbitt holds that the effect of his book was much exaggerated and that in fact "the nineteenth century witnessed the greatest debauch of descriptive writing the world has ever known” and that it witnessed moreover a general confusion of the arts. Studying first the “Laokoon" as a problem of comparative literature and describing the confusion with which Lessing dealt as a pseudo-classical confusion, Professor Babbitt proceeds to consider the confusion of the arts now prevailing, which he terms a "romantic confusion,” and undertakes to discover and define principles which may be opposed to it. To this interesting study he brings the fruits of years of research, reflection and class-room experience. His view is that “a clearcut type of person" will normally prefer a clear-cut type of art or literature, and will not care for theatrical sermons, or for a play that preaches, or for an historical novel in which history is travestied without any gain for fiction, or for a symphony which depends for its comprehension upon some picture or poem, or for a painting that is a mere transposition of a sonnet, or a sonnet that is a mere transposition of a painting. Professor Babbitt promises a further expansion of these views
Professor Simon N. Patten's “The Social Basis of Religion" (The Macmillan Company) challenges attention by this conspicuously-printed preliminary dictum: "Sin is Misery; Misery is Poperty; the Antidote of Poverty is Income." This series of moral equations will scarcely pass undisputed, for it sin equals misery and misery equals poverty, does it not follow, since equals of the same thing are equal, that poverty equals sin; and, further, that, if income is the antidote of poverty it is also the antidote of sin; and, further, that the greater the affluence of an individual, the greater his virtue? But that is a conclusion which is not sustained by observation or experience. Professor Patten's work, however, is not to be disposed of by criticism of this somewhat puzzling sentence which lies upon the threshold. His book is a serious and closely reasoned statement of the problems of life and religion as related to social processes and development. Religion, he maintains, does not begin with a belief in God, but with an emotional opposition to removable evils. Social activity assumes a religious form when men recognize that they sink through degeneration and may rise again through regeneration. “So long as men hope to be better and fear to become worse, religion cannot die out." And the conclusion which he reaches is that "A movement in thought is coming that will force religion to discard traditions and dogmas that separate from other social ideals. The blending of all social aspirations is but a matter of time. When it comes, social religion will have its full growth and be the expression of the forces that upbuild men and make social thought dominant."