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put their money into cattle, should have fount! themselves most unwillingly among the nominal leaders of this bloody war in which the pace was forced by bad men! Both were killed,— rather, we should say, murdered.
When bad men were at last cornered and faced the "drop," they did not always display the same fortitude as in their careers. One begins to see that the brigand is served by his audacity for some purposes and not for others. It is something of an accident, and that, perhaps, is the kindest explana
tion of an abnormal phenomenon. Some, however, were fearless all through, and jumped from the box with as much bravado as ever a criminal from the cart at Tyburn. "Gentlemen." said Georeg Shears to his executioners, who had put him on a ladder instead ot the usual box, "I am not used to this business, never having been hung before. Shall I jump off or slide oft?" "Jump, of course," they said. "All right," said he. "Good-bye:" and he sprang off with unconcern.
THE NAVIGATION OF THE AIR.
In these days when the talk if not the actuality of human flight is in the air, it is interesting to look back at some of the earlier attempts of man to emulate the bird. The classic myth of Daedalus and his son Icarus shows that the problem occupied the minds of the ancients. We ask, in fact, Is the story merely a myth? May it by any possibility be a reflection of the fact that man in early times really acquired the art of flying? There is no shadowwithout a substance, and the myth is often the shadow of a fact. The myth of Daedalus Indeed must be the shadow of some fact; there is the possibility that it may be the projection on a later age of the earlier triumph of man over the air. Yet no Egyptian papyrus or Assyrian brick cylinder records it; it is not figured in the picture writings of the ancient Mexicans, nor scratched on bone or horn by the cave-dwellers; no Chinese claimant has yet come forward to prove that his countrymen had invented flying machines while yet the now civilized nations of Europe had not emerged from barbarism; all history, in fact, when Interrogated on this point preserves a stony and sphinx-like silence.
"With me your leader," says the
mythic pioneer of artificial flight to his son Icarus, "take your way"—Me due*, carpe viam. And so he calls down the ages to the would-be birds of the present day, offering to show them how to accomplish their wish. Is there, then, anything to be learned by present-day navigators of the air from the work of Daedalus of old? According to the story, Daedalus made for himself wings like those of a bird, and there are many in modern times who have thought that the solution of the problem lay in imitating as closely as possible the fowls of the air. Yet, on the whole, the present state of the theory and practice of aerial navigation seems to indicate that the pathway to success lies rather in the attainment of lighter and more powerful motors.
At the beginning of the sixteenth century an Italian alchemist who had come to Scotland and been made Abbot of Tungland in Galloway made himself wings of the feathers of various birds. He started from the walls of Stirling Castle to fly to France. The wings failed him, however, and he fell, breaking his thigh bone. The enterprising Abbot explained his failure as due to a wrong choice of feathers, lu his wings were some feathers of the common fowl, and their affinity for their native dunghill dragged him down; had they been entirely of eagles' feathers these would have kept him aloft. We do not learn, however, that another attempt was made with wings of eagle-feathers alone. And while Daedalus safely soared over the ocean himself, his son fell into the sea, to which he gave his name, and was drowned. The prospect of man ever being able to fly with wings like those of a bird is not very bright.
About the year 1784 the subject of aerial navigation was occupying a prominent place in the public mind, and Horace Walpole discourses about the ways and doings of the "alrgouauts." as he calls them, in a pleasant and gossipy way. One of the pioneers of the art, the Frenchman Jean Pierre Rlanchard, had just made his first ascent from Paris in a balloon. Blanehard seems also to have intended to attempt actual flying, for he took up with him wings and a rudder. These, however, he found useless. Later he crossed the Channel to England in his aerial vessel. "You see," writes Walpole, in allusion to these events, "the airgonauts have passed the Rubicon. By their own accounts they were exactly birds; they flew through the air, perched on the top of a tree; some passengers climbed up and took them in their nest." He opines, as indeed some have opined lately, that difficulties will arise for the Customs House officials when we all become birds: "The smugglers i suppose, will be the first to improve upon the plan."
The idea of an aerial voyage to Paris appeals to Walpole's fancy: "if there is no air-sickness, and i were to go to Paris again, i would prefer a balloon to the packet-boat, and had as lief roost in an oak as sleep in a French inn, though i were to caw for my breakfast like the young ravens." After watch
ing the descent of a balloon, he amuses himself by meditating on the future of "airgonation." He sees it gradually perfected, displacing navigation and banishing ships to the limbo of things forgotten. Flourishing seaports become "deserted villages" as flying becomes more and more common. Salisbury Plain, Newmarket Heath, and all the Downs, except the Downs where ships had been wont to anchor, become dockyards for aerial vessels. He further imagines a new Shipping Gazette in which the news would be of the following nature: "The good balloon, Daedalus, Captain Wingate, will fly in a few days for China; he will stop at the Mon. ument to take in passengers." "Foundered in a hurricane, the Bird of Paradise, from Mount Ararat." Again in his "mind's eye" Walpole sees the rival airgonauts, Blanchard and Lunardi. engaged in an air-fight in the clouds like a stork and a kite. The breaking up of roads as now useless, and a consequent great increase in the land available for tillage, follows the further development of flying.
A hundred years earlier Bishop Wllkins had written on the art of flying In his Mathematical Magic, and he was also the advocate of a "untversal language." And this latter Walpole opined was calculated to prevent the want of an interpreter when the development of the art of flying had carried him to the moon! At the present day the labors of M. Santos Dumont and the Wright brothers, combined with the development of Esperanto, may serve a like useful end. The need of a universal language, indeed, will be more and more emphasized as the practice of flying increases. in the near future it may be possible to pay flying visits to all the countries in Europe in the course of a summer holiday! in the above Mathematical Magic Bishop Wilkins relates several cases, none of them perhaps very well authenticated, of suecessful flight . A monk named Eremus. for example, in Edward the Confessor's time is said to have flown by means of wings from the top of a tower for a distance of over a furlong. Another bold
spirit is recorded to have flown from the top of St. Mark's steeple, Venice. Bishop Wilkins also quotes Busbequlus to the effect that the Turks made similar attempts in Constantinople.
THE EDiTiON DE LUXE.
"We shan't have room for it," i said.
"But it will look very well," said my wife. "Thirty-six volumes in that handsome red binding would set off any library."
"There isn't a spare foot of room now," i insisted.
"But we always meant to clear away some of the rubbishy books."
"There are no rubbishy books. Thnt's why we've never cleared anything away. Besides, i'm not sure 1 care for every little word the great man has written."
"Every little word," said my wife severely—"every little word written by a man of genins ought to be preserved."
"So it will be," i said, "by those who print this edition and those who buy it; but that's no reason for my buying it."
"That's flippant," said my wife, "and silly."
"Of course, if you begin to be abusive"
"How like a man!" said my wife. "When he's beaten in argument"—she pronounced these words very impressively—"he always says he's being abused."
"Thirty-six fat volumes," said 1.
"But only a pound apiece."
"That's thirty-six pounds," i said, "and for thirty-six pounds we could go to the seaside."
"But we shall get one volume a month, and that spreads it over three years. Once a month for three years
a genins will visit us, and at the end of that time he'll stay with us for ever."
"But you'll get tired of him. When the three years are over you'll store him away in an attic. You'll never look at him. He'll get covered with dust, i don't like geninses when they're covered with dust. i'm not sure i like them when they're quite tidy."
"That," said my wife, "is absurd. i shall fill up the form."
"Thirty-six pounds," i pleaded.
"i've filled it up with your name," she said.
"Forgery," i hinted.
"You should have thought of that," she retorted, "when you married me. 'With all my worldly goods i thee endow'—you can't deny it."
"But i didn't mean it. it was duresse. Besides, there's another bit about obeying."
"Fiddlesticks," said she. "i've put a stamp on it, and i'm going to post it at once."
And she did.
All this happened two years and a half ago. Summer is now approaching for the third time, and through all the changing seasons, month by month, with the impresslveness and regularity of one of nature's immutable ordinances, the stout red volumes have made their formidable appearances. Thirty of them stand in a thick red line on the loaded shelves. On a rough calculation there are more than seven feet of them—and there are six more volumes to come.
Now, to buy a book casually, to buy thirty books at odd times and without previous arrangement, these are easy and light-hearted things that any man may do without impairing the springs of his strength or adding a single gray hair to his head. But to be under a permanent irrevocable contract to purchase a certain sort of book once in every month, to take delivery of it and to pay for it, saps the vitality of the most vigorous being that ever trod u country road. To know that at some time within the first week of every month a heavy postal parcel will be dumped down as if by magic on the hall table and will lie there pleading to have its string cut and its brown-paper unfolded—there's nothing in the whole range of experience to compete with that as a shatterer of nerves and a de
stroyer of happiness. While the parcel lies thus my wife avoids my eye. i believe she goes down in the dead hours of the night to open it and stow it away. She has even gone so far as to assert that she had told me how it would be. adding that she had long since realized how useless it was to dissuade a wilful man from any purpose he had set his mind on. The thlrty-six-volumed genins who was to have been a joy to us has brought us a curse. We have never dared to read him in his new edition. Last night i caught my wife with a thin and handy volume in her hand. it belonged to an earlier edition of our destroying genins. When she saw that i had observed her she had the grace to look uncomfortable and to lay the book down under the concealment of au illustrated paper. And there are six more volumes still to come.
NATURE AND THE SENTiMENTALiSTS.
Of the making of nature-books of the feebly sentimental kind there appears to be no end, but if the study thereof result in much weariness to the public mind, the public has only itself to blame. The remedy, or rather the prevention, lies in its own hand. Though a short-sighted legislature has failed to set any limit to the publication of these green-boarded volumes of ill-digested odds and ends, there is happily no law to compel their persual by the man in the street. Only upon the unlucky reviewer has this irritating necessity been laid; and it is small wonder if. at the end of a long period of such low diet, his old faith in the saving grace of green leaves vanishes, and he finds himself actually revelling in his work-aday smoke and paving-stones, and the reek and roar of London's busy streets.
in the days before Richard Jefferles set the familiar things of the countryside to his own inimitable music, the year's output of natural-history books could safely be placed in one category. it was the era of the scientific botanist, when a hedgerow blossom, however beautiful, was merely an umbelliferum or dicotyledon, or some equally outrageous, dispiriting thing; and the loveliness of a kingfisher, as he glittered down stream like a flying fragment of rainbow, was of less importance than the strict ascertainment of his scientific name. But, for good or for evil, Jefferles changed all that . Now the nature-writer has thrown away his blue spectacles and taken unto himself Parnassian wings. And whereas formerly it was impossible to write of field or woodland life unequipped by at least a
smattering of gardener's Latin, now any suburban poetlcule with an itch for country loafing can lift his scrannel pipe at the odd street corners in newspaper-town, or air his motley ignorance between covers of green art-linen, generally at his own expense.
it is not, however, the ordinary nature-article in the daily Press with which we have our present quarrel. Editors, at least those of the more important journals, have of late years become both wiser and warier, and it is seldom nowadays that these meretricious gentry get past the careful watch set at the redactorial gate. There is no doubt, also, that the bulk of the genuine publishing trade presents an equally impassable barrier to these singers of sick fancies about dandelions, and newts, and such small deer. it is the private publisher, the man of mammoth printing bills and microscopic sales department, who is alike the joy of the pseudo-poet-naturallst and the chief support of the remainderdealer. Turning over a heap of these derelicts, these still-born children of the literary shipyards, one is struck at first glance by their prevailing insensitiveness, their self-complacency, and their utter superficiality of vision amid wild natural things. But what chiefly impresses the town-sick looker-on at this exasperating game is the constant straining after a human interest on every page. Either writer or reader, or both, are being eternally dragged by neck and heels through every daisyfield or briar-patch that lies in the way. it was a favorite doctrine with Jefferles that no unity or sympathy was discoverable between man and wild-nature—from nature's standpoint . He constantly taught that the life of the field and the forest went on irrespective of, and often antagonistic to, the human life that traversed it at every step. Man was the hopeless lover, nature the indifferent, the uncon
scious fair. it is true Jefferies continually went back from this position, and imported the jarring human note into much of his finest work, but his most ardent admirer must concede that the work was all the worse for it. Yet Jefferies' human interest was always reverent and unassuming, if a trifle innocent; while that of the great tribe of fantastic dullards hobbling slip-shod in h is train has an insufferable ' air of patronage and self-importance. in the mind of the reader the same picture is continually and inevitably rising— that of the lord of creation, with long hair and a note-book, throned on the wild-thyme bank, and receiving in turn and at his own majestic pleasure the homage of the birds and flowers and creeping things and the deep obeisance of the forest trees; while, in a respectfully distant circle without, the little hills hop their delightful appreciation, and from afar the great mountains bow their acknowledgments of his gracious presence.
Londoners have long been accredited with an insatiable appetite for this kind of philandering, and, no doubt, it is a pleasant thing to imagine the jaded city worker, cooped up all day long in his stuffy otflce, refreshing himself at eventide with a story of blue hills and country breeezs, unattainable in Brixton or Shepherd's Bush. There is little question that any book on the free natural life of field and hedgerow—an earnest record of things seen and of thoughts arising spontaneously out of a loving study of the great primaeval underflow of creation—must always be like a cup of water in the desert to the enforced dweller in the town. it is very high and worthy art indeed to bring the delectable mountains in fancy to poor Pilgrim, stuck for the time being in his slough of bricks and mortar in default of fifty shillings a week. But, unluckily for the city worker, the otherwise adverse conditions of his life