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you two hundred dollars," he
And then she lifted me to her said. “That amount will pay your
lap, drew the bowl to her, and put way out to some strange place, and it into my eager hands. My little keep you for a time. Then you must heart almost stopped beating. Joy do the best you can.”
surged through me; wonder held me, Paul stood waiting. But as his father awe because I was allowed to let my didn't seem inclined to speak again, eager, sensitive fingers caress the bowi. he walked toward the door. “Come, Also a passion of gratitude filled me Frances," he said, and I followed him for Aunt Betty's confidence in my power out.
to hold the bowl safely. I couldn't have So we were married the next day by dropped it then; I should have died a justice in a town you reach after a long rather than let it slip from my clasp.... trolley ride. Then events gathered As the train whizzed on, I thought, quickly. We told you of our marriage. too, of that June day in our garden, I packed my trunk, said a frozen when you wouldn't let me touch the good-by to you and father, and that bowl-you know what I mean, mother same night we took the train for this dear! You answered my boundless little town.
curiosity about life by advising me not During the entire journey Paul and I to think about such matters then! You sat silent, looking aimlessly out the win- put up restrictions, gave me rules to be dow. I felt just as I used to when I followed, when what I wanted was to
a little girl and for some mis- know! Well, perhaps mothers fear, for demeanor you had sent me upstairs to some reason that I, of course, can't know, bed. Just as then, I felt dreadfully to tell the truth to their little girls; but alone, and did not understand exactly the tragedy here is that the young rebel why punishment had befallen me. I re- against mere restrictions. They want called one particular crime for which knowledge. you punished me when I was about I'll spare you the details of how we four years old. You had told me re- settled in our little home; of Paul's peatedly that I must not touch a cut- searching for and finally securing a posiglass bowl you kept in the middle of the tion--as helper to the transplanter in the dining-room table. And with all my large greenhouses which give the town soul I wanted to get close to the bowl, its name. He arrives home every evento put just the tips of my fingers on ing, usually very tired, but always smellits crusted surface. So one day I obeyed ing fragrantly of a thousand flowers. We the driving desire, and climbed onto a don't find much to talk about; I think chair; but at the critical moment, when we both still feel
little strange I was stretching high for attainment, together. you entered the room, and without a But tonight when he came home, I word, you took me by the hand and felt that he was in a rebellious and bitter led me upstairs to bed.
mood. He is kind to me, but indifferent, And the very next day you were called perhaps because of this very strangeaway and your sister, my aunt Betty, ness, and I know he secretly frets about came to take care of me. Human desire the downfall of all his aspirations. He and human curiosity, being stronger than is still very young, while I have lived a any reason you had given me for not hundred years, I think. He sat down to touching the alluring bowl, sent me again the dinner I had prepared, and while he to gaze upon it-and to fulfil my object, was eating his pudding we heard a little if I might. But again detection stole sound. Something or some one was upon me. I looked up to find Aunt pushing open the kitchen door. Betty regarding me; but with a smile! Having no fear of intrusion from
"Isn't the bowl beautiful?" she asked. strangers, I sat quite still, and presently
tered the room. He came straight
I'll take the child home. I'll be to me, and as he neared me, I recognized gone over an hour, so you'll have him as the baby of a distant neighbor. plenty of time to write a long letter."
He was tired and dirty, and had been So I have written. But one more crying, poor little fellow! Clearly he word. Your faith in me, mother dear, wanted his mother. My heart went was perhaps beautiful, but blind-pitiably out to him, and in a moment I had him i blind! And if this little one coming to folded close to me. As he nestled down me be a daughter, I pray I shall not be against me, for the first time since my blind. But I believe my scorching excoming here I was filled with peace and perience has opened my vision; for at a kind of happy anticipation.
least I shall know my child to be human, I hushed the child against me, and soon with human frailties, human curiosities. he went to sleep, a sobbing sleep. I had I shall not believe that simply because quite forgotten Paul; but at last I felt she is a daughter of mine, the tragedy his gaze. "You've been lonely, Frances, which befell my neighbor's child could he cried. “Lonely and unhappy!” not possibly befall mine! I did not answer.
For I know how terribly helpless a “I've been thinking only of my side,” young girl is, how woefully unequipped, he continued. He left his place then when she is told simply that she mustn't and came to me, and stood looking down do this and she mustn't do that, but at the little tear-stained face at my never told why. I know how bewildered breast. “And yet you had to leave every- she feels when, as she grows older and body and come with me out here alone.” is allowed intimate contact with boys, We were both silent then, but drawn emotions, the meaning of which she closer than ever before. After a time doesn't remotely know, sweep in on her. Paul went on: “I never realized till There shall be no such wall of mystery now that a child really is coming to us. between my daughter and me. I shall It doesn't seem possible.”
try to establish a bond between us that I nodded. “And we'll have to take will draw her frankly to me in every percare of it and teach it-oh, teach it plexity. She shall not be harassed by the many things” And then I just seeming paradoxes of life. She shall not, couldn't keep the tears back.
I promise you, be allowed to face tempPaul took the sleeping boy from me tations unprepared; for, well-reared or and put him down on the lounge near not, every girl does face real temptations the window. When he returned, he knelt in her intimate, unchaperoned associaand put his arms about me, and he was tion with boys. She shall know why it very comforting. It seemed as though is best to avoid even the appearance of I had been aching to have some one hold evil. Too, she shall learn that she is the me; to have some one care for me again. daughter of thousands of men and We had come through deeps to this mo- women, all swayed by emotions that ment of understanding, of seeing clearing. make the race go on; that she is not
After a long, sympathetic silence, Paul exempt from the rush of such emotions, said: “Wouldn't you like your mother but that she must harness them, give them to be with you-next month?”
proper place, till the beautiful time comes, “I daren't think how greatly I want the time of marriage and motherhood. her,” I said. “But do you think she I hear Paul's step. So, mother, good would come to me, Paul?”
night. And though I ask of you noth"I don't know," he said gently; "you
you ing but what in freedom and love you see, I never had a mother that I can can give, I shall watch every mail till I remember. It must be great to have
hear from you. a real mother!" Then after a while:
blood of the hero element in the literature of the past, and everything is being over-edited. In our writing for children, we are trying to close our eyes to the savage in the
What Do Children Read?
By Montrose J. Moses
The book-stalls for the year now at hand are laden with the widest variety of stories
T the present time the state of gives him a greater incentive to go on and
children's literature is aggravated on. And if, through guidance, he does not by adult theory, and conflicting reach the mediocre story first, he will reach
advice comes from every quarter. it last-or at least he will go on and on until I once heard a priest, whose boys were of his taste is satisfied. the slums, complain that he saw no reason Really, the difference between a supposed why libraries should try to prevent a child classic on Captain Kidd and a healthy, from reading any kind of story, provided melodramatic story on Captain Kidd is not it was not vicious. Advocate though I am so great in quality that it matters very of the very best that is written, there is truth much which version is read first. The difin his claim. Two things every boy seeks to ference is a matter of literary expression, satisfy: his dreams, which may be high or of the writer's art; and the democratic low; and his ambitions, which usually seek crowd of readers cares nothing for the art expression through action of some kind. If just so the content is stirring. It is surhe dreams of pirates, he wants any book he prising, even though we go on that principle, can reach on the subject of pirates; and how much good writing one finds in the when he is done with the best one, it only children's books published each year. The
average child's story-and as a matter of written every day. If we are anything, we fact, the average adult's story as well- are contemporaneous; we live in the age simply serves as an outlet for the energy of news. Therefore our literature is newsy. which is in him, and for the vital movement It is right that the bulk of it should pass of events around him.
away with the months. I am almost I have passed through slum districts and willing that the publisher of “juveniles ” have watched small girls, dirty, with raucous should put forth six mediocre books to voices, dancing gracefully before a hand- cover the manufacturing expenses of someorgan; I have passed newsboys "shooting thing really lasting. And if you criticize craps” on the door-step. To such as these our books from the standpoint of mediocrity I would not deny the best literature, but of style, this is not an age of style but of I am more and more convinced that such as statement and of doing. The mediocrity these are not prepared to respond immedi- of expression such as we have reflects our ately to a refined style. Rough in outlook, culture. uncouth in manner, barbaric in expression,
The Twice-Told Tales they need a literature more in accord with their untrained understanding. Yet edu- In our children's literature, however, cators are denying that the boy has a right there is a tendency to write down to a level to the red blood of the hero element in the of juvenile comprehension." How many literature of the past, and everything is “Gullivers,” “Robinson Crusoes," and being over-edited. In our writing for "Swiss Family Robinsons” have you seen
children, we are trying to close our eyes to retold? How many Bibles rewritten for the savage in the youngster.
the comprehension of the young? The fact There are theories that the child should is that all of our children's literature fits not be brought in contact with fear. He is their comprehension too snugly. I believe supposed to become fearless through the in “Gulliver” as Swift told it; I believe in absence of any disturbing element in the Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe"; I believe in books he reads; but he is not brave in the the original “Swiss Family Robinson," sense that what he reads trains him to of Wyss --with just enough editing to lend meet fear bravely. The sooner we realize action to the narrative. If the classics are that there is an educative value to fear, to be retold, let them be retold by word of the stronger will be the literary expression mouth. I would have the story-hour in the in the books our children read. Fairy home, the school, and the library crowd out tales are now pruned, and the lives of our the published rehash of a book. legendary heroes are shorn of those dra- This is my conservative self speaking. matic climaxes which have kept them alive But when I view the demands of democracy, through the ages. Some people point to I find that much of the value of these origthe primitive form of “Little Red Riding inals depends on a comprehension of style, Hood” with a shudder, and blue pencil and the crowd does not care for style. Some
a the story so that the wolf is deprived of theorists will say, if you cannot have the a wholesome meal. There are others who original, do not have any. But the chap even frown at “Mother Goose." Said of the tenement might grow up in ignorance the one-time Archbishop of Dublin, refer- of “Robinson Crusoe" if it were not told ring to "Old Father Long-Legs," "There to him in a manner as glaring as that of his in that nursery verse you may sce an epit- five-cent library. Where a child can underome of the history of all religious persecu- stand even the tenth part of the original, give tion." Said another iconoclastic critic, him the original; but where a retold version “The jingles consist of the most wanton, is told, be sure that it is as clear, as steadrestless acts, with abominable reasons ad- fast in its intention, as free from error, as duced therefrom." Yet the jingles persist the original. I have read garbled versions through some indefinable quality which one of Shakespeare twice as obscure as anycalls vitality in literature.
thing in Shakespeare. I even have my There is fear expressed for children's doubts as to the efficacy of Charles and literature simply because there are so many Mary Lamb's "Tales from Shakespeare," books published each year. Is it that as much as I love it. It is not necessary every book should be a classic? Lucky to give a child Shakespeare until he is of indeed if each year discovers to us six books years to appreciate the story element in of semi-immortal worth! Classics are not the plays. Lamb is a good introduction,
but turn the child loose in the original soon. library, however, through judicious advice, That's what used to be done in days of old; cannot turn the average boy toward the and there are those of our elders who found best that has been written, I do not see why time to read Shakespeare and Harry Castle- that boy should not run the gamut of Henty mon and Oliver Optic at the same time. or Brereton or Stratemeyer if he wants to,
even though after he is through he will have Current Juveniles
only a Henty and a Stratemeyer taste. I It is true that mediocrity marks the do not see why a girl should not have as average child's book, especially in the field
many “weepy" stories as her craving seeks. of fiction. But mediocre though the fiction A boy won't be bored, and he won't wade may be, the girls' stories bring manners into through style for style's sake alone. A girl's homes where manners are crowded out by endurance is limited, and she finally comes the stress of living; the boys of the street to the bottom of her tears. Tomlinson and have their viciousness directed into channels Altschuler and Dudley and Barbour are of manliness, and are shown bravery which healthy for the average boy; while Marion no longer spells bullying. I am an advocate Ames Taggart, Annie Fellows Johnston, of style and a believer in the story that lives. Etta A. Baker, and a dozen others bring But librarians know that such effective brightness and sprightliness into many a pieces of writing as Stevenson's “Treasure dingy home. Island” and Norman Duncan's “Adven
The Spirit of the Times tures of Billy Topsail” remain on the circulating shelves, while flimsy stories of We may believe that the dead level of forest and field are worn threadbare in the our fiction for children is due to the evercourse of a few months. Both of those widening problem of democracy; but how classic books contain the penny-dreadful much better it is than the stories of days element in them-enough red blood to gone by, when there was a pernicious satisfy the biggest “crap-shooter”—but it specializing of literature for the pooris the style which militates against them. books and small tales which quibbled in
Our schools are to blame for this indif- morals and flaunted class distinction! ference to style. I am of the opinion that The modern child's interests are largely the matter-of-factness of our text-books practical, and I do not believe I am far destroys, or docs not serve to awaken within wrong when I state that most of our yearly the child, any warm response. And re- deluge of children's literature deals with the sponse is the basis of appreciation. Only romance of that practicality. Not only is when the school improves its supplementary the boy given books treating of the developreading can we hope for an improvement ment of aeroplanes and of battleships, but in taste; only when the school turns to the he is likewise given stories which reveal imagination as an asset will the higher supposititious cases under which these quality of our literature manifest itself. latest marvels might prove of use to the
The boys and girls, therefore, who pore hero, or the hero to them. If Peary turns over the countless stories of average style toward the North Pole, the newspaper are at least gleaning from them a manner accounts are converted by the dexterous which modern life needs. They are given author into an intimate narration of events adventurous stories of mountain and cañon, as witnessed by the youthful hero who was of valley and plain, of battleship and flying Peary's right-hand man. There is no tellmachine, written with a realism and with ing the number of Panama Canal stories an accuracy every bit significant enough to scheduled for sale for this year, or stories impress them with a newspaper knowledge dealing with the efforts of the Boy Scouts of what the world is about. There are and the Camp-Fire Girls. two qualities in such fiction that commends There are three elements which regulate it: cleanliness and, generally, accuracy. the character of juvenile literature: jourTo some extent, they over-indulge a child's nalism demands an up-to-dateness in fiction; curiosity by passing from one volume into education exacts accuracy; scholarship a series of any number of volumes; and results in a zealous exploitation of sources that is where the mediocre bulk of our beyond the demands of child interest. Of juvenile literature arises. As a matter of the latter there is much to be said. The statistics, I find 673 volumes credited to majority of strange folk-tales, legends, only sixteen series in one catalogue. If the fables, and religious superstitions served