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"The little queen-for Ikey""

in the parlor, do you? They 're all piled up in a warehouse as big-as big as the school-and-and she 's goin' to send 'em."

"Sure. Rich ladies don't carry dere own stuff," agreed Jacob, son of Rachael, the fish-seller. For had he not been an errand boy in a great Gentile store uptown? "They never carry nottin', even a teeny, weeny t'ing.'

Linked to Becky by this superior knowledge of the social proprieties, Jacob came nearer.

"What she say, Becky, when you ast fur de t'ings?"

"She smiled and she said:

"Sure she did," Becky answered. For a moment Jacob was silent; then a strange gleam danced in his black eyes, and he came nearer still. . "I guess she 'd give you anyt'ing you wanted, huh?"

Becky nodded.

"I'm goin' to ask her fur a new mattress and-and a new dress for mama and a new soup-pot and everything.",

But Jacob had no interest in benefits conferred upon Becky or her mother. A pair of skates, beyond the profits of a fish-stand, gleamed before his eyes. And skates were so near legs!

"I got a nickel, Becky, an' I 'll give

"All right, Becky. I'll send 'em it to yuh if you 'll go and ask her fur round.'"

"Did she give you everyt'ing you ast for?"

dose skates in Bernstein's winder." "No. I would n't go fur no nickel." "Bec-ky,"-little Jenny Marko

witz trembled with fear at the power of Becky's refusal, but she had sometimes helped with the coats, and there was a string of blue beads and only seven pennies toward its purchase. Surely a lady who dressed in silk would understand beads-"Becky, I got seven cents-an' she-likes you. If you tell her I 'm one of your best friends, mebbe she 'll give me those blue beads."

"Will yuh make a job lot, Becky, an' ask fur de t'ree of us at oncet?"

But before Becky could answer, Marian had placed one hand on Becky's shoulder and was demanding: "Becky, what is it you need twentyfive cents for?"

"A little queen. The old man can't give her away or make a special on her even."

"What old man? What are you

A nickel and seven pennies, and a talking about?" little queen cost twenty-five.

Becky shook her head, violently. "What you kids think I am, anyhow? S'pose one them Goy rabbis came out and put a witch on me, like Izzy said? It 's terrible dangerous, and I ain't takin' no chances, not for twelve cents."

It was undeniable; the danger terrific, the price disproportionate. Izzy's trained mind burrowed rapidly in the maze of difficulties, for there was a double-bladed knife that neither chanting nor memorizing of holy writ had wrung from old Moses.

"What will you go fur?" "Twenty-five cents."

Motionless, they stared at her. No financial panic ever so completely overwhelmed the stock exchange. And, then, like some small broker, sinking in the flood, little Jenny began to cry. "Never-no more I can't git'em! Never-no-more!"

"What in the name of mercy is the matter!" cried Marian Armsby as she walked into the circle. "Becky, what is it all about?"

"They want me to go fur twelve pennies, and I got to have twentyfive."

Slowly Izzy's hand moved to the three nickels carefully sewn into his pocket by his mother.

Becky pointed. "There the old man next to the pickles." Becky hurried on breathlessly. "It's the little queen-for Ikey. She 's so-so pretty. He never had nothin' so pretty."

"I see," Marian said, and led the way to the cart, the others following. As he saw her approach, the practised eye of Giuseppe lighted.

"A little Virgin, signorina, a beautiful little Virgin."

"You choose it, Becky, the finest little queen you can find," said Marian.

When Becky had tremblingly pointed out a little queen with only the smallest dent at the very back of her head, Marian took it from Giuseppe and laid it carefully in her arms.

For a moment she stood transfixed; then, clutching the little queen fiercely, she fled before the whole world should crash to bits about her.

Rushing up the stairs and into the room, she shouted:

"Look, Ikey! I brought it—a thing. SHE sent it to you."

"An' she's goin' to gim me my legs back, too." For a long time Ikey fondled the little plaster Virgin. "I can't eat it, I can't wear it, an' I can't hock it," he said; "but, oh, it 's pretty!"

The Spirit of the Woods

A Confession


HE sum of my early religious Mr. Blank dilate on the hot horrors

Ttraining was that everything hus of the world into which we were all

man is bad, and born of the devil. The favorite text was, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked," and the total depravity of human nature was the logical and accepted conclusion.

It was on Sundays that these doctrines were most effectively dramatized. The Sunday routine of my early boyhood, when we lived in Toronto, was to rise as late as we dared, about seven forty-five; read a chapter of the Bible and a psalm, then say private prayers, each of us in his bedroom, before coming down. A long grace before breakfast came next, with solemn remarks on the wickedness of everybody. After breakfast, came family worship. Father would read a chapter or two from the Bible and a psalm of David, and then all would kneel while he read a long prayer, finishing with the Lord's Prayer, in which all joined.

"Now, children, to Sunday school," mother would then say, and we were hurried off to Cooke's Church Mission Sunday School, on Elizabeth Street. It opened at nine-thirty, but we were always ready ahead of time; mother saw to that. Returning from this, we were hustled off to the Street Presbyterian Church to hear the Rev.

we were likely to land. He began at eleven and was supposed to end at half past twelve, but he never did; he always ran over, and it was nearly one o'clock before we escaped. I can see him yet, a hard creature of irreproachable personal life. In his eyes was a gleam of madness. His followers called it inspiration, as he dilated on the immortal glory of the great Calvin who burned Servetus at the stake and set up a devil in place of a wise and gracious Creator.

Arrived at home, we had our midday dinner after a long grace; then mother would say, "Now be sure you are ready for Sunday school." "Being ready" meant learning some hideous garble of doctrine out of what we later called "John Calvin's joke-book," then better known as the "Shorter Catechism." Shorter! Was that shorter?

At three o'clock we had Sunday school in the basement of the old Street Church, and there supposedly for one hour, though really for an hour and a half, we were overwhelmed with the stern doctrines of the time.

At five we would get home. Father, having had a nap, now took a walk, always over mother's protest. She maintained, with a host of texts from the Old Testament, that it was ungodly to

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strike in; the dye must in some measure take. And it did in more than one of my nine brothers. I did not believe that every simple natural thing I wanted to do was evil; I did not love the Sabbath day that had been made hideous or the hell-fire texts and sermons. I did not see anything wrong in taking a walk to see birds and flowers on the Sabbath any more than on any other day. I wanted to be among the wild things of the woods; I loved birds and flowers more than churches and catechism. I got thrills of joy over a new bird, the track of a coon, or any evidence of the wild life all about us. I wanted to know more of these things, and was told that such trivialities were unworthy of a human being with an immortal soul to save. I had better mind my books, and keep my thoughts on the next world. What wonder that, being obviously an outcast, I was possessed of ever stronger repulsion?

By six o'clock we sat down to a long grace and a short evening meal, and by seven we were all of us again at the Rev. Mr. Blank's footstool, listening to his lurid word-pictures of our unspeakable depravity. He was supposed to have need of only an hour, but it was usually near nine o'clock when once more we were home. Then, after a pause, mother would say, "Now get the books." Each of us— there were thirteen children-was equipped with a Bible and a hymnbook. After going through about a dozen hymns and the twenty-third Psalm, father would say, "Now we shall read from the word of God in Chapter" so-and-so. He would read two verses, and the next would read two, and so on twice around. After this all kneeled down once more, with our tired, sleepy little noses rubbed hard into the varnish of the chairs, while he read another long prayer and finished up with "Our Father."

Then mother would say, "Now, children, to bed, and don't forget your prayers.' Yes, another, with another chapter of the Bible, before we dared trust ourselves to our pillows.

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When one is soaked in a conception or doctrine night and day, year in and year out, by parents of irreproachable character and sincerity, it surely must

When at length the inner rebellion shaped itself into action, I was up against stronger powers than my own, and I experienced a crushing defeat. When, therefore, at the age of eighteen a chance came to leave home, I gladly went as one who quits life in a cellar to walk in the open fields.

For a time I lived as a student alone in London, and there I found the library of the British Museum, there discovered the key to the world of wild things. I had not even dreamed that there were books full of the precious facts for which I hungered. But my real life began when I left London for the plains, and there in the wide spaces of the West, where everything was,

without apology, normal and natural, I broke from the hideous teaching that had darkened my childhood, to learn something of the realities of life and love.

Here my natural instincts found free scope, an open field, an ever-widening field. I was like a hawk that had been raised in a cage, and when at last a chance came to fly, I barely knew how to spread my wings. But


The one true faith

spreading my wings strengthened them. I who had groveled in the cellar was in a little while of the West, soaring, rejoicing in the blue.

Again and again I had come up against this strange paradox: my instincts, which were now dominating my life, were better guides than my judgment.

As I traveled and met men of the world, I found many more who were just such freaks as I.

How could this be? Are not our instincts born of us, or of the devil in our hearts, and is not our judgment, our training, our education, our home upbringing? Here was a riddle.

"Were we born in iniquity?" "Is every human impulse the direct inspiration of the devil?" These were questions that would not down. All my early training said, "Yes." All my instincts said, "No." More and more I was coming to trust my instincts. Day after day I rode across the plains, the hills swept by, the steers or the wild game galloped on, and as I rode I pondered. Slowly, very slowly, came the light, and this I take for truth: judgment is only one's personal view, sure to be warped and discolored by early training. Instincts are the

garnered inherited wisdom of all one's forefathers, the creative wisdom that guided the race. And ever I met more men whose instincts were good and judgment was bad, till it seemed to me that nearly all mankind was like myself in this.

Then following this faint, rising dawn in the east, following the roseate glow of what was to me a personally discovered idea, the sun came up in this wise. In Emerson I read, "If you be of good ancestry, cast aside your judgment and trust indomitably to your instincts, and you won't go wrong." Now I could see plainly the landscape through which I had been groping. "If you be of good ancestry, . . . trust your instincts." Is not this the whole thought on which democracy is founded? The instincts of a high-class people are wiser than the wisdom of their temporary leaders. Here lies, perhaps, the secret of Lincoln's greatness. He was the interpreter of the instincts of a great people. Again and again he violated his legal training because he felt that an issue was morally right, though legally wrong. Here I was blindly groping my way toward the thought that Emerson and Lincoln alike had lived, that human instincts are the power that has created the race, the wisdom of all who have preceded us. Surely the idea that these God-implanted impulses were iniquitous was born of a calloused ignorance of the human spirit.

Thus by a long, hard trail was I led to a new thought, a proper respect at least for every strong, deep-rooted human instinct, a realization that the

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