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to your home, your mother, and your tive stylist - messing his music ir friends, and carry in your soul the bedlam, just because he neglected a sweet satisfaction of knowing yourself learn his letters. to have been valiant, pure, and reliant. R is my particular delight, I think

I learn from your mother's letter that I am fond of his appearance, he is s your single blue service star now hangs manifestly an energetic letter, in the window of our lonely home. An- his own feet, — with none of B's fa: other, amid many more, hangs in the comfort or of S's sinuous repose abou vestry of the church. In fancy I shall him. There are many standing letters select the one I call yours; and I shall - A, sturdily astraddle, hands in have faith that, in the midst of the pocket, and F, meditative on one leg. red, which symbolizes carnage, and the and K flinging hilarious legs on the white, which symbolizes purity, your wind. But R is of another mind than period of enlistment will but deepen these: just look at him, erect and huithe blue, which symbolizes loyalty. ted, and tapping the floor impatientiy

with one foot. R is the restless letter.

the Irishman of letters, the essentin THE LETTER R

younger son. R is of the temperament A was an apple-do you remember? of Reuben; and ‘I will arise and gei And B was the fat-legged little glutton 'ence,' says R. G is a moving letter. who bit it, and C, all in pert frills, cut too, but G is a pilgrim. R is a vaga it; and can you turn the remembered bond with the trekking soul. pages and go on? Perhaps modern I found R in the dictionary onceefficiency caught you and handed you a that can be a pleasant bypath if you primer of Modern Philology, and you don't go looking for information. Veros never fingered that blessed Alphabet. are especially revealing about the temPerhaps you gabbled A B C in a Chinese perament of a letter. All R's verbs a?? chorus and never really knew your let- the verbs of purposeful movement ters. Really to know them takes a life- verbs of restless youth and change. B time, of course, but you can glimpse ranges far afield. He is the roamer and their personalities in your early years. the rover. His gait is variable – be And there is such necessity for study- can rush and run and race, or lapse inti ing their stubborn little egos, if you a ramble. For the spice of travel be ever hope to stay on the right side can ride or even roll. R's is the windy of them! Punctuation is treacherous breath of the foot-loose. He blows it in enough, but I know nothing inanimate the face of the restless and whispers that can equal letters, for that sheer 'Rise.' Reveille is the bugle-call of R impish power of revenge. I suppose R is at heart a primitive traveler they have to be prickly to keep their His is the road. He has adopted the personalities intact in all the stupid railroad and the roadster, in this mesituations they are thrust into. But chanical age. But he has never really like all prickly characters, from the taken to the sea, or to any water-wa! great Stickly Prickly down, they repay And the only scion of the house of B watching. I love to see them on their that is concerned with ships is Kenneth best behavior - marshaled in orderly Grahame's Spanish Sea-Rat. He has and docile little rows, each piping his his beasts; his totem protects all those own little note, tractable as an earnest fleet things that run for their living: the little choir. And quite as well I like to rabbit and the rat and the roe. He has see them under the hand of an insensi- his birds. Do you know that sudden

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uail-call — the hwe-heeeeew-hew that the Great Renunciation, and the Great nakes the knee-muscles tighten and Attainment

Attainment - a whole nebula of capihe head lift? What is it but human tal letters. And they are just two orvireless—the dot-dash-dot that is R? dinary Tommies all the time. But what

R is untidy and unprosperous, and is there that's ordinary in the world? zuiltless of the moss that is the reward As we sat overlooking Lens and Vimy of the stay-at-home. He is a frank the other day, the captain and I, there Ragged Robin. But rags have their came up to us an ugly little Canadian ises. They clothe R in romance. One Tommy, astray from the camp below. s a little tenderer with R than with Without the least regard to decencies, ther letters. There is something in- disciplines, 'circles, spheres, lines, ranks, angible about him- perhaps the fra- everything,' he came up to us as bold as zrance of the country of Romany, that brass and entered quite cheerfully into weeter land than Arcady the placid. conversation. When I call up most clearly the in- The captain was staggered, and tried souciant figure of R, he is in gay red; to strike a mien between acquiescence just that red that the gypsiest leaves and a due repressiveness. For it was get before they throw themselves off such preposterous impudence - or it the tree, and the most western string of would have been, if the lad had had the cloud is on the eve of a windy night. slightest idea that it was impudence at And the first real coals of a wanderer's all, or what august proprieties he was cooking-fire. You know. And others violating. But it was immediately clear know. There is that New England that he was perfectly innocent and gypsy-heart who draws the little vaga- naïf: it was like a little new boy cheeribond winds that say 'Rise' most woo- ly engaging the captain of the eleven ingly, and she colors them red. There in chat, without the slightest notion of is that gypsy-foot in Old England who the enormity he was committing. Of chants before the gods of the trail course, had this not been so, and, of as the Red Gods. Dunsany the Irish- course, had he been English, he would man, though, has made the real deity not have been allowed to go on another of R, and set him idol-wise for all the minute. As it was, we tried cold, short lovers of R forever. And do you think answers, unresponsive without being that the troubling God Roon, out of positively crushing. It was not the least Time and the Gods, by any other name use: he babbled on at us, quite unchillwould smell as strange? I don't. But ed. We then tried flight, but he purthen, I am a lover of R.

sued us; we scattered across the face of the moorland, but he would not be de

tached. Finally, we gave up and colTHE VOID OF FEAR

lapsed under a grassy trench-ridge, in Take two ordinary Tommies coming front of the view. And he came with down the lane. Some people would see us, and sat down gayly at our side, and them only as a brutal and besotted prattled along undaunted. soldiery,

or at best, as no-account And then, at last, I began to undercreatures, who drop their aitches, stand the hectic fever of his speech, not interesting or notable in any way. and his hungry, undefeatable cordialAnd when I see them, it is the Im- ity. That poor little soul was face to mortality of the Soul, and the Vision of face with the extremity of mortal terthe Future, and the Glory of England, ror. This was his very first day up and the Marvelousness of Man, and the front, it appeared; he did not know


a single soul, had not a single friend

THE ASTRONOMY OF FICTIC or even an acquaintance to talk to everything was utterly strange to him, I stood in the gathering dusk filled with the void of fear. For there my back to a lamp-post and gazec before him was Vimy Ridge, on which Venus, a little above the western his only brother had been killed a few A policeman passed and observed : months earlier, and now lay namelessly casually. Before long he was back to buried; and down in front of him was way and I was still there. This to Lens, a smashed-up skeleton of an- he eyed me with more interest, guish and death: and all that fearful I thought, a shade professionally. 1 landscape empty of everything but reassure him I said: waste and murder and martyrdom. It 'Good evening. Are you familiar w was out into that that he himself was the points of interest around here? to go, at any moment. He was frantic "Well, pretty much,' he answer to hold on to the light and warmth of amiably, plainly relieved to find tha: life a little longer while it lasted. seemed to be neither in need of

He knew, and we knew ourselves, post's support nor bent on burglary. that in a few days he would almost cer- 'Can you tell me what that highi tainly be dead. We were human be- over there?' I asked him. ings like himself, and he did not care He looked at the glorious plan: who or what: he merely craved the just ready to dip from sight, and the warm-bloodedness of our presence, and at me. "That ain't no light; that's the sound of human speech going on star,' he said in a voice a trifle nett continually to drown his own thoughts. as if he suspected that I was trying It is a dreadful thing, that high ex- joke. Which I was — feeling just a

a tremity of suffering which feverishly that time a sort of doggish waggishna hides behind a curtain of prattle. One 'Is it?' I returned. "What is to hears the silence inside, and the deadly name of it?"

? cold. Yet what can one do? Utter- Now he was clearly disgusted. 4 most loneliness is the place where we all I got too much to do to keep track live, when the big things come along. the names of the stars,' he answere

We bore with him, in a dull, useless and he started on, swinging his da ache, realizing impotently the clutch- and doing nothing else all through t ing agony of his need to stay linked

gorgeous night. on; in face of which, one could only be And I wondered, if I should have inarticulate at the best. And at last asked the question of the first hundred he got up with a wrench, and said that citizens who passed me, how man ‘a man down there' (the only person, it would have given me a truer answer seemed, he had spoken to out here yet, Astronomy, I believe, is called the and he had no notion more of him, or most exact of the sciences. And it : who he was) had said that he ought to one at least of the most fascinatin: be back in camp at such a time. even to a smatterer - and I am

It was a relief at last to have some- more than that. Its fundamentals are thing we could say. We all wished him simplicity itself; they are more open i good luck, as he went. 'Good luck, you us than those of any other science fellows,'he answered breezily; and van- they are before us continually. But ished over the brow of the hill, dark the average intelligent person appears against the glare of the west.

to be far more indifferent to them than We, ourselves, went down soon after. to the dirt under his feet.

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What better proof of this than in our to write about except the infidelities of lovels? Take the moon, for example. the married, I was not greatly disšurely, the reading public would rise tressed. But my feelings were lacerip against the way novelists treat the ated when I read in a late book by a noon if it were not equally careless of talented English author a woman her goings and comings. She is the who stands in the very front rank of nost familiar thing to us in all nature living novelists, and this her master- much more so than the sun, for we piece and one of the most absorbing 'an rarely ever look at him at all. Her stories I ever read — the following iabits throughout the ages are so ex- (the time was the dusk of evening): ict that astronomers can calculate ‘Low in the east, entangled in a clump >clipses closely years in advance of of hawthorn, a thin moon hung blurred them. Yet the simplest and most man- as if seen through tears.' ifest of these habits seem to be about In the east! Of all places for a thin as comprehensively grasped by the moon to hang at dusk! If she had put general run of novelists as the idiotic it right in the north she would have fourth dimension.

been nearer to nature, for it would not Here are a few examples, from among have been so far away from where it those I have found in my more recent ought to have been. In the east, and reading, of this violence to the moon in the evening, any moon that is behav- to her reputation in the matter of ing itself is always pretty full. sane and steady habits:

In A Bewitched Ship, an old sea Stevenson, that master of romance, story that I recently chanced to take has a scene in Prince Otto in which up, written by the late W. Clark Rusthe time being somewhere between sell, who himself had been a sailor (and midnight and two o'clock - 'a thin sailors are supposed to be obliged to shaving of new moon had lately risen. know some astronomy), I ran across

It was only on my second reading of this: 'There was a nice wind, smooth Prince Otto that I noticed anything sea, and a red moon crowding up over wrong with the arrangement, for the our starboard beam.' The ship was first time I was both ignorant and care- bound for South Africa; so the moon less of the moon's ways. Stevenson's was rising straight up in the west. attention, I have heard, was called to In a recent story by a very popular this impossible performance of a new American author -- one who enjoys moon and he was a good deal plagued a deserved fame for her attainments in about it. For a new moon always rises nature studies occurs the following: after the sun, and is invisible in the ‘The sun went down and a half moon glare. And even an old moon, rising so appeared above the woods across the early, would be far too big to be de- lake.' And a little later: ‘The moon scribed as a thin shaving.,

was high above the trees now.' A popular French author, in a com- It is a painful thing, in view of the paratively recent book, has a “new well-earned reputation of this author moon rise at exactly three o'clock, as an authority, to upset so graceful a when his hero is awakened to resume word-picture of nature. It would all his perilous (and foolish) chase through have been unassailable if she had omitthe Alps after his runaway wife. As ted the size of the moon. But, as can this latter author belongs to that large be proved by any almanac, or by the school of French writers who do not poor, maligned moon herself, when she seem to be able to think of anything is half full she always is on the merid



ian at sunset. So she could not get earth. Both Mars and Venus can r up any higher.

times be said to be near the earth Another gifted American novelist, not at all because they always are ver in a much older book, as cheerfully much nearer the earth than Jupite mishandles the moon in a similar way. ever comes, but because, when at the This truly fascinating story created a greatest distance, they are some five o sensation some years ago, and also, I six times farther away than when ne. understand, a New England libel suit, est. (I speak only in off-hand tertis so faithful and trenchant was her por- for, as I have already confessed, I am trayal of people - not moons. This is more than a smatterer in astronomy what she says: ‘The red sunset had not Jupiter, when most remote from the gone out of the west when we started, earth, is not much farther off, comparand a pale young moon was already tively, than when nearest — the diffe getting up in the heavens; but we could ence, I should say, being rather le see neither fading sky nor rising moon.' than one third his maximum distance

Oh, dear! With all her delightful And Jupiter always shines steady ar wit, and her insight into the human

serene, never with an 'intense' light. heart, she never cared enough to notice such as that of the great stars. that a moon which can be called

young But those are the least important no matter how pale is never ris- the errors. The phenomenon of the ing nor 'getting up in the heavens' sunrise holding the sunset by the han: after sunset, but always going down. is true enough in Russia — but only is

Branching out a little from the moon, summer, when the sun is north of th I will cut short the evidence with what equator. The time the author selecte' seems to me a most remarkable exhibit for it is not more than two months of the astronomy of fiction. It is from from the arctic midnight, and wher The Sowers, by Henry Seton Merri- the opposite condition prevails. In lar

1 man. The scene was Russia, the time October the night would be very long late October (this is important), and and very dark except for his moon ‘Evening was drawing on ...

The about which he apparently forgot be was just rising ... Jupiter - fore he reached the end of his para

! very near the earth at the time graph. As the moon was just risira shone intense and brilliant, like a lamp. when evening was drawing on, it woul. It was an evening such as only Russia have to be nearly, if not quite full, an. and the great North lands ever see, would be shining all night - though its where the sunset is almost in the north is plain that he was attributing a night and the sunrise holds it by the hand.. that 'would never be darker than a Over the whole scene there hung a English twilight' to a closeness of clear transparent night, green and shim- evening to dawn. mering, which would never be darker Now, in venting verbal criticisms or than an English twilight. Later: 'It such slipshod handling of nature by was now dark as dark as it ever novelists, I have encountered no little would be

cold water. The sole province of i' It would indeed be a task to find story, I am told, is entertainment : description couched in more beautiful Moons and such things are merely the terms, but it also would be difficult trivial scenery and minor strokes tha to find more error crowded into so few fill out the human interest and are of words. For one thing, Jupiter is never no real consequence at all

. Not s0,1 ) very near, or comparatively near, the contend - at least, not altogether so,




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