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matters will reveal such similarity of likes and dislikes as to show a valid reason for the criticism. Cold, sombre or subtle things attract him not. It is his metier to respond, not to interpret, and art may ask much from his feelings, but no new effort from his mind. The dividing line betwixt pain and pleasure is much sharper in youth than in maturity, and clearer, truer. Work is called work, play is known as play. A book that exacts hard thinking cannot delude infantile fancy by indulging in an occasional pleasantry. Emotion is king in the realm of childhood's tastes. The demand a child makes of a story is that it shall have vitality, the warmth that can kindle interest. Humor, pathos, or a lively bit of description stir him more than older readers, because his susceptibility has not been dulled by abuse. Whatever is presented in clear relief appeals successfully to young, fresh fancy. But an author must keep firm hold of his subject and indulge no soaring propensities.

Do we undertake to transport a child from the family sitting-room to the country on a May day, we must make the grass grow under his feet, show him the apple blossoms so that he gets the effect of their pinkness, and put such life into the lambs that his own limbs frisk in sympathy. And all this must be made vivid by a few words. Would the most critical taste ask more than is here demanded by innate feeling for the beautiful? Lengthy descriptions make him as impatient as they do Bourget, and he asks for such an artistic reproduction of a scene as may nail his attention fast. If too much is said he ceases to attend, and with better sense

than we usually dare to exhibit in the same case, leaves the story for another more graphically set forth.

Flaubert made young Maupassant write a description over and over again, until he could exclaim, "Now I see it!" And if any writer had the humility and shrewdness to go to school to an intelligent six-year-old child, he might get the same kind of discipline. Spencer's masterly essay on "The Philosophy of Style" hits the child's notions precisely. There must be no strain upon the reader's understanding, but everything be presented in such a manner that it may be comprehended without much effort. Few words, but those few filled with meaning; a cunningly conceived plan that shows worth from the start and does not tire as it unfolds. Let the matter be what you will, only related to something already experienced, that as the child reads he may have the gratification of exclaiming from time to time, "Yes, that is so; I know that already." This remark is high approval.

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There are children who take a kind of pleasure, I am told, in tickling their ears with the sound of rhythmical phrases; a baby of two years. who listened in delight to Tennyson's "Sweet and Low," and other precocious poets who sigh over "Thanatopsis"; but we must regard such manifestations of preference for the incomprehensible as marks of an exceptionally gifted intellect. Most intelligent young people under a dozen years, when childish tastes begin to change, have a hunger for what is vivid and present; choosing, if one may so phrase it, the legs of plain prose, not the wings of verse; liking

rhyme very well, but insisting upon the story.

Folk lore makes no mistake and is permanently satisfying. "Mother Goose" holds her place in our nursery because in such thrilling narrative as "Little Jack Horner" and "Mary and the Lamb" there is an immediate answer to the child's wish for reality. A living person with an identifying name is at once projected on his attention. He is introduced as a playmate. Then he is given something to do that is both curious and interesting; something one would not mind doing one's self if chance offered. The laugh comes with the discomfiture of somebody or something not especially cared for. Favorites must be protected and extricated from all troubles before the tale ends, if there is to be peace.

Here becomes apparent the influence of different temperaments. A touch of native malice makes a child find entertainment in descriptions of mishaps, while many more sensitive. minds must have things hastened along to a good ending. There are rare instances where a child's sympathies are so acute that tame and commonplace tales are preferred to exciting ones. One little friend of mine protests against "adventures." She understands that other people want them in stories, but for her own part finds them harrowing. Seized by a fever of authorship she began dictating a tale to her father, which ran along so smoothly that even her own sense became penetrated with its dulness, and with a despairing clutch upon her curls, she exclaimed, "How shall I get an adventure in this?" The best she could finally do was to

have her heroine fall out of a very low apple tree.

This is certainly an over-refinement of sensibility. Most children. children can stand having their favorites buffeted for the sake of a rescue. Boys want the excitement strong, but girls prefer something more delicate and sustained. They would have a heroine continually doing agreeable little things, like Miss Alcott's "Jo," who is, I believe, the most popular character in any book written for children. She is so altogether human; spicy, yet high-minded, and, above all, impulsive, like themselves. If we would get at the secret of what gives charm to character, I think it is this, the showing of lively impulse. A real child is always swayed by caprices, stopping scarcely one time out of a hundred to calculate and study consequences, and if he avoids all dangers it is after personal experience has taught him what they mean. When an author presents a cool, farsighted young creature who pauses before every attractive caper to decide whether he will get his feet wet or lose his chance of going to heaven, one cannot blame a sensible little reader for throwing down the book.

There are bits in some good novels that children recognize as faithful painting and like better than any tale written down to their understanding. Give them the school day experience of Jane Eyre, the chapter from "The Claxtons" about Pisistratus and his flower pot, or that picturesque and too little known genre bit from Mrs. Stowe's "Pogamec People," where Dolly goes to the illumination, if you would learn whether children appreciate excellence. Dickens's stories

about Poor Jo, Harry Walmers, Jr. and Little Em'ly are popular. The slender volume lately brought out by Dickens's daughter deserves praise, yet there is material for more such in the master's works. Every wellread woman may, however, make appropriate selections from the best authors to suit the tastes of her little hearers. It is one of a mother's privileges to introduce her children in this manner to what is best in literature and not send them forth utterly facile and undeveloped, to have their own opinions formed by any teacher into whose charge they may happen to come. Let their right instincts have a chance.

Old books, especially those meant for adults, contain treasures not to be found on modern juvenile bookshelves. Indeed, the majority of books written for children are an affront to their taste. They are mostly fantastic, exaggerated and lacking in true perception of child nature. They deal with life from the point of view of the adult trying to seem young. A kind of mocking humor results, which appeals to experience but not to innocence. An unsophisticated child is puzzled and revolted by magicians and goblins who talk satirically, by animals who are philosophical, and young persons who are made to pose for the purpose of acting out an author's idea. To succeed with them a writer must be sincere and have no double object in view. And this is why those child characters wrought by the masters to introduce their more elaborate personages strike the chord of young sympathy. They are written in the author's best mood and most earnest vein. When

a novelist presents his hero as an infant he knows that he works to win or lose all. If he does not succeed in making him interesting, it is all over. We may waste one perusal on his book, but will not return to it. If readers universally abided by their better impulses there would be a great weeding out in our literary fields.

The child does cull sensibly if he is allowed. He chooses the story that strikes the truest note; that appeals both to his knowledge and his imagination. And another fine point showing how closely his instinct is in agreement with the keenest critics is his preference for a certain skilful reserve in the drawing of a character. He likes to have his fancy stimulated, not satiated. Perhaps this desire is more characteristic of girls, although not wanting in boys. Wherever there is originality in young readers there is present a desire to seize upon any idea offered and carry it farther along. Some children take pleasure in mentally experimenting with any hero or heroine they adopt as a friend. They invent new situations, develop traits an author has barely hinted, and solve problems simply suggested. Firm outlines, natural tones, are the essentials, and with these the child improves.

There is no raconteur more successful with children than a child with a talent for story telling. If books for children could be written by children, we should then have a real juvenile literature. It would be interesting to set a phonograph at work in the room. with a young story teller and study the result. Or, if one could accurately recall the tales reeled off in one's

own early days to groups of little friends, the gist of something to labor upon might be obtained.

It is certain that there ought to be present in every juvenile tale an atmosphere of sympathy with childhood, and this is difficult to create unless the author is young, at least in his feeling. The suggestion of effects sought in the author's own view of life, instead of resulting naturally from the action of the story, is repugnant. And this may be the reason why Grimm's fairy tales, simple and matter-of-fact, even in their exorbitant use of wealth and power, are preferred to Hans Andersen's, fantastically beautiful as they are. There is too often manifest in them a delicate irony, a sadness of outlook that betrays the poet and sage.

They are for pensive hours, not for the happier periods of life, and although children will occasionally yield to the influence of the metaphysical spirit, if it is artful, they incline toward what is bright and hopeful. Stories may not end in gloom nor death, nor in that satirical winding up sometimes given as the final experience of a hero who has been breathlessly watched through many adventures, "He awoke and found it all a dream!" This makes the child feel that his credulity has been played upon. A confession of unreality is an anti-climax. Who wants to see the wheels the scene moves on? It is like being compelled to watch the prompter's box at the opera. The most pleasing writer is the one who

skilfully preserves an illusion, and who carries a reader onward as if `borne on wings; while in the air the earth is only nicely apparent. A grown person can seldom enjoy this purely psychical experience as keenly as an imaginative child. With what abandon does he enter into it! How enthusiastically he pursues the flowery path of "suppose," which may lead, as George Eliot warns, to a mathematical dreamland, but is youth's own natural road to a quite innocent kind of sensuous enjoy

ment.

The desire to continue such illusions, to dwell among them for many sequent hours, leads a child to love long stories and enjoy the multiplication of adventures of a favorite hero. If he could be made sufficiently attractive there is a possibility that one hero would last a child during the term of nursery existence. Such a character as the worthy "Tuflongbo," in Holm Lee's fairy tales, is much cherished.

Yet, although the instinct of childhood is so true, so constant, it is little understood by writers and mostly ignored by educators. Year after year books are produced which contain nothing to appeal to a child's pure taste for the beautiful, the living, the everlastingly human in art. If the most difficult rôle in all the literary field is to write a successful book for children, it is because children are not to be dazzled by tinsel in anything which affects their feelings. They want gold.

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The Tale of Brooks Tavern

By Frederick Brooks Noyes

ISTORY, like everything else, travels very slowly Over the old road from Acton Common, which branches at Rocky Guzzle into the turnpikes to Sudbury and Concord and the avenue to the ancient town burial ground. The tale of this lonesome stretch, within twenty-five miles of Boston, is still unwritten. A short piece, flanked by tall pines, is fittingly known as Cathedral Drive, for the whole region invites from the pettiness and vanity of the trolley world. It is a consoling thought that the inevitable electric can never completely spoil this section. Nature's outline is too picturesque in Acton for intersecting street railways to ever make a mere steel chess-board of the old town as they have often done in the open level parts of the state. The whole sentiment of the locality is in its half-hidden and unexpected features of landscape. There is a curious mixture of frankness and reticence in the expression on nature's face. An authority on the topography of Massachusetts has commented on the strange uncanny hollows and dimples, the inexplicable ridges that suggest human formation.

The touch of Nature invited the touch of Fate. In the early times it was a place of concealment. Its secret nooks have always been connected with stories of buried treasure and the abode of pirates and disguised noble

men. Just one hundred years ago, banished persons of rank in these very woods were brooding over plans for the murder of Napoleon, but their tale has remained untold except in the homes of the old families. Nothing has ever lifted the veil from this mysterious legendary lore. The unimaginative historians have been content in recording a faithful list of civic and military officers and in telling of the fight with the mother country at the North Bridge, April 19th, 1775, and the fight ever since with the mother town over the supreme glory of that day. Lowell speaks of taking down from his bookcase "a volume sapless as the shelf it stood on, and remote from all present sympathy with man or nature as a town history.”

The people of Acton are not a people of legend and tradition. It is in the practical and not the mythical that they show their quality. There is little heartfelt interest in anything that is not near and present. Life has a dry, peaceful and wealth-seeking sameness. The town has become isolated by reason of the railroad development of this part of the state. All the lines have swept around, instead of passing through this hill town. While from the car window the canvas of the last two centuries seems to unroll as you pass through the open plain of Concord, history is sealed in the wooded. hills of Acton. An incident here con

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