Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/277

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

turning the tables against their aggressors. The next issue of the "B. B. U." will probably contain the following counterblast against the recent amendment of the Iowa Constitution: "Happiness never did exist except in an atmosphere of alcohol. Health has no home except at a fireside redolent with the smell of that atmosphere. Take distilleries out of the world, and manhood would sink into an eternal grave. Wherever a healthy constitution has been built up, alcoholic stimulants were the architect. If total abstainers are healthy, it is because their fathers were topers."

—— In "graphic descriptions" one touch of nature is worth a page of imaginary details: hence the realism of rustic poetry. The Ettrick Shepherd had passages of that sort that redeem all his barbarisms, and beat Goethe and Wordsworth at their own tricks. E. g., his description of a Lanarkshire snow-storm that cost the life of a Scotch Leander:

"But the snaw was so deep, and his heart it grew weary,
And he sank down to sleep on the moorland so dreary.
Oh, soft was the couch and embroidered the cover,
And white were the sheets she had spread for her lover;
But his couch is more white, and his canopy grander,
And sounder he sleeps where the hill-foxes wander."

—— "A false system with a fabulous historical record, and enforced by preposterously wrong methods," Diderot calls a certain anti-natural religion.

—— "Voltaire came before the Revolution like lightning before thunder."

"Experience is like a persistent coquette. Tears pass before you can win her, and, if you finally may call her your own, you are both superannuated, and have no use for one another."

"The secret of every power consists in the knowledge that others are still greater cowards."

"Our time is not favorable to logic. So many candles need snuffing, that there is no chance for clear-seeing."

"All men love freedom. But the just demands it for all, the unjust for himself alone."—Ludwig Böene.

—— Some people seem born to be lucky in spite of themselves. General Skobeleff was originally destined for the bar, but before he was too old his pugnacious disposition caused his expulsion from college, and thus drove him into his right career, and by a series of equally well-timed scrapes at last into a field where he could follow his penchant with glory, as well as impunity. His pet project was a war against Prussia, and the timely accession of a Pan-Slavistic Czar enabled him to achieve popularity by a free expression of his anti-German sentiments. He became the idol of his nation, and died in time to escape the horrible thrashing that will follow the attempt to realize his favorite project.

—— There is nothing new under the sun; even our forestry associations had their prototypes in pagan Borne and Moorish Spain. Al Moctader, the Caliph of Bagdad (1094-1117), also planted millions of forest-trees; and it is a distressing fact that then, as now, many clear-sighted men foretold the consequences of reckless forest-destruction, and that their protests had no appreciable influence in checking the evil. The trouble seems to be that tree-felling is directly profitable and only eventually injurious, while tree-planting is directly expensive and only indirectly advantageous. Forest-destruction has ruined our earthly paradise, and the scientific authorities of all really enlightened nations have de-