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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Education happens in the mind


This is a bit of an oversimplification.  I also find I process my own thoughts better when I write them down and play around with them on paper.  As your students get older you will want to transition to written work, too. 

Friday, December 28, 2018

Habit Training

train railsTrains run smoothly on train tracks. Good habits are the tracks for the train of life- laid down carefully, with forethought, planning, and care, trains run smoothly and efficiently. Laid down carelessly, delays and accidents occur.

Here's the frightening thing- habit is inevitable. Your children (and you) are developing and reinforcing habits on a daily basis, whether you give it any thought or not. When you do not bother to take the care to ease your childrens' lives "by laying down habits of right thinking and right acting, habits of wrong thinking and wrong acting fix themselves of their own accord, " you are still helping them lay down habits.  The non-act of not taking action, of avoiding the effort of deciding to build good habits and enforcing them through diligent, loving, consistent, training simply leaves your children at the mercy of the default button when it comes to building habits- because they will still build them. Only they will be more likely to build bad habits that make their lives run more roughly and unevenly.

"We avoid decision and indecision brings its own delays, "and days are lost lamenting o'er lost days." "
The interesting- and to me rather depressing thing- is that even the most casual parents never truly neglects all habit training. We do train children to eat with their utensils instead of their hands so that the habit is so ingrained they pick up the fork or spoon automatically, without thought. We train them to certain habits of hygiene or grooming much the same way. They do not have to think about every single bite of food in order to chew with their lips closed. They do not have to remind themselves to use soap (if they are not 12 year old boys). What a burden and drudgery daily life would be if "every act of the bath, toilet, table, every lifting of the fork and use of spoon were a matter of consideration and required an effort of decision!"

When you consider how much more smoothly daily life runs when smooth rails of good habits have been laid down, it's easy to see that while the job of the parent is multi-faceted, habit training is certainly a vital, but neglected part of parenting.  It is every parent's business is to lay down lines of habit upon which our children's behaviour might run more easily, so that their lives run more smoothly in the way they should go.  They can thus expend more energy and attention on the harder tasks of life, unhindered by the obstacles and delays of bad habits that otherwise derail our lives.

Realizing that there are good habits in both the physical and the spiritual realms of life, we can list some of those good habits.  Here are some that come randomly to my mind (you may think of others):

regular church attendance, truth telling, putting things away instead of the 'unlawful habit of scattering,' washing hands before a meal and after petting an animal, opening a door for a woman, offering a chair to the elderly (or boys offering a chair to ladies), regular bathing, polite speech, civility, the proper use of those magic words (please, thank-you, and you're welcome), good posture, praying before meals, daily Bible reading, closing doors behind one, not interrupting, proper apologies, self-control, and so on, and on.

However, it's really not that necessary to list those habits which we should aim at forming, because.- and this is important to recognize in ourselves- everyone "knows more about these than anyone practises."

We admire the result of years of good habits when we see those results, but we shrink from the discipline which is able to produce them, and there is no other way of forming any good habit except through that discipline.

The most effective discipline is that of self discipline- a government of the soul which the person exercises upon himself, but most people need help from the outside to reach that state of self-governance from the inside. Especially when we are young (for best results), a " certain strenuousness in the formation of good habits" from the outside in is necessary because "every such habit is the result of conflict-" or hard work, a fight against what is easiest and for what is best.

That is because the bad habits are easy to develop and the good ones harder, and the easy life is, well, easy. The bad habit of the easy life always seems pleasant and persuasive but it is to be resisted with pain and effort. However, we should work on those bad habits also with hope and certainty of success, because God created and designed us so that we could form such disciplined habits of muscle and mind as we deliberately propose to ourselves.

Paraphrased and sometimes directly quoted from "Towards the Philosophy of Education," by Charlotte Mason

Questions to consider-  you do not have to tell me the answers, but they might be helpful for discussion in a group or family:
What, if any, bad habits derail you? How?
How would good habits make your daily life run more smoothly?
What good habits would you like to develop in yourself or your children?
What hinders you?
What sort of discipline would you need to apply to develop those habits? What would you need to change in your life to make deliberate habit training easier?  Is there something you could change in your house and daily activities that would help improve a good habit and derail a bad one?  This can be something as simple as a laundry basket or waste bin in the right place.

We ought, of course, to tell the truth because it is the right thing to do, but I also believe that truth telling as a good habit can also make doing the right thing easier. Why would that be?

What, if anything, does the Bible have to say about habits? Which verses or biblical stories could encourage you in the development of good habits in yourself or your children?

What other stories can you think of that might help spur you or your children in the development of good habits?

You might like this post on building the habit of Bible reading even during the hard times of life.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Some Free Books You Might Like


These are affiliate links, but the books are free at the time of this posting.



Weak on Square Roots
Short story, sci-fi genre, robots as the labourors of the future- or are they? Only 9 pages long. Originally published in 1953 in a sci-fi mag. I always get a bit of a kick over sci-fi imaginings of the future that are really just middle class America with extra lights and whistles.




The Forest
I just read much of it and enjoyed it very much. Written at the turn of the century, it's part paen to outdoor life, part instruction manual for roughing it in the woods, part armchair camping book, part philosophy, and because it was written at the turn of the century, part history.
Here's an excerpt from the chapter on how to set up camp. Ellipses are mine to make this passage a little shorter:
"Early in his woods experience, Dick became possessed with the desire to do everything for himself. As this was a laudable striving for self-sufficiency, I called a halt at about three o'clock one afternoon in order to give him plenty of time.
Now Dick is a good, active, able-bodied boy, possessed of average intelligence and rather more than average zeal. He even had theory of a sort, for he had read various "Boy Campers, or the Trapper's Guide," "How to Camp Out," "The Science of Woodcraft," and other able works. He certainly had ideas enough and confidence enough. I sat down on a log.
At the end of three hours' flusteration, heat, worry, and good hard work, he had accomplished the following results: A tent, very saggy, very askew, covered a four-sided area--it was not a rectangle--of very bumpy ground. A hodge-podge bonfire, in the centre of which an inaccessible coffee-pot toppled menacingly, alternately threatened to ignite the entire surrounding forest or to go out altogether through lack of fuel. Personal belongings strewed the ground near the fire, and provisions cumbered the entrance to the tent. Dick was anxiously mixing batter for the cakes, attempting to stir a pot of rice often enough to prevent it from burning, and trying to rustle sufficient dry wood to keep the fire going. This diversity of interests certainly made him sit up and pay attention. ....Dick burned his fingers and stumbled about and swore, and looked so comically-pathetically red-faced through the smoke that I, seated on the log, at the same time laughed and pitied. And in the end, when he needed a continuous steady fire to fry his cakes, he suddenly discovered that dry twigs do not make coals, and that his previous operations had used up all the fuel within easy circle of the camp.
...At the last, the poor bedeviled theorist made a hasty meal of scorched food, brazenly postponed the washing of dishes until the morrow, and coiled about his hummocky couch to dream the nightmares of complete exhaustion.
Poor Dick! I knew exactly how he felt, how the low afternoon sun scorched, how the fire darted out at unexpected places, how the smoke followed him around, no matter on which side of the fire he placed himself, how the flies all took to biting when both hands were occupied, and how they all miraculously disappeared when he had set down the frying-pan and knife to fight them. I could sympathize, too, with the lonely, forlorn, lost-dog feeling that clutched him after it was all over. I could remember how big and forbidding and unfriendly the forest had once looked to me in like circumstances, so that I had felt suddenly thrust outside into empty spaces. Almost was I tempted to intervene; but I liked Dick, and I wanted to do him good. This experience was harrowing, but it prepared his mind for the seeds of wisdom. By the following morning he had chastened his spirit, forgotten the assurance breathed from the windy pages of the Boy Trapper Library, and was ready to learn.
...
The following is, in brief, what during the next six weeks I told that youth, by precept, by homily, and by making the solution so obvious that he could work it out for himself.
When five or six o'clock draws near, begin to look about you for a good level dry place, elevated some few feet above the surroundings. Drop your pack or beach your canoe. Examine the location carefully. You will want two trees about ten feet apart, from which to suspend your tent, and a bit of flat ground underneath them. Of course the flat ground need not be particularly unencumbered by brush or saplings, so the combination ought not to be hard to discover. Now return to your canoe. Do not unpack the tent.....


Among the Forest People
These are fairly well known early science readers for children, with much more moralizing incorporated into the stories than science because that's how they did things in the 1900s. Actually, that's not at all fair is it? Our modern school books moralize just as much, they just moralize on different subjects.
Toc:
MR. RED SQUIRREL COMES TO LIVE IN THE FOREST 13
WHY MR. GREAT HORNED OWL HATCHED THE EGGS 21
THE SWAGGERING CROW 31
THE RED-HEADED WOODPECKER CHILDREN 39
THE NIGHT MOTH WITH A CROOKED FEELER 52
THE BEES AND THE KINGBIRD 62
THE STORY OF THE COWBIRD'S EGG 73
MRS. MOURNING DOVE'S HOUSEKEEPING 83
THE YOUNG BLUE JAY WHO WAS NOT BRAVE ENOUGH TO BE AFRAID 91
THE RED SQUIRRELS BEGIN HOUSEKEEPING 100
THE BIGGEST LITTLE RABBIT LEARNS TO SEE 113
THE LITTLE BAT WHO WOULDN'T GO TO BED 123
A SWARM LEAVES THE BEE TREE 133
THE HAUGHTY GROUND HOG 144
THE UNDECIDED RATTLESNAKE 153
THE QUARRELSOME MOLE 163
THE WILD TURKEYS COME 175
THE TRAVELLERS GO SOUTH 186
THE RUFFED GROUSE'S STORY 198
A MILD DAY IN WINTER
excerpt (in the first half of this chapter there was some information about Blue Jays and their habits): There was once a young Blue Jay in the forest who was larger than his brothers and sisters, and kept crowding them toward the edge of the nest. When their father came with a bit of food for them, he would stretch his legs and flutter his wings and reach up for the first bite. And because he was the largest and the strongest, he usually got it. Sometimes, too, the first bite was so big that there was nothing left for anyone else to bite at. He was a very greedy fellow, and he had no right to take more than his share, just because he happened to be the first of the family to break open the shell, or because he grew fast.
This same young Blue Jay used to brag about what he would do when he got out of the nest, and his mother told[Pg 95] him that he would get into trouble if he were not careful. She said that even Blue Jays had to look out for danger.
"Huh!" said the young Blue Jay; "who's afraid?"
"Now you talk like a bully," said Mother Blue Jay, "for people who are really brave are always willing to be careful."
But the young Blue Jay only crowded his brothers and sisters more than usual, and thought, inside his foolish little pin-feathery head, that when he got a chance, he'd show them what courage was.
After a while his chance came. All the small birds had learned to flutter from branch to branch, and to hop quite briskly over the ground. One afternoon they went to a part of the forest where the ground was damp and all was strange. The father and mother told their children to keep close together and they would take care of them; but the foolish young[Pg 96] Blue Jay wanted a chance to go alone, so he hid behind a tree until the others were far ahead, and then he started off another way. It was great fun for a time, and when the feathered folk looked down at him he raised his crest higher than ever and thought how he would scare them when he was a little older.
The young Blue Jay was just thinking about this when he saw something long and shining lying in the pathway ahead. He remembered what his father had said about snakes, and about one kind that wore rattles on their tails. He wondered if this one had a rattle, and he made up his mind to see how it was fastened on. "I am a Blue Jay," he said to himself, "and I was never yet afraid of anything."
The Rattlesnake, for it was he, raised his head to look at the bird. The young Blue Jay saw that his eyes were very bright. He looked right into them, and[Pg 97] could see little pictures of himself upon their shining surfaces. He stood still to look, and the Rattlesnake came nearer. Then the young Blue Jay tried to see his tail, but he couldn't look away from the Rattlesnake's eyes, though he tried ever so hard.
The Rattlesnake now coiled up his body, flattened out his head, and showed his teeth, while all the time his queer forked tongue ran in and out of his mouth. Then the young Blue Jay tried to move and found that he couldn't. All he could do was to stand there and watch those glowing eyes and listen to the song which the Rattlesnake began to sing:
"Through grass and fern,
With many a turn,
My shining body I draw.
In woodland shade
My home is made,
For this is the Forest Law.
[Pg 98]
"Whoever tries
To look in my eyes
Comes near to my poisoned jaw;
And birds o'erbold
I charm and hold,
For this is the Forest Law."
The Rattlesnake drew nearer and nearer, and the young Blue Jay was shaking with fright, when there was a rustle of wings, and his father and mother flew down and around the Rattlesnake, screaming loudly to all the other Jays, and making the Snake turn away from the helpless little bird he had been about to strike. It was a long time before the forest was quiet again, and when it was, the Blue Jay family were safely in their nest, and the Rattlesnake had gone home without his supper.
After the young Blue Jay got over his fright, he began to complain because he had not seen the Rattlesnake's tail. Then, indeed, his patient mother gave him such[Pg 99] a scolding as he had never had in all his life, and his father said that he deserved a sound pecking for his foolishness.
When the young Blue Jay showed that he was sorry for all the trouble that he had made, his parents let him have some supper and go to bed; but not until he had learned two sayings which he was always to remember. And these were the sayings: "A really brave bird dares to be afraid of some things," and, "If you go near enough to see the tail of a danger, you may be struck by its head."



Fairy Tales from the German Forests
Excerpt: "In a village that was close to the great forest, though it had already become the suburb of a large town, lived a little girl named Hansi Herzchen. She was the seventh child of a family of seven, and she lived at No 7 ---- Street. So you see she was a lucky child, for seven is always a lucky number; but nothing had happened to prove her luck as yet.
Her father was a clerk in the post office at the neighbouring town. He would have found it hard to make two ends meet with seven little mouths to fill, but that his wife had brought him substantial help. She was the daughter of a well-to-do farmer peasant and had a considerable dowry when she married. Moreover she was extremely thrifty and industrious. She never spent a halfpenny without carefully considering if a farthing would not do as well. Better L1 in the pocket than 19s. 11-1/2d., she used to say. She drove wonderful bargains at the market. She had no eyes for the artistic and ornamental, though her house was so spick and span, that it was good to look at in its cleanliness and order. She had stored up everything she had possessed since her early youth, and was said to use pins that were at least twenty years old. She managed to put everything to use, and the boys' knickers were sometimes made of queer materials."
My own opinion: this was a very charming fairy tale against utilitarianism, the point of it being that beauty is important to life, as are practical things, and balance is important as well. She had very sharp things to say about those adults who think there's no use to children playing as well.

Reader reviews at Amazon were very mixed, largely, I think, depending on the reviewer's understanding of or appreciation for Victorian tales.  Here's one reader review I copied and pasted from Amazon: " Not really classic fairy tales in the Brothers Grimm mold, this is more of a Victorian series of expanded stories, seemingly all original to the author, and very definitely set in the early 20th/late 19th century- a mining engineer lecturing dwarfs in their cave about electricity and lifts and why they were building the train tunnel which had broken in on their caverns. Slightly moralistic at times as well, very Victorian flavor to it, like the George MacDonald books about the princess and the goblin."

More of My Own Opinion:  I don't think it's much like MacDonald's book at all, other than the similarity in location. I only read two stories, but they both reminded me considerably of some of E. Nesbitt's things, and G.K. Chesterton wrote a poem for the introduction, which goes to show that it must be a good collection of stories, because he surely would not associate his name with twaddle, right? Of course, right.


Forests of Maine Marco Paul's Adventures in Pursuit of Knowledge
Preface: "The design of the series of volumes, which it is intended to issue under the general title of Marco Paul's Adventures in the Pursuit of Knowledge, is not merely to entertain the reader with a narrative of juvenile adventures, but also to communicate, in connexion with them, as extensive and varied information as possible, in respect to the geography, the scenery, the customs and the institutions of this country, as they present themselves to the observation of the little traveller, who makes his excursions under the guidance of an intelligent and well-informed companion, qualified to assist him in the acquisition of knowledge and in the formation of character. The author will endeavor to enliven his narrative, and to infuse into it elements of a salutary moral influence, by means of personal incidents befalling the actors in the story. These incidents are, of course, imaginary—but the reader may rely upon the strict and exact truth and fidelity of all the descriptions of places, institutions and scenes, which are brought before his mind in the progress of the narrative. Thus, though the author hopes that the readers, who may honor these volumes with their perusal, will be amused and interested by them, his design throughout will be to instruct rather than to entertain."

Excerpt: The log was round and straight, and the ends were square. The log glided rapidly by, and soon disappeared.
"It is a pine log," said Forester. "There are vast forests of pine trees in this state. They cut down the trees, and then cut the trunks into pieces of moderate length, and draw them on the snow to the rivers. Then, in the spring, the waters rise and float the logs down. This is one of these logs floating down. Sometimes the river is quite full of them."
"Where do they go?" asked Marco.
"Oh, men stop them all along the river, and put them into booms, and then fasten them together in rafts."
"How do they fasten them together?" asked Marco.
"They drive a pin into the middle of each log, and then extend a rope along, fastening it to each pin. In this manner, the rope holds the logs together, and they form a long raft. When they catch the logs in booms, they afterwards form them into rafts, and so float them down the river to the mills, where they are to be sawed."
"Can men stand upon the rafts?" said Marco.
"Yes," replied Forester, "very well."
"They make a floor of boards, I suppose," said Marco.
"No," replied Forester; "they stand directly upon the logs."
[Pg 16]
"I should think the logs would sink under them," replied Marco, "or at least roll about."
"They sink a little," replied Forester; "just about as much as the bulk of the man who stands upon them."
"I don't know what you mean by that, exactly," said Marco.
"Why, the rule of floating bodies is this," rejoined Forester. "When any substance, like a cake of ice, or a log of wood, or a boat, is floating upon the water, a part of it being above the water and a part under the water, if a man steps upon it, he makes it sink enough deeper to submerge a part of the wood or ice as large as he is himself. If there is just as much of the wood or ice above the water as is equal to the bulk of the man, then the man, in stepping upon it, will sink it just to the water's edge."
"But perhaps one man would be heavier than another man," said Marco.
"Yes," replied Forester; "but then he would be larger, and so, according to the principle, he would make more wood sink before the equilibrium was reached."
"What is equilibrium?" asked Marco.
"Equilibrium is an equality between two forces," replied Forester.
"I don't see what two forces there are," said Marco.
"There is the weight of the man pressing downwards," [Pg 17]said Forester, "for one, and the buoyant power of the water, that is, its upward pressure, for the other. The weight of the man remains constantly the same. But the upward pressure of the water increases in proportion as the log sinks into it. For the deeper the log sinks into the water, the more of it is submerged, and it is more acted upon and pressed upward by the water. Now, as one of these forces remains constant, and the other increases, they must at length come to be equal, that is, in equilibrium; and then the log will not sink any farther. That's the philosophy of it, Marco."
Marco did not reply, but sat looking at the barren and rocky shores of the river, as the boat glided by them. Presently another log came into view.
"There," said Forester, "look at that log, and see whether you think that you could float upon it."
"Yes," said Marco, "I think I could."
"It depends," said Forester, "on the question whether the part of it which is out of water is as big as you are."
"I think it is," said Marco.
"Yes," added Forester, "I have no doubt that it is."
"Only I should roll off," said Marco.
"True," replied Forester; "but the millmen, who work about the logs, acquire astonishing dexterity in standing upon them. If there is only enough of the log above water to equal their bulk, [Pg 18]so that it has buoyant power enough to float them, they will keep it steady with their feet, and sail about upon it very safely."
"I should like to try," said Marco.
"Perhaps we shall have an opportunity at some place on the river," said Forester.



Forest Life and Forest Trees: comprising winter camp-life among the loggers, and wild-wood adventure. with Descriptions of lumbering operations on the various rivers of Maine and New Brunswick
Excerpt from the early section on various species of trees:
THE BUTTON-WOOD TREE.
This tree is "remarkable for the rapidity of its growth, especially when standing near water. Loudon mentions one which, standing near a pond, had in twenty years attained the height of eighty feet, with a trunk eight feet in circumference at three feet from the ground, and a head of the diameter of forty-eight feet." "Nowhere is this tree more vigorous than along the rivers of Pennsylvania and Virginia, and especially on the Ohio and its tributaries." 'General Washington measured a Button-wood growing on an island in the Ohio, and found its girth, at five feet from the ground, about forty feet.' "In 1802, the younger Michaux and his companions found a large tree of this kind on the right bank of the Ohio, thirty-six miles from Marietta. Its base was swollen in an extraordinary manner, but, at four feet from the ground, its circumference was found to be forty-seven feet," or fifteen feet and eight inches in diameter. It is said that "it may be propagated with more ease than any tree of the forest." "It is valuable stove fuel." S. W. Pomeroy, Esq., a writer in the New England Farmer, expresses the opinion that, on land possessing the same fertility, this tree will furnish fuel which will give the greatest amount of caloric to the acre, except the locust on dry soil.
It will be remembered that in 1842, '43, and '44, this tree appeared to be under the influence of a general blight throughout the Eastern States. Various opinions were entertained respecting the cause of the malady which occasioned so much regret. "By most persons it was considered the effect of frost, supposing the tree not to have matured its wood, viz., the new shoots, during the previous summer, so that it was incapable of resisting the effect of frost." Others ascribed it to the action of some insect or worm, and others believed it to be some unaccountable disease, while others regarded the phenomenon as a providential token of the approach of some important event unknown and unanticipated. The tree has now pretty generally recovered from its malady.
"The Oriental Plane-tree holds the same place on the Eastern continent which our Button-wood does on this." "It was the greatest favorite among the ancients." "Cimon sought to gratify the Athenians by planting a public walk with them." "It was considered the finest shade tree in Europe." "Pliny tells the story of its having been brought across the Ionian Sea, to shade the tomb of Diomedes, in the island of the hero. From thence it was taken to Sicily, then to Italy; from Italy to Spain, and even into the most remote parts of the then barbarous France, where the natives were made to pay for the privilege of sitting under its shade.
"No tree was ever so great a favorite with the Romans. They ornamented their villas with it, valuing it above all other trees for the depth of its salutary shade, &c. They nourished it with pure wine; and Hortensius is related to have begged of his rival, Cicero, to exchange turns with him in a cause in which they were engaged, that he might himself do this office for a tree he had planted in his Tusculanum."
"Pliny describes some of the most remarkable planes. In the walks of the Academy at Athens were trees whose trunks were about forty-eight feet from the ground to the branches. In his own time there was one in Lycia, near a cool fountain by the road side, with a cavity of eighty-one feet circuit within its trunk, and a forest-like head, and arms like trees overshadowing broad fields. Within this apartment, made by moss-covered stones, to resemble a grotto, Licinius Mucianus thought it a fact worthy of history, that he dined with nineteen companions, and slept there too, not regretting splendid marbles, pictures, and golden-fretted roofs, and missing only the sound of rain drops pattering on the leaves." [3]



The Adventures of the Chevalier De La Salle and His Companions, in Their Explorations of the Prairies, Forests, Lakes, and Rivers, of the New World, and ... the Savage Tribes, Two Hundred Years Ago
By one of the Abbotts, and I have enjoyed reading pretty much every book of theirs I've read. This is by John S. C. Abbot
Excerpt; CHAPTER V.
The Voyage Along the Lakes.
The Embarcation. Equipment of the Griffin. Voyage through the Lakes and Straits. The Storm. Superstition of the Voyagers. Arrival at Mackinac. Scenery there. Friendship of the Indians. Sail on Lakes Huron and Michigan. Arrival at Green Bay. The well-freighted Griffin sent back.
On the 7th of August, 1679, the Griffin spread her sails for her adventurous voyage into the vast unknown. Her armament consisted of five small cannon, two of which were of brass, and three clumsy guns called arquebuses. The vessel was of but sixty tons burden. Most of the men had muskets for taking game. The current in the river, where the vessel was moored, was very rapid. But by aid of a fair wind, and twelve men pulling by a rope on the shore, all difficulties were overcome, and the Griffin entered triumphantly the broad expanse of Lake Erie.
As the anchor was raised and the canvas spread, a simultaneous salute was fired from the five cannon, the three arquebuses, and all the muskets. Such an uproar was never before heard in those silent wilds. An immense number of Indians crowded the shore. They gazed with astonishment, awe, and indefinable dread upon the novel spectacle. The whole company of Frenchmen embarked, being thirty-four in number. None were left at Erie. But at Niagara, as the magazine at Queenstown was called, Father Melethon remained, with one or two laborers, to receive such supplies as might be forwarded to that place.
Three missionaries accompanied the expedition, Fathers Hennepin, Zenobe, and Ribourde. They were venerable and good men, ready at any moment to lay down their lives in advocacy of the Christian faith. Lake Erie is about two hundred and sixty miles long, and from ten to sixty broad. They ran along the northern shore of this majestic inland sea, and on the third day reached its western bounds, where they cautiously entered the mouth of the strait through which flows the waters of all the upper lakes. It was about twenty-eight miles long, and one mile broad. As canoes alone had thus far passed over its surface, it was necessary for them to feel their way with much care. La Salle gave the strait the name of Detroit. Soon entering another lake, twenty-four miles long by thirty broad, he gave it the name of St. Clair, in honor of the saint whose name appears in the calendar of the church for that day.
Passing safely over the shallow waters, the Griffin entered another strait, about thirty miles long, to which La Salle gave the name of St. Clair River. The current was strong, and the navigation perilous. Gigantic steamers now run through from Lake Erie to Lake Huron in a few hours. It required thirteen days for the Griffin to accomplish the passage. The whole distance is about ninety miles.
Lake Huron opened magnificently before them. The route along the shore of the lake to its head, where it receives the waters of Michigan and Superior, is about three hundred and sixty miles. Its greatest breadth is one hundred and sixty miles. The progress of the voyagers was slow. They were impeded by calms and head winds. It was often necessary to cast the lead and to watch for rocks and sand-bars. They had but just entered upon Lake Huron when they encountered one of the severest tempests which ever swept that stormy lake. The whole ship's company were devout Catholics.
In those dark days both the fathers and the crew were alike disposed to call upon the Virgin Mary and the saints to aid them, rather than upon God. Father Hennepin tells us that the stout soul of La Salle quailed before the horrible tumult which threatened to engulf him. They all alike fell upon their knees and addressed their prayers and their cries to St. Anthony of Padua. They solemnly vowed that if he would intercede with God and obtain their rescue, they would, in the newly-discovered countries, erect a chapel in his name. St. Anthony was called the patron of mariners, and therefore his aid was especially invoked.
Greatly was their confidence in the saint's intercession increased, as the wind lulled, the clouds dispersed, the sun shone forth in all its autumnal glory, and with a fair wind pressing their sails they glided along over a smooth sea, skirting the southern shore of the lake, past mountains and valleys, prairies and forest, which presented every variety of picturesque beauty.
At the extreme northwestern extremity of Lake Huron, near the point where the lake receives the waters of Lakes Michigan and Superior, there was a large island, whose swelling hills were crowned with a dense forest. This island was called by the Indians, from its peculiar form, Mackinac, or the Turtle, sometimes Michilimackinac, or the big Turtle. On the 27th of August, 1679, the Griffin ran into a beautiful little bay in this island. It was a lovely summer's day, serene, sunny, and cloudless. The waters of the bay, fringed with forest-crowned hills, were as placid as a mirror. There was quite a village there of wigwams. Naked children were sporting upon the beach. Buoyant birch canoes, driven by the paddles of gayly-dressed men and women, were gliding swiftly in all directions. The scene opened before the eyes of the voyagers like a vision of enchantment.
Nearly ten years before, Father Marquette, inspired by apostolic zeal, had traversed this whole distance in a birch canoe. Several Indians accompanied him as boatmen and interpreters. Upon the main land, across a narrow strait, he had established a mission-post among the Hurons. The Indians at Mackinac thus knew something of the white men. With wonder they gazed upon the "great wooden canoe." They crowded on board the Griffin with every testimonial of confidence and friendship, and when one of the cannon was fired, and its roar reverberated through the forest, they were astonished, but not frightened.
Though this remote village seemed so peaceful and happy, the strong palisades which surrounded it proved that the voyagers had not yet got beyond the vestiges of Adam's fall. Those defences spoke of midnight assaults, of savage yells, of tomahawks, scalps, blood, misery, and death. La Salle, aware of the influence of outward appearance upon the minds of men, dressed himself in a very rich scarlet cloak fringed with gold lace. With a plumed military cap upon his head, a long sword at his side, and an imposing escort of well-dressed and well-armed men, he was rowed ashore, to make a visit of ceremony to the chief. His reception was as hospitable and friendly as those untutored men were capable of giving.


The Forest of Swords A Story of Paris and the Marne
A boy's story written in the early 19th century.

Excerpt: The stream of fugitives, rich and poor, mingled, poured on without ceasing. He did not know where they were going. Most of them did not know themselves. He saw a great motor, filled high with people and goods, break down in the streets, and he watched them while they worked desperately to restore the mechanism. And yet there was no panic. The sound of voices was not high. The Republic was justifying itself once more. Silent and somberly defiant, the inhabitants were leaving Paris before the giant German guns could rain shells upon the unarmed.
It was three or four hours until the time to meet Lannes, and drawn by an overwhelming curiosity and anxiety he began the climb of the Butte Montmartre. If observers on the Eiffel Tower could see the German forces approaching, then with the powerful glasses he carried over his shoulder he might discern them from the dome of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
As he made his way up the ascent through the crooked and narrow little streets he saw many eyes, mostly black and quick, watching him. This by night was old Paris, dark and dangerous, where the Apache dwelled, and by day in a fleeing city, with none to restrain, he might be no less ruthless.
But John felt only friendliness for them all. He believed that common danger would knit all Frenchmen together, and he nodded and smiled at the watchers. More than one pretty Parisian, not of the upper classes, smiled back at the American with the frank and open face.
Before he reached the Basilica a little rat of a young man stepped before him and asked:
"Which way, Monsieur?"
He was three or four years older than John, wearing uncommonly tight fitting clothes of blue, a red cap with a tassel, and he was about five feet four inches tall. But small as he was he seemed to be made of steel, and he stood, poised on his little feet, ready to spring like a leopard when he chose.
The blue eyes of the tall American looked steadily into the black eyes of the short Frenchman, and the black eyes looked back as steadily. John was fast learning to read the hearts and minds of men through their eyes, and what he saw in the dark depths pleased him. Here were cunning and yet courage; impudence and yet truth; caprice and yet honor. Apache or not, he decided to like him.
Excerpt; The stream of fugitives, rich and poor, mingled, poured on without ceasing. He did not know where they were going. Most of them did not know themselves. He saw a great motor, filled high with people and goods, break down in the streets, and he watched them while they worked desperately to restore the mechanism. And yet there was no panic. The sound of voices was not high. The Republic was justifying itself once more. Silent and somberly defiant, the inhabitants were leaving Paris before the giant German guns could rain shells upon the unarmed.
It was three or four hours until the time to meet Lannes, and drawn by an overwhelming curiosity and anxiety he began the climb of the Butte Montmartre. If observers on the Eiffel Tower could see the German forces approaching, then with the powerful glasses he carried over his shoulder he might discern them from the dome of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
As he made his way up the ascent through the crooked and narrow little streets he saw many eyes, mostly black and quick, watching him. This by night was old Paris, dark and dangerous, where the Apache dwelled, and by day in a fleeing city, with none to restrain, he might be no less ruthless.
But John felt only friendliness for them all. He believed that common danger would knit all Frenchmen together, and he nodded and smiled at the watchers. More than one pretty Parisian, not of the upper classes, smiled back at the American with the frank and open face.
Before he reached the Basilica a little rat of a young man stepped before him and asked:
"Which way, Monsieur?"
He was three or four years older than John, wearing uncommonly tight fitting clothes of blue, a red cap with a tassel, and he was about five feet four inches tall. But small as he was he seemed to be made of steel, and he stood, poised on his little feet, ready to spring like a leopard when he chose.
The blue eyes of the tall American looked steadily into the black eyes of the short Frenchman, and the black eyes looked back as steadily. John was fast learning to read the hearts and minds of men through their eyes, and what he saw in the dark depths pleased him. Here were cunning and yet courage; impudence and yet truth; caprice and yet honor. Apache or not, he decided to like him.



Excursions
By Thoreau
Excerpt; Nature has taken more care than the fondest parent for the education and refinement of her children. Consider the silent influence which flowers exert, no less upon the ditcher in the meadow than the lady in the bower. When I walk in the woods, I am reminded that a wise purveyor has been there before me; my most delicate experience is typified there. I am struck with the pleasing friendships and unanimities of nature, as when the lichen on the trees takes the form of their leaves. In the most stupendous scenes you will see delicate and fragile features, as slight wreaths of vapor, dewlines, feathery sprays, which suggest a high refinement, a noble blood and breeding, as it were. It is not hard to account for elves and fairies; they represent this light grace, this ethereal gentility. Bring a spray from the wood, or a crystal from the brook, and place it on your mantel, and your household ornaments will seem plebeian beside its nobler fashion and bearing. It will wave superior there, as if used to a more refined and polished circle. It has a salute and a response to all your enthusiasm and heroism.
In the winter, I stop short in the path to admire how the trees grow up without forethought, regardless of the time and circumstances. They do not wait as man does, but now is the golden age of the sapling. Earth, air, sun, and rain, are occasion enough; they were no better in primeval centuries. The "winter of their discontent" never comes. Witness the buds of the native poplar standing gayly out to the frost on the sides of its bare switches. They express a naked confidence. With cheerful heart one could be a sojourner in the wilderness, if he were sure to find there the catkins of the willow or the alder. When I read of them in the accounts of northern adventurers, by Baffin's Bay or Mackenzie's river, I see how even there too I could dwell. They are our little vegetable redeemers. Methinks our virtue will hold out till they come again. They are worthy to have had a greater than Minerva or Ceres for their inventor. Who was the benignant goddess that bestowed them on mankind?
Also has a biographical chapter (lengthy chapter)



Practical Suggestions for Mother and Housewife
Reader Review; a book written in 1910 - with so many quotes it's difficult to choose favorites.
Some are practical:
"If charity (that is, loving helpful associations) begins at home, it certainly does not stop at the threshold, or leap therefrom those nearest us. The best citizens are those who take interest of those on their street or ward or village, for influence on civic reform is dependent on neighborliness"
Some are condemning for us today:
"That a child is not fond of reading is a testimony that his parents no less than his teachers have failed in their duty."
Some are downright delightful:
"It is about the time when a girl is learning 'Virgil' in high school that she will be tempted by vanity and the desire to 'be like the other girls' to put on French Heels. Then it is that the teacher or mother should quote to the line of the 'Aneneid' about Venus: 'The true goddess is shown by her gait' - to save her from irreparable folly."
***
If you read this as a light-hearted book, you're sure to enjoy many of the ideas. If you are somewhat lacking in a sense of history and humour, you will probably want to throw this across the room. Just remember this was a totally different time and general mindset. There are ideas on Marriage, Mothering, Interior Décor, and Food Preparation, some of them are quaint and amusing and some are still practical today, all are written in a style that recommends itself to me.


The Expositor's Bible by G. A. Chadwick; The Gospel According to St. Mark
Excerpt: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way; The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make ye ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight; John came, who baptized in the wilderness and preached the baptism of repentance unto remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the country of Judæa, and all they of Jerusalem; and they were baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel's hair, and had a leathern girdle about his loins, and did eat locusts and wild honey.”—Mark, i. 1-6 (R.V.).
The opening of St. Mark's Gospel is energetic and full of character. St. Matthew traces for Jews the pedigree of their Messiah; St. Luke's worldwide sympathies linger with the maiden who bore Jesus, and the village of His boyhood; and St. John's theology proclaims the Divine origin of the Eternal Lord. But St. Mark trusts the public acts of the Mighty Worker to do for the reader what they did for those who first “beheld His glory.” How He came to earth can safely be left untold: what He was will appear by what He wrought. It is enough to record, with matchless vividness, the toils, the energy, the love and wrath, the defeat and triumph of the brief career which changed the world. It will prove itself to be the career of “the Son of God.” 

The Matador of the Five Towns and Other Stories
Excerpt: Mrs Brindeley looked across the lunch-table at her husband with glinting, eager eyes, which showed that there was something unusual in the brain behind them.
"Bob," she said, factitiously calm. "You don't know what I've just remembered!"
"Well?" said he.
"It's only grandma's birthday to-day!"
My friend Robert Brindley, the architect, struck the table with a violent fist, making his little boys blink, and then he said quietly:
"The deuce!"
I gathered that grandmamma's birthday had been forgotten and that it was not a festival that could be neglected with impunity. Both Mr and Mrs Brindley had evidently a humorous appreciation of crises, contretemps, and those collisions of circumstances which are usually called "junctures" for short. I could have imagined either of them saying to the other: "Here's a funny thing! T7he house is on fire!" And then yielding to laughter as they ran for buckets. Mrs Brindley, in particular, laughed now; she gazed at the table-cloth and laughed almost silently to herself; though it appeared that their joint forgetfulness might result in temporary estrangement from a venerable ancestor who was also, birthdays being duly observed, a continual fount of rich presents in specie.
Robert Brindley drew a time-table from his breast-pocket with the rapid gesture of habit. All men of business in the Five Towns seem to carry that time-table in their breast-pockets. Then he examined his watch carefully.
"You'll have time to dress up your progeny and catch the 2.5. It makes the connection at Knype for Axe."
The two little boys, aged perhaps four and six, who had been ladling the messy contents of specially deep plates on to their bibs, dropped their spoons and began to babble about grea'-granny, and one of them insisted several times that he must wear his new gaiters.
DHM's note: this breezy writing isn't always a success- there's a story that ought to be tragic and heartbreaking, but which the author seems to feel no more regret over than a possible missed birthday. It's a little odd and not a little chilling how he coldly recounts it.
books border black and white
The Byzantine Empire
Excerpt chosen at random: The reign of Heraclius forms the best dividing point in the history of the empire between what may roughly be called Ancient History and the Middle Ages. There is no break at all between Constantine and Heraclius, though the area, character, social life, and religion of the empire had been greatly modified in the three hundred years that separated them. The new order of things, which commenced when Constantine established his capital on the Bosphorus, had a peaceable and orderly development. The first prominent fact that strikes the eye in the history of the three centuries is that the sceptre passed from sovereign to sovereign in quiet and undisturbed devolution. From the death of Valens onward there is no instance of a military usurper breaking the line of succession till the crowning of Phocas in 602. The emperors were either designated by their predecessors or—less frequently—chosen by the high officials and the senate. The regularity of their sequence is all [pg 142] the more astonishing when we realize that only in three cases in the whole period was father succeeded by son. Saving Constantine himself, Theodosius I., and Arcadius, not a single emperor left male issue; yet the hereditary instinct had grown so strong in the empire that nephews, sons-in-law, and brothers-in-law of sovereigns were gladly received as their legitimate heirs. Considering this tendency, it is extraordinary to note that the whole three hundred years did not produce a single unmitigated tyrant. Constantius II. was gloomy and sometimes cruel, Valens was stupid and avaricious, Arcadius utterly weak and inept, Justinian hard and thankless; but the general average of the emperors were men of respectable ability, and in moral character they will compare favourably with any list of sovereigns of similar length that any country can produce.
books border black and white
Essays in Liberalism Being the Lectures and Papers Which Were Delivered at the Liberal Summer School at Oxford, 1922
Contents;
PAGE
Preface v
The League of Nations and the Rehabilitation of Europe Rt. Hon. Lord Robert Cecil 1
The Balance of Power Professor A.F. Pollard 19
International Disarmament Sir Frederick Maurice 37
Reparations and Inter-Allied Debt John Maynard Keynes 51
The Outlook for National Finance Sir Josiah Stamp 59
Free Trade Rt. Hon. J.M. Robertson 74
India Sir Hamilton Grant 92
Egypt J.A. Spender 111
The Machinery of Government Ramsay Muir 120
The State and Industry W.T. Layton 145
The Regulation of Wages Professor L.T. Hobhouse 165
Unemployment H.D. Henderson 176
The Problem of the Mines Arnold D. McNair 194
The Land Question A.S. Comyns Carr 212
Agricultural Questions Rt. Hon. F.D. Acland 227
Excerpt:
Mr. Robertson said:—At an early stage of the war Mr. H.G. Wells published a newspaper article to the effect that while we remained Free Traders we were determined in future to accord free entry only to the goods of those States which allowed it to us. The mere state of war, no doubt, predisposed many to assent to such theses who a few years before would have remembered that this was but the nominal position of the average protectionist of the three preceding generations. War being in itself the negation of Free Trade, the inevitable restrictions and the war temper alike prepared many to find reasons for continuing a restrictive policy when the war was over. When, therefore, the Committee of Lord Balfour of Burleigh published its report, suggesting a variety of reasons for setting up compromises in a tariffist direction, there were not wanting professed Free Traders who agreed that the small tariffs proposed would not do any harm, while others were even anxious to think that they might do good.
Yet the policy proposed by Lord Balfour’s Committee has not been adopted by the Coalition Government in anything like its entirety. Apart from the Dyestuffs Act, and such devices as the freeing of home-made sugar from excise, we have only had the Safeguarding of Industries Bill, a meticulously conditional measure, providing for the setting up of particular tariffs in respect of particular industries which may at a given moment be adjudged by special committees ad hoc to need special protection from what is loosely called “dumping.” And even the findings of these committees so far have testified above all things to the lack of any accepted set of principles of a protectionist character. Six thousand five hundred articles have been catalogued as theoretically liable to protective treatment, and some dozen have been actually protected. They have given protection to certain products and refused it to others; according it to fabric gloves and glass and aluminium goods and refusing it to dolls’ eyes and gold leaf.
Finally, the decision in favour of a tariff on fabric gloves has evoked such a storm of protest from the textile manufacturers who export the yarns with which foreign fabric gloves are made, that even the Coalitionist press has avowed its nervousness. When a professed protectionist like Lord Derby, actually committed to this protectionist Act, declares that it will never do to protect one industry at the cost of injuring a much greater one, those of his party who have any foresight must begin to be apprehensive even when a House of Commons majority backs the Government, which, hard driven by its tariffists, decided to back its Tariff Committee against Lancashire. Protectionists are not much given to the searching study of statistics, but many of them have mastered the comparatively simple statistical process of counting votes.
books border black and white
Stories of Invention, Told by Inventors and their Friends
Excerpt: Archimedes was killed by a Roman soldier, to the great grief of Marcellus, when the Romans finally took Syracuse. The city fell through drunkenness, which was, and is, the cause of more failure in the world than anything else which can be named. Marcellus, in some conversations about the exchange or redemption of a prisoner, observed a tower somewhat detached from the wall, which was, as he thought, carelessly guarded. Choosing the night of a feast of Diana, when the Syracusans were wholly given up to wine and sport, he took the tower by surprise, and from the tower seized the wall and made his way into the city. In the sack of the city by the soldiers, which followed, Archimedes was killed. The story is told in different ways. Plutarch says that he was working[Pg 35] out some problem by a diagram, and never noticed the incursion of the Romans, nor that the city was taken. A soldier, unexpectedly coming up to him in this transport of study and meditation, commanded him to follow him to Marcellus; which he declining to do before he had worked out his problem to a demonstration, the soldier, enraged, drew his sword, and ran him through. "Others write that a Roman soldier, running upon him with a drawn sword, offered to kill him, and that Archimedes, looking back, earnestly besought him to hold his hand a little while, that he might not leave what he was then at work upon inconsequent and imperfect; but the soldier, not moved by his entreaty, instantly killed him. Others, again, relate that as Archimedes was carrying to Marcellus mathematical instruments, dials, spheres, and angles by which the magnitude of the sun might be measured to the sight, some soldiers, seeing him, and thinking that he carried gold in a vessel, slew him.
"Certain it is, that his death was very afflicting to Marcellus, and that Marcellus ever after regarded him that killed him as a murderer, and that he sought for the kindred of Archimedes and honored them with signal honors."
Archimedes, as has been said, had asked that his monument might be a cylinder bearing a sphere, in commemoration of his discovery of the proportion between a cylinder and a sphere of the same diameter. A century and a half after, when Cicero was quæstor of Sicily, he found this monument, neglected, forgotten, and covered with a rank growth of thistles and other weeds.
"It was left," he says, "for one who came from Arpinas, to show to the men of Syracuse where their greatest countryman lay buried."


Here is an excerpt: Mrs Brindeley looked across the lunch-table at her husband with glinting, eager eyes, which showed that there was something unusual in the brain behind them.
"Bob," she said, factitiously calm. "You don't know what I've just remembered!"
"Well?" said he.
"It's only grandma's birthday to-day!"
My friend Robert Brindley, the architect, struck the table with a violent fist, making his little boys blink, and then he said quietly:
"The deuce!"
I gathered that grandmamma's birthday had been forgotten and that it was not a festival that could be neglected with impunity. Both Mr and Mrs Brindley had evidently a humorous appreciation of crises, contretemps, and those collisions of circumstances which are usually called "junctures" for short. I could have imagined either of them saying to the other: "Here's a funny thing! The house is on fire!" And then yielding to laughter as they ran for buckets. Mrs Brindley, in particular, laughed now; she gazed at the table-cloth and laughed almost silently to herself; though it appeared that their joint forgetfulness might result in temporary estrangement from a venerable ancestor who was also, birthdays being duly observed, a continual fount of rich presents in specie.
Robert Brindley drew a time-table from his breast-pocket with the rapid gesture of habit. All men of business in the Five Towns seem to carry that time-table in their breast-pockets. Then he examined his watch carefully.
"You'll have time to dress up your progeny and catch the 2.5. It makes the connection at Knype for Axe."
The two little boys, aged perhaps four and six, who had been ladling the messy contents of specially deep plates on to their bibs, dropped their spoons and began to babble about grea'-granny, and one of them insisted several times that he must wear his new gaiters."

Personal note: I like Arnold Bennett's writing, and have read several of his books with pleasure and personal profit.  This breezy writing is delightful when he does it well, but it isn't always a success- there's a story that ought to be tragic and heartbreaking, but which the author seems to feel no more regret over than a possible missed birthday. It's a little odd and not a little chilling how he coldly recounts it.  Still, this little book is mostly a pleasant read, just be forewarned.


Excerpt chosen at random: The reign of Heraclius forms the best dividing point in the history of the empire between what may roughly be called Ancient History and the Middle Ages. There is no break at all between Constantine and Heraclius, though the area, character, social life, and religion of the empire had been greatly modified in the three hundred years that separated them. The new order of things, which commenced when Constantine established his capital on the Bosphorus, had a peaceable and orderly development. The first prominent fact that strikes the eye in the history of the three centuries is that the sceptre passed from sovereign to sovereign in quiet and undisturbed devolution. From the death of Valens onward there is no instance of a military usurper breaking the line of succession till the crowning of Phocas in 602. The emperors were either designated by their predecessors or—less frequently—chosen by the high officials and the senate. The regularity of their sequence is all [pg 142] the more astonishing when we realize that only in three cases in the whole period was father succeeded by son. Saving Constantine himself, Theodosius I., and Arcadius, not a single emperor left male issue; yet the hereditary instinct had grown so strong in the empire that nephews, sons-in-law, and brothers-in-law of sovereigns were gladly received as their legitimate heirs. Considering this tendency, it is extraordinary to note that the whole three hundred years did not produce a single unmitigated tyrant. Constantius II. was gloomy and sometimes cruel, Valens was stupid and avaricious, Arcadius utterly weak and inept, Justinian hard and thankless; but the general average of the emperors were men of respectable ability, and in moral character they will compare favourably with any list of sovereigns of similar length that any country can produce.

Probably best enjoyed by history nerds.=)


Contents;
PAGE
Preface v
The League of Nations and the Rehabilitation of Europe Rt. Hon. Lord Robert Cecil 1
The Balance of Power Professor A.F. Pollard 19
International Disarmament Sir Frederick Maurice 37
Reparations and Inter-Allied Debt John Maynard Keynes 51
The Outlook for National Finance Sir Josiah Stamp 59
Free Trade Rt. Hon. J.M. Robertson 74
India Sir Hamilton Grant 92
Egypt J.A. Spender 111
The Machinery of Government Ramsay Muir 120
The State and Industry W.T. Layton 145
The Regulation of Wages Professor L.T. Hobhouse 165
Unemployment H.D. Henderson 176
The Problem of the Mines Arnold D. McNair 194
The Land Question A.S. Comyns Carr 212
Agricultural Questions Rt. Hon. F.D. Acland 227
Excerpt:
Mr. Robertson said:—At an early stage of the war Mr. H.G. Wells published a newspaper article to the effect that while we remained Free Traders we were determined in future to accord free entry only to the goods of those States which allowed it to us. The mere state of war, no doubt, predisposed many to assent to such theses who a few years before would have remembered that this was but the nominal position of the average protectionist of the three preceding generations. War being in itself the negation of Free Trade, the inevitable restrictions and the war temper alike prepared many to find reasons for continuing a restrictive policy when the war was over. When, therefore, the Committee of Lord Balfour of Burleigh published its report, suggesting a variety of reasons for setting up compromises in a tariffist direction, there were not wanting professed Free Traders who agreed that the small tariffs proposed would not do any harm, while others were even anxious to think that they might do good.
Yet the policy proposed by Lord Balfour’s Committee has not been adopted by the Coalition Government in anything like its entirety. Apart from the Dyestuffs Act, and such devices as the freeing of home-made sugar from excise, we have only had the Safeguarding of Industries Bill, a meticulously conditional measure, providing for the setting up of particular tariffs in respect of particular industries which may at a given moment be adjudged by special committees ad hoc to need special protection from what is loosely called “dumping.” And even the findings of these committees so far have testified above all things to the lack of any accepted set of principles of a protectionist character. Six thousand five hundred articles have been catalogued as theoretically liable to protective treatment, and some dozen have been actually protected. They have given protection to certain products and refused it to others; according it to fabric gloves and glass and aluminium goods and refusing it to dolls’ eyes and gold leaf.
Finally, the decision in favour of a tariff on fabric gloves has evoked such a storm of protest from the textile manufacturers who export the yarns with which foreign fabric gloves are made, that even the Coalitionist press has avowed its nervousness. When a professed protectionist like Lord Derby, actually committed to this protectionist Act, declares that it will never do to protect one industry at the cost of injuring a much greater one, those of his party who have any foresight must begin to be apprehensive even when a House of Commons majority backs the Government, which, hard driven by its tariffists, decided to back its Tariff Committee against Lancashire. Protectionists are not much given to the searching study of statistics, but many of them have mastered the comparatively simple statistical process of counting votes.
Excerpt: Archimedes was killed by a Roman soldier, to the great grief of Marcellus, when the Romans finally took Syracuse. The city fell through drunkenness, which was, and is, the cause of more failure in the world than anything else which can be named. Marcellus, in some conversations about the exchange or redemption of a prisoner, observed a tower somewhat detached from the wall, which was, as he thought, carelessly guarded. Choosing the night of a feast of Diana, when the Syracusans were wholly given up to wine and sport, he took the tower by surprise, and from the tower seized the wall and made his way into the city. In the sack of the city by the soldiers, which followed, Archimedes was killed. The story is told in different ways. Plutarch says that he was working[Pg 35] out some problem by a diagram, and never noticed the incursion of the Romans, nor that the city was taken. A soldier, unexpectedly coming up to him in this transport of study and meditation, commanded him to follow him to Marcellus; which he declining to do before he had worked out his problem to a demonstration, the soldier, enraged, drew his sword, and ran him through. "Others write that a Roman soldier, running upon him with a drawn sword, offered to kill him, and that Archimedes, looking back, earnestly besought him to hold his hand a little while, that he might not leave what he was then at work upon inconsequent and imperfect; but the soldier, not moved by his entreaty, instantly killed him. Others, again, relate that as Archimedes was carrying to Marcellus mathematical instruments, dials, spheres, and angles by which the magnitude of the sun might be measured to the sight, some soldiers, seeing him, and thinking that he carried gold in a vessel, slew him.
"Certain it is, that his death was very afflicting to Marcellus, and that Marcellus ever after regarded him that killed him as a murderer, and that he sought for the kindred of Archimedes and honored them with signal honors."
Archimedes, as has been said, had asked that his monument might be a cylinder bearing a sphere, in commemoration of his discovery of the proportion between a cylinder and a sphere of the same diameter. A century and a half after, when Cicero was quæstor of Sicily, he found this monument, neglected, forgotten, and covered with a rank growth of thistles and other weeds.
"It was left," he says, "for one who came from Arpinas, to show to the men of Syracuse where their greatest countryman lay buried."

Don’t have a Kindle? : You don’t have to have Kindle to take advantage of these offers. You can read them on various free reading apps.

NOT FREE:

Audible is currently running a 2 for 1 deal on some specific titles.  Here's what I chose:

Ghengis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

A Wuthering Heights recording

The Learning Brain, a Great Courses program

A Don Quixote recording

Recent Kindle reads and purchases:

Schoolhouse in the Parlour I read a chapter from one of the books in this series to two of my oldest grandchildren, aged 9 and 7, and they laughed out loud in all the right places and clearly gave some thought to some big ideas they were introduced to.

Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction- one of my daughters bought this for one of her sisters for Christmas and I started it.  Now I have to finish it so I bought my own.


What are you reading?



Monday, December 17, 2018

Recall and Education

“Active Recall Testing
Active recall testing means being asked a question and trying to remember the answer. This is in contrast to passive study, where we read, watch or listen to something without pausing to consider if we know the answer. Research has shown that active recall testing is far more effective at building strong memories than passive study. There are two reasons for this:
The act of recalling something strengthens the memory, increasing the chances we’ll be able to remember it again.
When we’re unable to answer a question, it tells us we need to return to the material to review or relearn it.
You have probably encountered active recall testing in your school years without even realizing it. When good teachers give you a series of questions to answer after reading an article, or make you take weekly progress-check tests, they are not doing it simply to see if you understood the material or not. By testing you, they are increasing the chances you will be able to remember the material in the future.
From: https://apps.ankiweb.net/docs/manual.html#introduction
Charlotte Mason on the value of narration in securing the attention:
But, it will be said, reading or hearing various books read, chapter by chapter, and then narrating or writing what has been read or some part of it,––all this is mere memory work. The value of this criticism may be readily tested; will the critic read before turning off his light a leading article from a newspaper, say, or a chapter from Boswell or Jane Austen, or one of Lamb’s Essays; then, will he put himself to sleep by narrating silently what he has read. He will not be satisfied with the result but he will find that in the act of narrating every power of his mind comes into play, that points and bearings which he had not observed are brought out; that the whole is visualized and brought into relief in an extraordinary way; in fact, that scene or argument has become a part of his personal experience; he knows, he has assimilated what he has read. This is not memory work. In order to memorise, we repeat over and over a passage or a series of points or names with the aid of such clues as we can invent; we do memorise a string of facts or words, and the new possession serves its purpose for a time, but it is not assimilated; its purpose being served, we know it no more. This is memory work by means of which examinations are passed with credit. I will not try to explain (or understand!) this power to memorise;––it has its subsidiary use in education, no doubt, but it must not be put in the place of the prime agent which is attention.
Long ago, I was in the habit of hearing this axiom quoted by a philosophical old friend: “The mind can know nothing save what it can produce in the form of an answer to a question put to the mind by itself.”
Our more advanced psychologists come to our support here; they, too, predicate “instead of a congerie of faculties, a single subjective activity, attention;” and again, there is “one common factor in all psychics activity, that is attention.” (I again quote from the article on Psychology in the Encyclopedia Britannica.) My personal addition is that attention is unfailing, prompt and steady when matter is presented suitable to a child’s intellectual requirements, if the presentation be made with the conciseness, directness, and simplicity proper to literature.
Another point should be borne in mind; the intellect requires a moral impulse, and we all stir our minds into action the better if there is an implied ‘must’ in the background; for children in class the ‘must’ acts through the certainty that they will be required to narrate or write from what they have read with no opportunity of ‘looking ‘up,’ or other devices of the idle.
https://www.amblesideonline.org/CM/vol6complete.html#6_0_0_intro
This repeated questioning in a Charlotte Mason education happens in a different, more natural way at the end of a reading or selection, when we ask for narration. It happens at the start of the next reading, which we begin by asking, “Where were we?” Or “Who remembers what happened last?”  It happens again when doing timelines, history books, or geography.  It happens often when reading other books which refer to people or events we've read about, include snatches of poems or folk songs we know, includes elements of plots we've seen in other stories.  It happens when they do copywork or dictation from their reading as they are reminded again of something they were reading and they naturally place the copywork quote in their reading.
It happens again at the end of every term, when the children are given exams. It also happens in a general way when we ask, “What else does this remind you of?” and the child then asks himself that question, turning over other readings and stories and events in his mind as he searches for connections, for other things that relate in some way to today’s reading.