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having no dolorous background in memory to make the present ineffectual. In that background for me were days and nights in water and clay-marn to the waist, with death above the leafless winter hedge shot stooping-high; days and nights without sleep, weeks and months without hope, without liberty life with neither present nor future, worse than death, for death was release; life more terrible than being in a gin, for God has blessed man with the power to reason, and I knew that if I sought release and failed, or escaped from killing men I did not hate nor had ever seen before, I should be caught and shot before sunrise in peace-time clothes, with a bandage over my eyes and a white paper mark pinned opposite my heart, still joined in spirit to the mother who bore me in pain and afterjoy, and my name and my regiment would be read out on three successive parades to every soldier in the British Army in that alien country. These memories of 1914, and later ones far, far worse, made a background in endurance for the human spirit that had suffered and survived them. The pain as of thorns pushed under finger nails was nothing it would pass.
The linhay withstood the storm, as it had others, held by the stout cores of its upright posts. The day began to grow again in the glacial twilight of the loft. Old boards grew swiftly green; the battering on the roof suddenly ceased with a few lingering taps against the iron sheets. Drops falling by the empty squares of the window were white; they glittered! and blue and white sea and sky were beyond.
was like the Salient in the winter of 1917 seen from a low-flying aeroplane. Hoof holes, shapeless and trodden into one another, were filled with water to their broken edges. Wind wrinkled the sky gleams by the posts. Against the inner wall the vixen sat, on one of the slabs of ironstone. Her back and neck were curved like a snail shell, and her nose touched the mud. She was shivering with every breath. The foot of the broken foreleg, and the gin that gripped it, were in the mud. Beside her on the other slab, about eighteen inches away, sat the rabbit. It looked about it with the relaxed movements and expression of an animal at ease. I had heard of timid and preying animals sheltering together innocently during a storm, but this was the only time I had witnessed such a pleasing sight.
A sound from above, from my companion, made vixen and rabbit look up together. We kept still, and they relaxed. I saw the vixen turn her mangy head toward the rabbit, which continued to nibble its forepaw. The narrow head began to droop, and a voice above me begged to be allowed to get down. I had forgotten those bluish hands, rough with chilblains. The field was a brilliant green, and steaming in the hot rays of the sun.
As I climbed down the ladder I saw, from the tail of my eye, the rabbit in a series of splashes crossing to the grass beyond the round posts. It disappeared. The vixen had risen on the stone. Her mouth was open, showing her teeth. She stood on three legs placed close together, swaying to keep balance, her brush pressed against the wall. She tried to stay herself with her broken leg, but it gave no support, and each time she nearly tipped into the mud.
There used to live in the village an old trapper who nearly died of the effects of a fox's bite, which festered and made his hand swell, and his joints to
be painful with inner corruption. This animal must have been feeding on slugs, beetles, and carrion left by magpies and buzzards rats thrown out of gins in cornfields, broken carcasses of rabbits and its teeth were probably more dirty than those of a healthy fox. How else had it survived, limping for weeks or months (long before clicketing time, perhaps), dragging the gin clanking on every stone, and rattling on the hard ground? I was afraid of its bite, having seen, some years before, a fox dead in a gin with lockjaw. Better to kill it, and so put myself out of my misery, for it was a woeful sight; and, although the poor beast might have been used to its slow and crippled ways, there were the cubs, soon to be born. Better to knock the 'viccy' on the nose with my stick, and bury her under a heap of stones.
My companion and I ran over the grass in the wind and the sunshine, swinging our arms, and laughing at each other with the pain in toes and fingers. We had a warm, dry cottage in the valley over the down, a garden filled with vegetables, fruit trees, stores of apples, potatoes, and wood for firing; shelves of books to read, clothes to wear, and flowers to tend in the coming spring and summer; we had a merry little babe with six teeth, who watched the rooks flying over the roof with sticks for their nests, and shouted Duka duk!' to them. So when we were warm again we returned with the sack to the linhay and, putting it over the head of the vixen, held her easily in her weak struggles, carried her into the field, trod on the steel spring to open the creaking iron jaws of the gin, and lifted out the paw. An easy matter to snick with a knife the frayed tendons, and to bind the stump with my tie, securing it with string. Then the sack was pulled away, rolling over the vixen. She kicked and scrambled on her three
and a half feet, and faced us, snarling, with arched back and ears laid flat. I tapped the gin beside her with my stick and she snapped at it. Pushing the end through the spring, I drew it away; she lifted the stump and made the other foreleg rigid, as though to resist. Slowly we walked backward, drawing the gin over the wet grass. She whined, holding out a quivering stump. Five yards, ten yards, twenty yards - slowly we drew away from her, while she watched with raised ears and shifting feet.
We stood still. She arose and hobbled away, as though still dragging the iron. We watched her to the grass-tied plough under the wall. Here she smelt food, and down went her nose, searching for scraps of bread and boiled bacon left by us for the birds. We saw her rolling on her back in the sunlight before she disappeared through the gateway to the slope of furze and heather.
The daffodils in the garden broke yellow, and danced for weeks in the wind until their blooms were frayed; the sand martins and the chiffchaffs came back to the village. We saw the first swallows flitting over the seaward slope of the down. A trapper called to us from the bank, stopping his work to tell us of what he thought was a very strange thing. He had found something in one of his rabbit gins in the sand hills below. The sand had been laid by rain after he had tilled the gins the afternoon before, and visiting them that morning he had seen the prints of a walking fox, the marks of scurry round the gin it had sprung, and the trail leading away. How the bit of raggedy stuff had got in the gin he could n't think. Had he got it? No, he had 'throwed it away, not thinking much of it at the time; 't was a bit of old raggedy black stuff, with yaller stripes on'n. Aiy, like a wasp!'
I knew that regimental tie.
BY A. E. DOUGLASS
ASTRONOMY comes first. No science in all the long list of sciences has played a greater part in stimulating human progress. It entered the intellectual arena as a means of measuring time of the day, the month, or the year; and it still continues to be our last referee in that line. But its greater stimulus has come in stretching our ideas of the enormous extent of space and in challenging us to measure it. In that process we have been compelled to develop mathematics in marvelous detail; and those who care not for numbers are equally inspired to visualize the enlarging universe and so build their own conception of the vast realm of creation in which man is less than a speck of dust.
To primitive man the universe was a small flat earth, consisting of his immediate locality, bounded often by mountain ranges; and overhead the clouds; and just beyond the clouds the sun, moon, and stars. He had no way of measuring the distance of these objects, and to him they were merely toys just out of reach. Then the Greeks in the day of their greatness invented geometry, or a method of 'measuring the earth.' This was one of the greatest discoveries of all time, and Greek thought was full of it. The fact that we study it to-day in the high school is a monument to their genius. They succeeded in measuring the diameter of the earth, but no objects beyond, even though they had invented methods
of measuring the distance of objects out of reach.
The greatest book on science written in antiquity was by Ptolemy, an Alexandrian Greek, who lived more than a century after Christ. His book is about astronomy, but contains all the knowledge of his day in scientific lines. He treats of the earth and of geography and of mathematics and of the motion of the stars and planets, but he makes the mistake of placing the earth at the centre of the universe. His real reason for this was simple common sense. The stars and planets were believed to be near and small, and it would have been entirely absurd to think of those small objects as being stationary with the great earth moving around them; whereas it was entirely reasonable to think of the earth as stationary, with the little planets going around it every day.
This mistake lasted fourteen hundred years. In the meantime the Arabians improved their mathematical methods and got a real idea of the distance of the moon and therefore of its size, and by the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it was realized that the sun was much farther off than the moon and consequently much bigger. Therefore Copernicus and Galileo, realizing that the vast sun was more likely to be stationary than the smaller earth, began the modern teaching of our solar system as we know it. Yet the people of their day could not
understand any new arrangement of the heavenly bodies, because as yet they were slow to learn the greater distance of the sun and moon, and they opposed these astronomers so violently that Galileo spent all of his old age in prison. Add to this the fact that the religious faith of that day had become tied to the idea of the earth as a centre; in short, people had made a religious idol of that thought, and they opposed the new idea with a fanaticism that we cannot realize to-day. But by 1650 the distance of the sun was known and generally accepted, and this religious idol was thrown down. It was seen that the sun is of immense size and situated in the centre, and the smaller planets move around in orbits, each in its own particular year. But the stars beyond were still thought of as a canopy off at the end of space, like a curtain hung about the universe.
It was two hundred years after the solar system was recognized that the distance of the first star was measured - a distance so great that it is impossible for us to realize it. The earth is 8000 miles in diameter. The moon is distant 30 times this, or 240,000 miles; and the sun is almost 400 times as far away as the moon, or 93,000,000 miles. If a traveler should go by express train across the continent and back continuously, it would take him four hundred years to travel that distance. That seems great enough, but the nearest star is 275,000 times that distance. That makes twenty trillion miles, or three and a half light years. Stellar distances are so vast that this new unit has been adopted to express them. Light travels 186,000 miles a second. The nearest star is so far that light takes three and a half years to come from it.
By 1900 some fifty or a hundred stellar distances had been measured by the Greek method, and then Kapteyn
greatly extended that method by using as a base line not the diameter of the earth's orbit, as heretofore, but the motion of our sun in space. He was followed by Adams, of the Mount Wilson Solar Observatory, and others who worked out a spectroscopic method, by means of which more than 2500 stars are now known as to distance. Shapley, of the Harvard College Observatory, using an observation of Miss Leavitt's, has worked out the application of what is known as the Cepheid Luminosity Period Law and obtained distances as great as one million light years, so that now we can see past the nearer stellar trees and discover the forest of stars beyond. We find that the brighter stars are generally near us, but that they are at immensely different distances. They form a group of which our sun is a member, and this group is called our local cluster. Its members may be as much as two hundred light years away. Beyond that the stars thin out a little until we come to other local clusters. Many of these supply our constellation groups. For instance, Orion is one group, distant five hundred or six hundred light years. We know that vast numbers of these groups combine to form our galaxy or stellar system, of which the Milky Way is our direct evidence. This stellar system, which has long been called our universe, has the shape of a disk, thicker at the centre like a lens. Its thickness through is possibly 10,000 light years, and its full diameter is 75,000 to 100,000 light years. Beyond its edges are vast vacant spaces until we come to other stellar systems, some of the nearest of which are 1,000,000 light years away. With our giant telescopes of the present time these other universes are readily recognized, and to-day we know that more than half a million of them exist. These are the 'Island Universes.'
Such, then, is the vast conception a very wonderful invention to bring
which has come from the development of methods of measuring distance, and we feel that space is boundless. We have broken down the idol of past ages the idea of a small or limited space. And we know that the whole matter of extension of space is not a religious matter at all.
The similar popular idea of time is a failure. It is still regarded as a religious matter, for many of our best people and our best friends visualize all prehistory as one day of beginning, and the vast possibilities of all future history as one day when the world shall come to an end. This reminds us of the poet under the Arizona stars who sees the stars merely as a canopy moving overhead; or it recalls the beautiful dome in the Vatican Observatory with the stars painted on the inside so that one can sit and see the constellations, but the stars are all at uniform distance, obviously made for man's amusement and without real existence of their own apart from man.
The people who look back upon all history and see only one day of beginning, and that not far distant, should visit the Hermit Trail in the Grand Canyon, where a rock is shown across which are animal tracks. Their identity is obvious; any small boy can recognize them; he has seen such markings thousands of times on the sand of the desert or the seashore. It is perfectly clear that an animal walked across this rock while it was still soft sand, but now his tracks disappear under a thousand-foot cliff. When that animal walked, the cliff of solid rock was not there. It took millions of years for that cliff to form and to be placed in its present condition.
Geology is full of illustrations of that sort, and scientists have made
these events of past time into an orderly sequence. This invention is our second science, evolution, which bears the same relation to the oneday-of-beginning idea that the moving picture bears to the ordinary photograph. Evolution is the commonest experience in human life. Every growing child is an illustration, and, of all people who have to do with this phase of evolution, teachers take the first place. They are contributing a most important part in the development of every individual. So evolution is not specially a question of man and his ancestry, but evolution is any orderly progress in the course of time.
The science of evolution would need days for a fair description and this is not the place for it, but one of its latest phases only will be mentioned. Dr. Conklin of Princeton says that man is not now going through any course of physical or mental evolution, but he is developing in social groups; and this is true, for, as you look about, you see that our activities today are devoted largely to organization of human endeavor in various groups, such as a school, a business company, or a woman's club. Your luncheon club, your lodge, school, church, city, state, and nation, are groups in a continuous state of competitive progress. I like to think of these groups as having living human personalities, and for the sake of distinction I like to call them 'super-persons.' They each include many people, or at least the interest and work of many people, and they last longer than any one person. For example, the United States is a living human super-person. In a recent address Dr. Moore, of Los Angeles, said that he asked his students, 'What is the United States?' Someone answered: 'Look at the map and see the mountains, the rivers, plains, and