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Madam How and Lady Why, or First Lessons in Earth Lore for Children by Charles Kingsley

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Well, I am sure that Master Synthesis could not put that together
again: and equally sure that Master Analysis might spend ages in
taking it to pieces, before he found out how it was made. And--we
are lucky to-day, for this lower chalk to the south has very few
fossils in it--here is something else which is not mere carbonate
of lime. Look at it.

A little cockle, something like a wrinkled hazel-nut.

No; that is no cockle. Madam How invented that ages and ages
before she thought of cockles, and the animal which lived inside
that shell was as different from a cockle-animal as a sparrow is
from a dog. That is a Terebratula, a gentleman of a very ancient
and worn-out family. He and his kin swarmed in the old seas, even
as far back as the time when the rocks of the Welsh mountains were
soft mud; as you will know when you read that great book of Sir
Roderick Murchison's, Siluria. But as the ages rolled on, they
got fewer and fewer, these Terebratulae; and now there are hardly
any of them left; only six or seven sorts are left about these
islands, which cling to stones in deep water; and the first time I
dredged two of them out of Loch Fyne, I looked at them with awe,
as on relics from another world, which had lasted on through
unnumbered ages and changes, such as one's fancy could not grasp.

But you will agree that, if Master Analysis took that shell to
pieces, Master Synthesis would not be likely to put it together
again; much less to put it together in the right way, in which
Madam How made it.

And what was that?

By making a living animal, which went on growing, that is, making
itself; and making, as it grew, its shell to live in. Synthesis
has not found out yet the first step towards doing that; and, as I
believe, he never will.

But there would be no harm in his trying?

Of course not. Let everybody try to do everything they fancy.
Even if they fail, they will have learnt at least that they cannot
do it.

But now--and this is a secret which you would never find out for
yourself, at least without the help of a microscope--the greater
part of this lump of chalk is made up of things which neither
Analysis can perfectly take to pieces, nor Synthesis put together
again. It is made of dead organisms, that is, things which have
been made by living creatures. If you washed and brushed that
chalk into powder, you would find it full of little things like
the Dentalina in this drawing, and many other curious forms. I
will show you some under the microscope one day.

They are the shells of animals called Foraminifera, because the
shells of some of them are full of holes, through which they put
out tiny arms. So small they are and so many, that there may be,
it is said, forty thousand of them in a bit of chalk an inch every
way. In numbers past counting, some whole, some broken, some
ground to the finest powder, they make up vast masses of England,
which are now chalk downs; and in some foreign countries they make
up whole mountains. Part of the building stone of the Great
Pyramid in Egypt is composed, I am told, entirely of them.

And how did they get into the chalk?

Ah! How indeed? Let us think. The chalk must have been laid
down at the bottom of a sea, because there are sea-shells in it.
Besides, we find little atomies exactly like these alive now in
many seas; and therefore it is fair to suppose these lived in the
sea also.

Besides, they were not washed into the chalk by any sudden flood.
The water in which they settled must have been quite still, or
these little delicate creatures would have been ground into
powder--or rather into paste. Therefore learned men soon made up
their minds that these things were laid down at the bottom of a
deep sea, so deep that neither wind, nor tide, nor currents could
stir the everlasting calm.

Ah! it is worth thinking over, for it shows how shrewd a giant
Analysis is, and how fast he works in these days, now that he has
got free and well fed;--worth thinking over, I say, how our
notions about these little atomies have changed during the last
forty years.

We used to find them sometimes washed up among the sea-sand on the
wild Atlantic coast; and we were taught, in the days when old Dr.
Turton was writing his book on British shells at Bideford, to call
them Nautili, because their shells were like Nautilus shells. Men
did not know then that the animal which lives in them is no more
like a Nautilus animal than it is like a cow.

For a Nautilus, you must know, is made like a cuttlefish, with
eyes, and strong jaws for biting, and arms round them; and has a
heart, and gills, and a stomach; and is altogether a very well-
made beast, and, I suspect, a terrible tyrant to little fish and
sea-slugs, just as the cuttlefish is. But the creatures which
live in these little shells are about the least finished of Madam
How's works. They have neither mouth nor stomach, eyes nor limbs.
They are mere live bags full of jelly, which can take almost any
shape they like, and thrust out arms--or what serve for arms--
through the holes in their shells, and then contract them into
themselves again, as this Globigerina does. What they feed on,
how they grow, how they make their exquisitely-formed shells,
whether, indeed, they are, strictly speaking, animals or
vegetables, Analysis has not yet found out. But when you come to
read about them, you will find that they, in their own way, are
just as wonderful and mysterious as a butterfly or a rose; and
just as necessary, likewise, to Madam How's work; for out of them,
as I told you, she makes whole sheets of down, whole ranges of

No one knew anything, I believe, about them, save that two or
three kinds of them were found in chalk, till a famous Frenchman,
called D'Orbigny, just thirty years ago, told the world how he had
found many beautiful fresh kinds; and, more strange still, that
some of these kinds were still alive at the bottom of the
Adriatic, and of the harbour of Alexandria, in Egypt.

Then in 1841 a gentleman named Edward Forbes,--now with God--whose
name will be for ever dear to all who love science, and honour
genius and virtue,-- found in the AEgean Sea "a bed of chalk," he
said, "full of Foraminifera, and shells of Pteropods," forming at
the bottom of the sea.

And what are Pteropods?

What you might call sea-moths (though they are not really moths),
which swim about on the surface of the water, while the right-
whales suck them in tens of thousands into the great whalebone net
which fringes their jaws. Here are drawings of them. 1. Limacina
(on which the whales feed); and 2. Hyalea, a lovely little thing
in a glass shell, which lives in the Mediterranean.

But since then strange discoveries have been made, especially by
the naval officers who surveyed the bottom of the great Atlantic
Ocean before laying down the electric cable between Ireland and
America. And this is what they found:

That at the bottom of the Atlantic were vast plains of soft mud,
in some places 2500 fathoms (15,000 feet) deep; that is, as deep
as the Alps are high. And more: they found out, to their
surprise, that the oozy mud of the Atlantic floor was made up
almost entirely of just the same atomies as make up our chalk,
especially globigerinas; that, in fact, a vast bed of chalk was
now forming at the bottom of the Atlantic, with living shells and
sea-animals of the most brilliant colours crawling about on it in
black darkness, and beds of sponges growing out of it, just as the
sponges grew at the bottom of the old chalk ocean, and were all,
generation after generation, turned into flints.

And, for reasons which you will hardly understand, men are
beginning now to believe that the chalk has never ceased to be
made, somewhere or other, for many thousand years, ever since the
Winchester Downs were at the bottom of the sea: and that "the
Globigerina-mud is not merely A chalk formation, but a
continuation of THE chalk formation, so THAT WE MAY BE SAID TO BE
STILL LIVING IN THE AGE OF CHALK." {1} Ah, my little man, what
would I not give to see you, before I die, add one such thought as
that to the sum of human knowledge!

So there the little creatures have been lying, making chalk out of
the lime in the sea-water, layer over layer, the young over the
old, the dead over the living, year after year, age after age--for
how long?

Who can tell? How deep the layer of new chalk at the bottom of
the Atlantic is, we can never know. But the layer of live atomies
on it is not an inch thick, probably not a tenth of an inch. And
if it grew a tenth of an inch a year, or even a whole inch, how
many years must it have taken to make the chalk of our downs,
which is in some parts 1300 feet thick? How many inches are there
in 1300 feet? Do that sum, and judge for yourself.

One difference will be found between the chalk now forming at the
bottom of the ocean, if it ever become dry land, and the chalk on
which you tread on the downs. The new chalk will be full of the
teeth and bones of whales--warm-blooded creatures, who suckle
their young like cows, instead of laying eggs, like birds and
fish. For there were no whales in the old chalk ocean; but our
modern oceans are full of cachalots, porpoises, dolphins, swimming
in shoals round any ship; and their bones and teeth, and still
more their ear-bones, will drop to the bottom as they die, and be
found, ages hence, in the mud which the live atomies make, along
with wrecks of mighty ships

"Great anchors, heaps of pearl,"

and all that man has lost in the deep seas. And sadder fossils
yet, my child, will be scattered on those white plains:-

"To them the love of woman hath gone down,
Dark roll their waves o'er manhood's noble head.
O'er youth's bright locks, and beauty's flowing crown;
Yet shall they hear a voice, 'Restore the dead.'
Earth shall reclaim her precious things from thee.
Give back the dead, thou Sea!"


Now you want to know what I meant when I talked of a bit of lime
going out to sea, and forming part of a coral island, and then of
a limestone rock, and then of a marble statue. Very good. Then
look at this stone.

What a curious stone! Did it come from any place near here?

No. It came from near Dudley, in Staffordshire, where the soils
are worlds on worlds older than they are here, though they were
made in the same way as these and all other soils. But you are
not listening to me.

Why, the stone is full of shells, and bits of coral; and what are
these wonderful things coiled and tangled together, like the
snakes in Medusa's hair in the picture? Are they snakes?

If they are, then they must be snakes who have all one head; for
see, they are joined together at their larger ends; and snakes
which are branched, too, which no snake ever was.

Yes. I suppose they are not snakes. And they grow out of a
flower, too; and it has a stalk, jointed, too, as plants sometimes
are; and as fishes' backbones are too. Is it a petrified plant or

No; though I do not deny that it looks like one. The creature
most akin to it which you ever saw is a star-fish.

What! one of the red star-fishes which one finds on the beach?
Its arms are not branched.

No. But there are star-fishes with branched arms still in the
sea. You know that pretty book (and learned book, too), Forbes's
British Star-fishes? You like to look it through for the sake of
the vignettes,--the mermaid and her child playing in the sea.

Oh yes, and the kind bogie who is piping while the sandstars
dance; and the other who is trying to pull out the star-fish which
the oyster has caught.

Yes. But do you recollect the drawing of the Medusa's head, with
its curling arms, branched again and again without end? Here it
is. No, you shall not look at the vignettes now. We must mind
business. Now look at this one; the Feather-star, with arms
almost like fern-fronds. And in foreign seas there are many other
branched star-fish beside.

But they have no stalks?

Do not be too sure of that. This very feather-star, soon after it
is born, grows a tiny stalk, by which it holds on to corallines
and sea-weeds; and it is not till afterwards that it breaks loose
from that stalk, and swims away freely into the wide water. And
in foreign seas there are several star-fish still who grow on
stalks all their lives, as this fossil one did.

How strange that a live animal should grow on a stalk, like a

Not quite like a flower. A flower has roots, by which it feeds in
the soil. These things grow more like sea-weeds, which have no
roots, but only hold on to the rock by the foot of the stalk, as a
ship holds on by her anchor. But as for its being strange that
live animals should grow on stalks, if it be strange it is common
enough, like many far stranger things. For under the water are
millions on millions of creatures, spreading for miles on miles,
building up at last great reefs of rocks, and whole islands, which
all grow rooted first to the rock, like sea-weeds; and what is
more, they grow, most of them, from one common root, branching
again and again, and every branchlet bearing hundreds of living
creatures, so that the whole creation is at once one creature and
many creatures. Do you not understand me?


Then fancy to yourself a bush like that hawthorn bush, with
numberless blossoms, and every blossom on that bush a separate
living thing, with its own mouth, and arms, and stomach, budding
and growing fresh live branches and fresh live flowers, as fast as
the old ones die: and then you will see better what I mean.

How wonderful!

Yes; but not more wonderful than your finger, for it, too, is made
up of numberless living things.

My finger made of living things?

What else can it be? When you cut your finger, does not the place

Of course.

And what is healing but growing again? And how could the atoms of
your fingers grow, and make fresh skin, if they were not each of
them alive? There, I will not puzzle you with too much at once;
you will know more about all that some day. Only remember now,
that there is nothing wonderful in the world outside you but has
its counterpart of something just as wonderful, and perhaps more
wonderful, inside you. Man is the microcosm, the little world,
said the philosophers of old; and philosophers nowadays are
beginning to see that their old guess is actual fact and true.

But what are these curious sea-creatures called, which are
animals, yet grow like plants?

They have more names than I can tell you, or you remember. Those
which helped to make this bit of stone are called coral-insects:
but they are not really insects, and are no more like insects than
you are. Coral-polypes is the best name for them, because they
have arms round their mouths, something like a cuttle-fish, which
the ancients called Polypus. But the animal which you have seen
likest to most of them is a sea-anemone.

Look now at this piece of fresh coral--for coral it is, though not
like the coral which your sister wears in her necklace. You see
it is full of pipes; in each of those pipes has lived what we will
call, for the time being, a tiny sea-anemone, joined on to his
brothers by some sort of flesh and skin; and all of them together
have built up, out of the lime in the sea-water, this common
house, or rather town, of lime.

But is it not strange and wonderful?

Of course it is: but so is everything when you begin to look into
it; and if I were to go on, and tell you what sort of young ones
these coral-polypes have, and what becomes of them, you would hear
such wonders, that you would be ready to suspect that I was
inventing nonsense, or talking in my dreams. But all that belongs
to Madam How's deepest book of all, which is called the BOOK OF
KIND: the book which children cannot understand, and in which
only the very wisest men are able to spell out a few words, not
knowing, and of course not daring to guess, what wonder may come

Now we will go back to our stone, and talk about how it was made,
and how the stalked star-fish, which you mistook for a flower,
ever got into the stone.

Then do you think me silly for fancying that a fossil star-fish
was a flower?

I should be silly if I did. There is no silliness in not knowing
what you cannot know. You can only guess about new things, which
you have never seen before, by comparing them with old things,
which you have seen before; and you had seen flowers, and snakes,
and fishes' backbones, and made a very fair guess from them.
After all, some of these stalked star-fish are so like flowers,
lilies especially, that they are called Encrinites; and the whole
family is called Crinoids, or lily-like creatures, from the Greek
work KRINON, a lily; and as for corals and corallines, learned
men, in spite of all their care and shrewdness, made mistake after
mistake about them, which they had to correct again and again,
till now, I trust, they have got at something very like the truth.
No, I shall only call you silly if you do what some little boys
are apt to do--call other boys, and, still worse, servants or poor
people, silly for not knowing what they cannot know.

But are not poor people often very silly about animals and plants?
The boys at the village school say that slowworms are poisonous;
is not that silly?

Not at all. They know that adders bite, and so they think that
slowworms bite too. They are wrong; and they must be told that
they are wrong, and scolded if they kill a slowworm. But silly
they are not.

But is it not silly to fancy that swallows sleep all the winter at
the bottom of the pond?

I do not think so. The boys cannot know where the swallows go;
and if you told them--what is true--that the swallows find their
way every autumn through France, through Spain, over the Straits
of Gibraltar, into Morocco, and some, I believe, over the great
desert of Zahara into Negroland: and if you told them--what is
true also--that the young swallows actually find their way into
Africa without having been along the road before; because the old
swallows go south a week or two first, and leave the young ones to
guess out the way for themselves: if you told them that, then
they would have a right to say, "Do you expect us to believe that?
That is much more wonderful than that the swallows should sleep in
the pond."

But is it?

Yes; to them. They know that bats and dormice and other things
sleep all the winter; so why should not swallows sleep? They see
the swallows about the water, and often dipping almost into it.
They know that fishes live under water, and that many insects--
like May-flies and caddis-flies and water-beetles--live sometimes
in the water, sometimes in the open air; and they cannot know--you
do not know--what it is which prevents a bird's living under
water. So their guess is really a very fair one; no more silly
than that of the savages, who when they first saw the white men's
ships, with their huge sails, fancied they were enormous sea-
birds; and when they heard the cannons fire, said that the ships
spoke in thunder and lightning. Their guess was wrong, but not
silly; for it was the best guess they could make.

But I do know of one old woman who was silly. She was a boy's
nurse, and she gave the boy a thing which she said was one of the
snakes which St. Hilda turned into stone; and told him that they
found plenty of them at Whitby, where she was born, all coiled up;
but what was very odd, their heads had always been broken of. And
when he took it, to his father, he told him it was only a fossil
shell--an Ammonite. And he went back and laughed at his nurse,
and teased her till she was quite angry.

Then he was very lucky that she did not box his ears, for that was
what he deserved. I dare say that, though his nurse had never
heard of Ammonites, she was a wise old dame enough, and knew a
hundred things which he did not know, and which were far more
important than Ammonites, even to him.


Because if she had not known how to nurse him well, he would
perhaps have never grown up alive and strong. And if she had not
known how to make him obey and speak the truth, he might have
grown up a naughty boy.

But was she not silly?

No. She only believed what the Whitby folk, I understand, have
some of them believed for many hundred years. And no one can be
blamed for thinking as his forefathers did, unless he has cause to
know better.

Surely she might have known better?

How? What reason could she have to believe the Ammonite was a
shell? It is not the least like cockles, or whelks, or any shell
she ever saw.

What reason either could she have to guess that Whitby cliff had
once been coral-mud, at the bottom of the sea? No more reason, my
dear child, than you would have to guess that this stone had been
coral-mud likewise, if I did not teach you so,--or rather, try to
make you teach yourself so.

No. I say it again. If you wish to learn, I will only teach you
on condition that you do not laugh at, or despise, those good and
honest and able people who do not know or care about these things,
because they have other things to think of: like old John out
there ploughing. He would not believe you--he would hardly
believe me--if we told him that this stone had been once a swarm
of living things, of exquisite shapes and glorious colours. And
yet he can plough and sow, and reap and mow, and fell and strip,
and hedge and ditch, and give his neighbours sound advice, and
take the measure of a man's worth from ten minutes' talk, and say
his prayers, and keep his temper, and pay his debts,--which last
three things are more than a good many folks can do who fancy
themselves a whole world wiser than John in the smock-frock.

Oh, but I want to hear about the exquisite shapes and glorious

Of course you do, little man. A few fine epithets take your fancy
far more than a little common sense and common humility; but in
that you are no worse than some of your elders. So now for the
exquisite shapes and glorious colours. I have never seen them;
though I trust to see them ere I die. So what they are like I can
only tell from what I have learnt from Mr. Darwin, and Mr.
Wallace, and Mr. Jukes, and Mr. Gosse, and last, but not least,
from one whose soul was as beautiful as his face, Lucas Barrett,--
too soon lost to science,--who was drowned in exploring such a
coral-reef as this stone was once.

Then there are such things alive now?

Yes, and no. The descendants of most of them live on, altered by
time, which alters all things; and from the beauty of the children
we can guess at the beauty of their ancestors; just as from the
coral-reefs which exist now we can guess how the coral-reefs of
old were made. And that this stone was once part of a coral-reef
the corals in it prove at first sight.

And what is a coral-reef like?

You have seen the room in the British Museum full of corals,
madrepores, brain-stones, corallines, and sea-ferns?

Oh yes.

Then fancy all those alive. Not as they are now, white stone:
but covered in jelly; and out of every pore a little polype, like
a flower, peeping out. Fancy them of every gaudy colour you
choose. No bed of flowers, they say, can be more brilliant than
the corals, as you look down on them through the clear sea.
Fancy, again, growing among them and crawling over them, strange
sea-anemones, shells, star-fish, sea-slugs, and sea-cucumbers with
feathery gills, crabs, and shrimps, and hundreds of other animals,
all as strange in shape, and as brilliant in colour. You may let
your fancy run wild. Nothing so odd, nothing so gay, even entered
your dreams, or a poet's, as you may find alive at the bottom of
the sea, in the live flower-gardens of the sea-fairies.

There will be shoals of fish, too, playing in and out, as strange
and gaudy as the rest,--parrot-fish who browse on the live coral
with their beak-like teeth, as cattle browse on grass; and at the
bottom, it may be, larger and uglier fish, who eat the crabs and
shell-fish, shells and all, grinding them up as a dog grinds a
bone, and so turning shells and corals into fine soft mud, such as
this stone is partly made of.

But what happens to all the delicate little corals if a storm
comes on?

What, indeed? Madam How has made them so well and wisely, that,
like brave and good men, the more trouble they suffer the stronger
they are. Day and night, week after week, the trade-wind blows
upon them, hurling the waves against them in furious surf,
knocking off great lumps of coral, grinding them to powder,
throwing them over the reef into the shallow water inside. But
the heavier the surf beats upon them, the stronger the polypes
outside grow, repairing their broken houses, and building up fresh
coral on the dead coral below, because it is in the fresh sea-
water that beats upon the surf that they find most lime with which
to build. And as they build they form a barrier against the surf,
inside of which, in water still as glass, the weaker and more
delicate things can grow in safety, just as these very Encrinites
may have grown, rooted in the lime-mud, and waving their slender
arms at the bottom of the clear lagoon. Such mighty builders are
these little coral polypes, that all the works of men are small
compared with theirs. One single reef, for instance, which is
entirely made by them, stretches along the north-east coast of
Australia for nearly a thousand miles. Of this you must read some
day in Mr. Jukes's Voyage of H.M.S. "Fly." Every island
throughout a great part of the Pacific is fringed round each with
its coral-reef, and there are hundreds of islands of strange
shapes, and of Atolls, as they are called, or ring-islands, which
are composed entirely of coral, and of nothing else.

A ring-island? How can an island be made in the shape of a ring?

Ah! it was a long time before men found out that riddle. Mr.
Darwin was the first to guess the answer, as he has guessed many
an answer beside. These islands are each a ring, or nearly a ring
of coral, with smooth shallow water inside: but their outsides
run down, like a mountain wall, sheer into seas hundreds of
fathoms deep. People used to believe, and reasonably enough, that
the coral polypes began to build up the islands from the very
bottom of the deep sea.

But that would not account for the top of them being of the shape
of a ring; and in time it was found out that the corals would not
build except in shallow water, twenty or thirty fathoms deep at
most, and men were at their wits' ends to find out the riddle.
Then said Mr. Darwin, "Suppose one of those beautiful South Sea
Islands, like Tahiti, the Queen of Isles, with its ring of coral-
reef all round its shore, began sinking slowly under the sea. The
land, as it sunk, would be gone for good and all: but the coral-
reef round it would not, because the coral polypes would build up
and up continually upon the skeletons of their dead parents, to
get to the surface of the water, and would keep close to the top
outside, however much the land sunk inside; and when the island
had sunk completely beneath the sea, what would be left? What
must be left but a ring of coral reef, around the spot where the
last mountain peak of the island sank beneath the sea?" And so
Mr. Darwin explained the shapes of hundreds of coral islands in
the Pacific; and proved, too, some strange things besides (he
proved, and other men, like Mr. Wallace, whose excellent book on
the East Indian islands you must read some day, have proved in
other ways) that there was once a great continent, joined perhaps
to Australia and to New Guinea, in the Pacific Ocean, where is now
nothing but deep sea, and coral-reefs which mark the mountain
ranges of that sunken world.

But how does the coral ever rise above the surface of the water
and turn into hard stone?

Of course the coral polypes cannot build above the high-tide mark;
but the surf which beats upon them piles up their broken fragments
just as a sea-beach is piled up, and hammers them together with
that water hammer which is heavier and stronger than any you have
ever seen in a smith's forge. And then, as is the fashion of
lime, the whole mass sets and becomes hard, as you may see mortar
set; and so you have a low island a few feet above the sea. Then
sea-birds come to it, and rest and build; and seeds are floated
thither from far lands; and among them almost always the cocoa-
nut, which loves to grow by the sea-shore, and groves of cocoa
palms grow up upon the lonely isle. Then, perhaps, trees and
bushes are drifted thither before the trade-wind; and entangled in
their roots are seeds of other plants, and eggs or cocoons of
insects; and so a few flowers and a few butterflies and beetles
set up for themselves upon the new land. And then a bird or two,
caught in a storm and blown away to sea finds shelter in the
cocoa-grove; and so a little new world is set up, in which (you
must remember always) there are no four-footed beasts, nor snakes,
nor lizards, nor frogs, nor any animals that cannot cross the sea.
And on some of those islands they may live (indeed there is reason
to believe they have lived), so long, that some of them have
changed their forms, according to the laws of Madam How, who
sooner or later fits each thing exactly for the place in which it
is meant to live, till upon some of them you may find such strange
and unique creatures as the famous cocoa-nut crab, which learned
men call Birgus latro. A great crab he is, who walks upon the
tips of his toes a foot high above the ground. And because he has
often nothing to eat but cocoa-nuts, or at least they are the best
things he can find, cocoa-nuts he has learned to eat, and after a
fashion which it would puzzle you to imitate. Some say that he
climbs up the stems of the cocoa-nut trees, and pulls the fruit
down for himself; but that, it seems, he does not usually do.
What he does is this: when he finds a fallen cocoa-nut, he begins
tearing away the thick husk and fibre with his strong claws; and
he knows perfectly well which end to tear it from, namely, from
the end where the three eye-holes are, which you call the monkey's
face, out of one of which you know, the young cocoa-nut tree would
burst forth. And when he has got to the eye-holes, he hammers
through one of them with the point of his heavy claw. So far, so
good: but how is he to get the meat out? He cannot put his claw
in. He has no proboscis like a butterfly to insert and suck with.
He is as far off from his dinner as the fox was when the stork
offered him a feast in a long-necked jar. What then do you think
he does? He turns himself round, puts in a pair of his hind
pincers, which are very slender, and with them scoops the meat out
of the cocoa-nut, and so puts his dinner into his mouth with his
hind feet. And even the cocoa-nut husk he does not waste; for he
lives in deep burrows which he makes like a rabbit; and being a
luxurious crab, and liking to sleep soft in spite of his hard
shell, he lines them with a quantity of cocoa-nut fibre, picked
out clean and fine, just as if he was going to make cocoa-nut
matting of it. And being also a clean crab, as I hope you are a
clean little boy, he goes down to the sea every night to have his
bath and moisten his gills, and so lives happy all his days, and
gets so fat in his old age that he carries about his body nearly a
quart of pure oil.

That is the history of the cocoa-nut crab. And if any one tells
me that that crab acts only on what is called "instinct"; and does
not think and reason, just as you and I think and reason, though
of course not in words as you and I do: then I shall be inclined
to say that that person does not think nor reason either.

Then were there many coral-reefs in Britain in old times?

Yes, many and many, again and again; some whole ages older than
this, a bit of which you see, and some again whole ages newer.
But look: then judge for yourself. Look at this geological map.
Wherever you see a bit of blue, which is the mark for limestone,
you may say, "There is a bit of old coral-reef rising up to the
surface." But because I will not puzzle your little head with too
many things at once, you shall look at one set of coral-reefs
which are far newer than this bit of Dudley limestone, and which
are the largest, I suppose, that ever were in this country; or, at
least, there is more of them left than of any others.

Look first at Ireland. You see that almost all the middle of
Ireland is coloured blue. It is one great sheet of old coral-reef
and coral-mud, which is now called the carboniferous limestone.
You see red and purple patches rising out of it, like islands--and
islands I suppose they were, of hard and ancient rock, standing up
in the middle of the coral sea.

But look again, and you will see that along the west coast of
Ireland, except in a very few places, like Galway Bay, the blue
limestone does not come down to the sea; the shore is coloured
purple and brown, and those colours mark the ancient rocks and
high mountains of Mayo and Galway and Kerry, which stand as
barriers to keep the raging surf of the Atlantic from bursting
inland and beating away, as it surely would in course of time, the
low flat limestone plain of the middle of Ireland. But the same
coral-reefs once stretched out far to the westward into the
Atlantic Ocean; and you may see the proof upon that map. For in
the western bays, in Clew Bay with its hundred islands, and Galway
Bay with its Isles of Arran, and beautiful Kenmare, and beautiful
Bantry, you see little blue spots, which are low limestone
islands, standing in the sea, overhung by mountains far aloft.
You have often heard those islands in Kenmare Bay talked of, and
how some whom you know go to fish round them by night for turbot
and conger; and when you hear them spoken of again, you must
recollect that they are the last fragments of a great fringing
coral-reef, which will in a few thousand years follow the fate of
the rest, and be eaten up by the waves, while the mountains of
hard rock stand round them still unchanged.

Now look at England, and there you will see patches at least of a
great coral-reef which was forming at the same time as that Irish
one, and on which perhaps some of your schoolfellows have often
stood. You have heard of St. Vincent's Rocks at Bristol, and the
marble cliffs, 250 feet in height, covered in part with rich wood
and rare flowers, and the Avon running through the narrow gorge,
and the stately ships sailing far below your feet from Bristol to
the Severn sea. And you may see, for here they are, corals from
St. Vincent's Rocks, cut and polished, showing too that they also,
like the Dudley limestone, are made up of corals and of coral-mud.
Now, whenever you see St. Vincent's Rocks, as I suspect you very
soon will, recollect where you are, and use your fancy, to paint
for yourself a picture as strange as it is true. Fancy that those
rocks are what they once were, a coral-reef close to the surface
of a shallow sea. Fancy that there is no gorge of the Avon, no
wide Severn sea--for those were eaten out by water ages and ages
afterwards. But picture to yourself the coral sea reaching away
to the north, to the foot of the Welsh mountains; and then fancy
yourself, if you will, in a canoe, paddling up through the coral-
reefs, north and still north, up the valley down which the Severn
now flows, up through what is now Worcestershire, then up through
Staffordshire, then through Derbyshire, into Yorkshire, and so on
through Durham and Northumberland, till your find yourself stopped
by the Ettrick hills in Scotland; while all to the westward of
you, where is now the greater part of England, was open sea. You
may say, if you know anything of the geography of England,
"Impossible! That would be to paddle over the tops of high
mountains; over the top of the Peak in Derbyshire, over the top of
High Craven and Whernside and Pen-y-gent and Cross Fell, and to
paddle too over the Cheviot Hills, which part England and
Scotland." I know it, my child, I know it. But so it was once on
a time. The high limestone mountains which part Lancashire and
Yorkshire--the very chine and backbone of England--were once
coral-reefs at the bottom of the sea. They are all made up of the
carboniferous limestone, so called, as your little knowledge of
Latin ought to tell you, because it carries the coal; because the
coalfields usually lie upon it. It may be impossible in your
eyes: but remember always that nothing is impossible with God.

But you said that the coal was made from plants and trees, and did
plants and trees grow on this coral-reef?

That I cannot say. Trees may have grown on the dry parts of the
reef, as cocoa-nuts grow now in the Pacific. But the coal was not
laid down upon it till long afterwards, when it had gone through
many and strange changes. For all through the chine of England,
and in a part of Ireland too, there lies upon the top of the
limestone a hard gritty rock, in some places three thousand feet
thick, which is commonly called "the mill-stone grit." And above
that again the coal begins. Now to make that 3000 feet of hard
rock, what must have happened? The sea-bottom must have sunk,
slowly no doubt, carrying the coral-reefs down with it, 3000 feet
at least. And meanwhile sand and mud, made from the wearing away
of the old lands in the North must have settled down upon it. I
say from the North--for there are no fossils, as far as I know, or
sign of life, in these rocks of mill-stone grit; and therefore it
is reasonable to suppose that they were brought from a cold
current at the Pole, too cold to allow sea-beasts to live,--quite
cold enough, certainly, to kill coral insects, who could only
thrive in warm water coming from the South.

Then, to go on with my story, upon the top of these mill-stone
grits came sand and mud, and peat, and trees, and plants, washed
out to sea, as far as we can guess, from the mouths of vast rivers
flowing from the West, rivers as vast as the Amazon, the
Mississippi, or the Orinoco are now; and so in long ages, upon the
top of the limestone and upon the top of the mill-stone grit, were
laid down those beds of coal which you see burnt now in every

But how did the coral-reefs rise till they became cliffs at
Bristol and mountains in Yorkshire?

The earthquake steam, I suppose, raised them. One earthquake
indeed, or series of earthquakes, there was, running along between
Lancashire and Yorkshire, which made that vast crack and upheaval
in the rocks, the Craven Fault, running, I believe, for more than
a hundred miles, and lifting the rocks in some places several
hundred feet. That earthquake helped to make the high hills which
overhang Manchester and Preston, and all the manufacturing county
of Lancashire. That earthquake helped to make the perpendicular
cliff at Malham Cove, and many another beautiful bit of scenery.
And that and other earthquakes, by heating the rocks from the
fires below, may have helped to change them from soft coral into
hard crystalline marble as you see them now, just as volcanic heat
has hardened and purified the beautiful white marbles of
Pentelicus and Paros in Greece, and Carrara in Italy, from which
statues are carved unto this day. Or the same earthquake may have
heated and hardened the limestones simply by grinding and
squeezing them; or they may have been heated and hardened in the
course of long ages simply by the weight of the thousands of feet
of other rock which lay upon them. For pressure, you must
remember, produces heat. When you strike flint and steel
together, the pressure of the blow not only makes bits of steel
fly off, but makes them fly off in red-hot sparks. When you
hammer a piece of iron with a hammer, you will soon find it get
quite warm. When you squeeze the air together in your pop-gun,
you actually make the air inside warmer, till the pellet flies
out, and the air expands and cools again. Nay, I believe you
cannot hold up a stone on the palm of your hand without that stone
after a while warming your hand, because it presses against you in
trying to fall, and you press against it in trying to hold it up.
And recollect above all the great and beautiful example of that
law which you were lucky enough to see on the night of the 14th of
November 1867, how those falling stars, as I told you then, were
coming out of boundless space, colder than any ice on earth, and
yet, simply by pressing against the air above our heads, they had
their motion turned into heat, till they burned themselves up into
trains of fiery dust. So remember that wherever you have pressure
you have heat, and that the pressure of the upper rocks upon the
lower is quite enough, some think, to account for the older and
lower rocks being harder than the upper and newer ones.

But why should the lower rocks be older and the upper rocks newer?
You told me just now that the high mountains in Wales were ages
older than Windsor Forest, upon which we stand: but yet how much
lower we are here than if we were on a Welsh mountain.

Ah, my dear child, of course that puzzles you, and I am afraid it
must puzzle you still till we have another talk; or rather it
seems to me that the best way to explain that puzzle to you would
be for you and me to go a journey into the far west, and look into
the matter for ourselves; and from here to the far west we will
go, either in fancy or on a real railroad and steamboat, before we
have another talk about these things.

Now it is time to stop. Is there anything more you want to know?
for you look as if something was puzzling you still.

Were there any men in the world while all this was going on?

I think not. We have no proof that there were not: but also we
have no proof that there were; the cave-men, of whom I told you,
lived many ages after the coal was covered up. You seem to be
sorry that there were no men in the world then.

Because it seems a pity that there was no one to see those
beautiful coral-reefs and coal-forests.

No one to see them, my child? Who told you that? Who told you
there are not, and never have been any rational beings in this
vast universe, save certain weak, ignorant, short-sighted
creatures shaped like you and me? But even if it were so, and no
created eye had ever beheld those ancient wonders, and no created
heart ever enjoyed them, is there not one Uncreated who has seen
them and enjoyed them from the beginning? Were not these
creatures enjoying themselves each after their kind? And was
there not a Father in Heaven who was enjoying their enjoyment, and
enjoying too their beauty, which He had formed according to the
ideas of His Eternal Mind? Recollect what you were told on
Trinity Sunday--That this world was not made for man alone: but
that man, and this world, and the whole Universe was made for God;
for He created all things, and for His pleasure they are, and were


Where were we to go next? Into the far west, to see how all the
way along the railroads the new rocks and soils lie above the
older, and yet how, when we get westward, the oldest rocks rise
highest into the air.

Well, we will go: but not, I think, to-day. Indeed I hardly know
how we could get as far as Reading; for all the world is in the
hay-field, and even the old horse must go thither too, and take
his turn at the hay-cart. Well, the rocks have been where they
are for many a year, and they will wait our leisure patiently
enough: but Midsummer and the hay-field will not wait. Let us
take what God gives when He sends it, and learn the lesson that
lies nearest to us. After all, it is more to my old mind, and
perhaps to your young mind too, to look at things which are young
and fresh and living, rather than things which are old and worn
and dead. Let us leave the old stones, and the old bones, and the
old shells, the wrecks of ancient worlds which have gone down into
the kingdom of death, to teach us their grand lessons some other
day; and let us look now at the world of light and life and
beauty, which begins here at the open door, and stretches away
over the hay-fields, over the woods, over the southern moors, over
sunny France, and sunnier Spain, and over the tropic seas, down to
the equator, and the palm-groves of the eternal summer. If we
cannot find something, even at starting from the open door, to
teach us about Why and How, we must be very short-sighted, or very

There is the old cock starling screeching in the eaves, because he
wants to frighten us away, and take a worm to his children,
without our finding out whereabouts his hole is. How does he know
that we might hurt him? and how again does he not know that we
shall not hurt him? we, who for five-and-twenty years have let him
and his ancestors build under those eaves in peace? How did he
get that quantity of half-wit, that sort of stupid cunning, into
his little brain, and yet get no more? And why (for this is a
question of Why, and not of How) does he labour all day long,
hunting for worms and insects for his children, while his wife
nurses them in the nest? Why, too, did he help her to build that
nest with toil and care this spring, for the sake of a set of
nestlings who can be of no gain or use to him, but only take the
food out of his mouth? Simply out of--what shall I call it, my
child?--Love; that same sense of love and duty, coming surely from
that one Fountain of all duty and all love, which makes your
father work for you. That the mother should take care of her
young, is wonderful enough; but that (at least among many birds)
the father should help likewise, is (as you will find out as you
grow older) more wonderful far. So there already the old starling
has set us two fresh puzzles about How and Why, neither of which
we shall get answered, at least on this side of the grave.

Come on, up the field, under the great generous sun, who quarrels
with no one, grudges no one, but shines alike upon the evil and
the good. What a gay picture he is painting now, with his light-
pencils; for in them, remember, and not in the things themselves
the colour lies. See how, where the hay has been already carried,
he floods all the slopes with yellow light, making them stand out
sharp against the black shadows of the wood; while where the grass
is standing still, he makes the sheets of sorrel-flower blush rosy
red, or dapples the field with white oxeyes.

But is not the sorrel itself red, and the oxeyes white?

What colour are they at night, when the sun is gone?


That is, no colour. The very grass is not green at night.

Oh, but it is if you look at it with a lantern.

No, no. It is the light of the lantern, which happens to be
strong enough to make the leaves look green, though it is not
strong enough to make a geranium look red.

Not red?

No; the geranium flowers by a lantern look black, while the leaves
look green. If you don't believe me, we will try.

But why is that?

Why, I cannot tell: and how, you had best ask Professor Tyndall,
if you ever have the honour of meeting him.

But now--hark to the mowing-machine, humming like a giant night-
jar. Come up and look at it, and see how swift and smooth it
shears the long grass down, so that in the middle of the swathe it
seems to have merely fallen flat, and you must move it before you
find that it has been cut off.

Ah, there is a proof to us of what men may do if they will only
learn the lessons which Madam How can teach them. There is that
boy, fresh from the National School, cutting more grass in a day
than six strong mowers could have cut, and cutting it better, too;
for the mowing-machine goes so much nearer to the ground than the
scythe, that we gain by it two hundredweight of hay on every acre.
And see, too, how persevering old Madam How will not stop her
work, though the machine has cut off all the grass which she has
been making for the last three months; for as fast as we shear it
off, she makes it grow again. There are fresh blades, here at our
feet, a full inch long, which have sprung up in the last two days,
for the cattle when they are turned in next week.

But if the machine cuts all the grass, the poor mowers will have
nothing to do.

Not so. They are all busy enough elsewhere. There is plenty of
other work to be done, thank God; and wholesomer and easier work
than mowing with a burning sun on their backs, drinking gallons of
beer, and getting first hot and then cold across the loins, till
they lay in a store of lumbago and sciatica, to cripple them in
their old age. You delight in machinery because it is curious:
you should delight in it besides because it does good, and nothing
but good, where it is used, according to the laws of Lady Why,
with care, moderation, and mercy, and fair-play between man and
man. For example: just as the mowing-machine saves the mowers,
the threshing-machine saves the threshers from rheumatism and
chest complaints,--which they used to catch in the draught and
dust of the unhealthiest place in the whole parish, which is, the
old-fashioned barn's floor. And so, we may hope, in future years
all heavy drudgery and dirty work will be done more and more by
machines, and people will have more and more chance of keeping
themselves clean and healthy, and more and more time to read, and
learn, and think, and be true civilised men and women, instead of
being mere live ploughs, or live manure-carts, such as I have seen
ere now.

A live manure-cart?

Yes, child. If you had seen, as I have seen, in foreign lands,
poor women, haggard, dirty, grown old before their youth was over,
toiling up hill with baskets of foul manure upon their backs, you
would have said, as I have said, "Oh for Madam How to cure that
ignorance! Oh for Lady Why to cure that barbarism! Oh that Madam
How would teach them that machinery must always be cheaper in the
long run than human muscles and nerves! Oh that Lady Why would
teach them that a woman is the most precious thing on earth, and
that if she be turned into a beast of burden, Lady Why--and Madam
How likewise--will surely avenge the wrongs of their human
sister!" There, you do not quite know what I mean, and I do not
care that you should. It is good for little folk that big folk
should now and then "talk over their heads," as the saying is, and
make them feel how ignorant they are, and how many solemn and
earnest questions there are in the world on which they must make
up their minds some day, though not yet. But now we will talk
about the hay: or rather do you and the rest go and play in the
hay and gather it up, build forts of it, storm them, pull them
down, build them up again, shout, laugh, and scream till you are
hot and tired. You will please Madam How thereby, and Lady Why


Because Madam How naturally wants her work to succeed, and she is
at work now making you.

Making me?

Of course. Making a man of you, out of a boy. And that can only
be done by the life-blood which runs through and through you. And
the more you laugh and shout, the more pure air will pass into
your blood, and make it red and healthy; and the more you romp and
play--unless you overtire yourself--the quicker will that blood
flow through all your limbs, to make bone and muscle, and help you
to grow into a man.

But why does Lady Why like to see us play?

She likes to see you happy, as she likes to see the trees and
birds happy. For she knows well that there is no food, nor
medicine either, like happiness. If people are not happy enough,
they are often tempted to do many wrong deeds, and to think many
wrong thoughts: and if by God's grace they know the laws of Lady
Why, and keep from sin, still unhappiness, if it goes on too long,
wears them out, body and mind; and they grow ill and die, of
broken hearts, and broken brains, my child; and so at last, poor
souls, find "Rest beneath the Cross."

Children, too, who are unhappy; children who are bullied, and
frightened, and kept dull and silent, never thrive. Their bodies
do not thrive; for they grow up weak. Their minds do not thrive;
for they grow up dull. Their souls do not thrive; for they learn
mean, sly, slavish ways, which God forbid you should ever learn.
Well said the wise man, "The human plant, like the vegetables, can
only flower in sunshine."

So do you go, and enjoy yourself in the sunshine; but remember
this--You know what happiness is. Then if you wish to please Lady
Why, and Lady Why's Lord and King likewise, you will never pass a
little child without trying to make it happier, even by a passing
smile. And now be off, and play in the hay, and come back to me
when you are tired.

* * * * *

Let us lie down at the foot of this old oak, and see what we can

And hear what we can hear, too. What is that humming all round
us, now that the noisy mowing-machine has stopped?

And as much softer than the noise of mowing-machine hum, as the
machines which make it are more delicate and more curious. Madam
How is a very skilful workwoman, and has eyes which see deeper and
clearer than all microscopes; as you would find, if you tried to
see what makes that "Midsummer hum" of which the haymakers are so
fond, because it promises fair weather.

Why, it is only the gnats and flies.

Only the gnats and flies? You might study those gnats and flies
for your whole life without finding out all--or more than a very
little--about them. I wish I knew how they move those tiny wings
of theirs--a thousand times in a second, I dare say, some of them.
I wish I knew how far they know that they are happy--for happy
they must be, whether they know it or not. I wish I knew how they
live at all. I wish I even knew how many sorts there are humming
round us at this moment.

How many kinds? Three or four?

More probably thirty or forty round this single tree.

But why should there be so many kinds of living things? Would not
one or two have done just as well?

Why, indeed? Why should there not have been only one sort of
butterfly, and he only of one colour, a plain brown, or a plain

And why should there be so many sorts of birds, all robbing the
garden at once? Thrushes, and blackbirds, and sparrows, and
chaffinches, and greenfinches, and bullfinches, and tomtits.

And there are four kinds of tomtits round here, remember: but we
may go on with such talk for ever. Wiser men than we have asked
the same question: but Lady Why will not answer them yet.
However, there is another question, which Madam How seems inclined
to answer just now, which is almost as deep and mysterious.


HOW all these different kinds of things became different.

Oh, do tell me!

Not I. You must begin at the beginning, before you can end at the
end, or even make one step towards the end.

What do you mean?

You must learn the differences between things, before you can find
out how those differences came about. You must learn Madam How's
alphabet before you can read her book. And Madam How's alphabet
of animals and plants is, Species, Kinds of things. You must see
which are like, and which unlike; what they are like in, and what
they are unlike in. You are beginning to do that with your
collection of butterflies. You like to arrange them, and those
that are most like nearest to each other, and to compare them.
You must do that with thousands of different kinds of things
before you can read one page of Madam How's Natural History Book

But it will take so much time and so much trouble.

God grant that you may not spend more time on worse matters, and
take more trouble over things which will profit you far less. But
so it must be, willy-nilly. You must learn the alphabet if you
mean to read. And you must learn the value of the figures before
you can do a sum. Why, what would you think of any one who sat
down to play at cards--for money too (which I hope and trust you
never will do)--before he knew the names of the cards, and which
counted highest, and took the other?

Of course he would be very foolish.

Just as foolish are those who make up "theories" (as they call
them) about this world, and how it was made, before they have
found out what the world is made of. You might as well try to
find out how this hay-field was made, without finding out first
what the hay is made of.

How the hay-field was made? Was it not always a hay-field?

Ah, yes; the old story, my child: Was not the earth always just
what it is now? Let us see for ourselves whether this was always
a hay-field.


Just pick out all the different kinds of plants and flowers you
can find round us here. How many do you think there are?

Oh--there seem to be four or five.

Just as there were three or four kinds of flies in the air. Pick
them, child, and count. Let us have facts.

How many? What! a dozen already?

Yes--and here is another, and another. Why, I have got I don't
know how many.

Why not? Bring them here, and let us see. Nine kinds of grasses,
and a rush. Six kinds of clovers and vetches; and besides,
dandelion, and rattle, and oxeye, and sorrel, and plantain, and
buttercup, and a little stitchwort, and pignut, and mouse-ear
hawkweed, too, which nobody wants.


Because they are a sign that I am not a good farmer enough, and
have not quite turned my Wild into Field.

What do you mean?

Look outside the boundary fence, at the moors and woods; they are
forest, Wild--"Wald," as the Germans would call it. Inside the
fence is Field--"Feld," as the Germans would call it. Guess why?

Is it because the trees inside have been felled?

Well, some say so, who know more than I. But now go over the
fence, and see how many of these plants you can find on the moor.

Oh, I think I know. I am so often on the moor.

I think you would find more kinds outside than you fancy. But
what do you know?

That beside some short fine grass about the cattle-paths, there
are hardly any grasses on the moor save deer's hair and glade-
grass; and all the rest is heath, and moss, and furze, and fern.

Softly--not all; you have forgotten the bog plants; and there are
(as I said) many more plants beside on the moor than you fancy.
But we will look into that another time. At all events, the
plants outside are on the whole quite different from the hay-

Of course: that is what makes the field look green and the moor

Not a doubt. They are so different, that they look like bits of
two different continents. Scrambling over the fence is like
scrambling out of Europe into Australia. Now, how was that
difference made? Think. Don't guess, but think. Why does the
rich grass come up to the bank, and yet not spread beyond it?

I suppose because it cannot get over.

Not get over? Would not the wind blow the seeds, and the birds
carry them? They do get over, in millions, I don't doubt, every

Then why do they not grow?


Is there any difference in the soil inside and out?

A very good guess. But guesses are no use without facts. Look.

Oh, I remember now. I know now the soil of the field is brown,
like the garden; and the soil of the moor all black and peaty.

Yes. But if you dig down two or three feet, you will find the
soils of the moor and the field just the same. So perhaps the top
soils were once both alike.

I know.

Well, and what do you think about it now? I want you to look and
think. I want every one to look and think. Half the misery in
the world comes first from not looking, and then from not
thinking. And I do not want you to be miserable.

But shall I be miserable if I do not find out such little things
as this.

You will be miserable if you do not learn to understand little
things: because then you will not be able to understand great
things when you meet them. Children who are not trained to use
their eyes and their common sense grow up the more miserable the
cleverer they are.


Because they grow up what men call dreamers, and bigots, and
fanatics, causing misery to themselves and to all who deal with
them. So I say again, think.

Well, I suppose men must have altered the soil inside the bank.

Well done. But why do you think so?

Because, of course, some one made the bank; and the brown soil
only goes up to it.

Well, that is something like common sense. Now you will not say
any more, as the cows or the butterflies might, that the hay-field
was always there.

And how did men change the soil?

By tilling it with the plough, to sweeten it, and manuring it, to
make it rich.

And then did all these beautiful grasses grow up of themselves?

You ought to know that they most likely did not. You know the new


Well then, do rich grasses come up on them, now that they are
broken up?

Oh no, nothing but groundsel, and a few weeds.

Just what, I dare say, came up here at first. But this land was
tilled for corn, for hundreds of years, I believe. And just about
one hundred years ago it was laid down in grass; that is, sown
with grass seeds.

And where did men get the grass seeds from?

Ah, that is a long story; and one that shows our forefathers
(though they knew nothing about railroads or electricity) were not
such simpletons as some folks think. The way it must have been
done was this. Men watched the natural pastures where cattle get
fat on the wild grass, as they do in the Fens, and many other
parts of England. And then they saved the seeds of those
fattening wild grasses, and sowed them in fresh spots. Often they
made mistakes. They were careless, and got weeds among the seed--
like the buttercups, which do so much harm to this pasture. Or
they sowed on soil which would not suit the seed, and it died.
But at last, after many failures, they have grown so careful and
so clever, that you may send to certain shops, saying what sort of
soil yours is, and they will send you just the seeds which will
grow there, and no other; and then you have a good pasture for as
long as you choose to keep it good.

And how is it kept good?

Look at all those loads of hay, which are being carried off the
field. Do you think you can take all that away without putting
anything in its place?

Why not?

If I took all the butter out of the churn, what must I do if I
want more butter still?

Put more cream in.

So, if I want more grass to grow, I must put on the soil more of
what grass is made of.

But the butter don't grow, and the grass does.

What does the grass grow in?

The soil.

Yes. Just as the butter grows in the churn. So you must put
fresh grass-stuff continually into the soil, as you put fresh
cream into the churn. You have heard the farm men say, "That crop
has taken a good deal out of the land"?


Then they spoke exact truth. What will that hay turn into by
Christmas? Can't you tell? Into milk, of course, which you will
drink; and into horseflesh too, which you will use.

Use horseflesh? Not eat it?

No; we have not got as far as that. We did not even make up our
minds to taste the Cambridge donkey. But every time the horse
draws the carriage, he uses up so much muscle; and that muscle he
must get back again by eating hay and corn; and that hay and corn
must be put back again into the land by manure, or there will be
all the less for the horse next year. For one cannot eat one's
cake and keep it too; and no more can one eat one's grass.

So this field is a truly wonderful place. It is no ugly pile of
brick and mortar, with a tall chimney pouring out smoke and evil
smells, with unhealthy, haggard people toiling inside. Why do you
look surprised?

Because--because nobody ever said it was. You mean a manufactory.

Well, and this hay-field is a manufactory: only like most of
Madam How's workshops, infinitely more beautiful, as well as
infinitely more crafty, than any manufactory of man's building.
It is beautiful to behold, and healthy to work in; a joy and
blessing alike to the eye, and the mind, and the body: and yet it
is a manufactory.

But a manufactory of what?

Of milk of course, and cows, and sheep, and horses; and of your
body and mine--for we shall drink the milk and eat the meat. And
therefore it is a flesh and milk manufactory. We must put into it
every year yard-stuff, tank-stuff, guano, bones, and anything and
everything of that kin, that Madam How may cook it for us into
grass, and cook the grass again into milk and meat. But if we
don't give Madam How material to work on, we cannot expect her to
work for us. And what do you think will happen then? She will
set to work for herself. The rich grasses will dwindle for want
of ammonia (that is smelling salts), and the rich clovers for want
of phosphates (that is bone-earth): and in their places will come
over the bank the old weeds and grass off the moor, which have not
room to get in now, because the ground is coveted already. They
want no ammonia nor phosphates--at all events they have none, and
that is why the cattle on the moor never get fat. So they can
live where these rich grasses cannot. And then they will conquer
and thrive; and the Field will turn into Wild once more.

Ah, my child, thank God for your forefathers, when you look over
that boundary mark. For the difference between the Field and the
Wild is the difference between the old England of Madam How's
making, and the new England which she has taught man to make,
carrying on what she had only begun and had not time to finish.

That moor is a pattern bit left to show what the greater part of
this land was like for long ages after it had risen out of the
sea; when there was little or nothing on the flat upper moors save
heaths, and ling, and club-mosses, and soft gorse, and needle-
whin, and creeping willows; and furze and fern upon the brows; and
in the bottoms oak and ash, beech and alder, hazel and mountain
ash, holly and thorn, with here and there an aspen or a buckthorn
(berry-bearing alder as you call it), and everywhere--where he
could thrust down his long root, and thrust up his long shoots--
that intruding conqueror and insolent tyrant, the bramble. There
were sedges and rushes, too, in the bogs, and coarse grass on the
forest pastures--or "leas" as we call them to this day round here-
-but no real green fields; and, I suspect, very few gay flowers,
save in spring the sheets of golden gorse, and in summer the
purple heather. Such was old England--or rather, such was this
land before it was England; a far sadder, damper, poorer land than
now. For one man or one cow or sheep which could have lived on it
then, a hundred can live now. And yet, what it was once, that it
might become again,--it surely would round here, if this brave
English people died out of it, and the land was left to itself
once more.

What would happen then, you may guess for yourself, from what you
see happen whenever the land is left to itself, as it is in the
wood above. In that wood you can still see the grass ridges and
furrows which show that it was once ploughed and sown by man;
perhaps as late as the time of Henry the Eighth, when a great deal
of poor land, as you will read some day, was thrown out of
tillage, to become forest and down once more. And what is the
mount now? A jungle of oak and beech, cherry and holly, young and
old all growing up together, with the mountain ash and bramble and
furze coming up so fast beneath them, that we have to cut the
paths clear again year by year. Why, even the little cow-wheat, a
very old-world plant, which only grows in ancient woods, has found
its way back again, I know not whence, and covers the open spaces
with its pretty yellow and white flowers. Man had conquered this
mount, you see, from Madam How, hundreds of years ago. And she
always lets man conquer her, because Lady Why wishes man to
conquer: only he must have a fair fight with Madam How first, and
try his strength against hers to the utmost. So man conquered the
wood for a while; and it became cornfield instead of forest: but
he was not strong and wise enough three hundred years ago to keep
what he had conquered; and back came Madam How, and took the place
into her own hands, and bade the old forest trees and plants come
back again--as they would come if they were not stopped year by
year, down from the wood, over the pastures--killing the rich
grasses as they went, till they met another forest coming up from
below, and fought it for many a year, till both made peace, and
lived quietly side by side for ages.

Another forest coming up from below? Where would it come from?

From where it is now. Come down and look along the brook, and
every drain and grip which runs into the brook. What is here?

Seedling alders, and some withies among them.

Very well. You know how we pull these alders up, and cut them
down, and yet they continually come again. Now, if we and all
human beings were to leave this pasture for a few hundred years,
would not those alders increase into a wood? Would they not kill
the grass, and spread right and left, seeding themselves more and
more as the grass died, and left the ground bare, till they met
the oaks and beeches coming down the hill? And then would begin a
great fight, for years and years, between oak and beech against
alder and willow.

But how can trees fight? Could they move or beat each other with
their boughs?

Not quite that; though they do beat each other with their boughs,
fiercely enough, in a gale of wind; and then the trees who have
strong and stiff boughs wound those who have brittle and limp
boughs, and so hurt them, and if the storms come often enough,
kill them. But among these trees in a sheltered valley the larger
and stronger would kill the weaker and smaller by simply
overshadowing their tops, and starving their roots; starving them,
indeed, so much when they grow very thick, that the poor little
acorns, and beech mast, and alder seeds would not be able to
sprout at all. So they would fight, killing each other's
children, till the war ended--I think I can guess how.


The beeches are as dainty as they are beautiful; and they do not
like to get their feet wet. So they would venture down the hill
only as far as the dry ground lasts, and those who tried to grow
any lower would die. But the oaks are hardy, and do not care much
where they grow. So they would fight their way down into the wet
ground among the alders and willows, till they came to where their
enemies were so thick and tall, that the acorns as they fell could
not sprout in the darkness. And so you would have at last, along
the hill-side, a forest of beech and oak, lower down a forest of
oak and alder, and along the stream-side alders and willows only.
And that would be a very fair example of the great law of the
struggle for existence, which causes the competition of species.

What is that?

Madam How is very stern, though she is always perfectly just; and
therefore she makes every living thing fight for its life, and
earn its bread, from its birth till its death; and rewards it
exactly according to its deserts, and neither more nor less.

And the competition of species means, that each thing, and kind of
things, has to compete against the things round it; and to see
which is the stronger; and the stronger live, and breed, and
spread, and the weaker die out.

But that is very hard.

I know it, my child, I know it. But so it is. And Madam How, no
doubt, would be often very clumsy and very cruel, without meaning
it, because she never sees beyond her own nose, or thinks at all
about the consequences of what she is doing. But Lady Why, who
does think about consequences, is her mistress, and orders her
about for ever. And Lady Why is, I believe, as loving as she is
wise; and therefore we must trust that she guides this great war
between living things, and takes care that Madam How kills nothing
which ought not to die, and takes nothing away without putting
something more beautiful and something more useful in its place;
and that even if England were, which God forbid, overrun once more
with forests and bramble-brakes, that too would be of use somehow,
somewhere, somewhen, in the long ages which are to come hereafter.

And you must remember, too, that since men came into the world
with rational heads on their shoulders, Lady Why has been handing
over more and more of Madam How's work to them, and some of her
own work too: and bids them to put beautiful and useful things in
the place of ugly and useless ones; so that now it is men's own
fault if they do not use their wits, and do by all the world what
they have done by these pastures--change it from a barren moor
into a rich hay-field, by copying the laws of Madam How, and
making grass compete against heath. But you look thoughtful:
what is it you want to know?

Why, you say all living things must fight and scramble for what
they can get from each other: and must not I too? For I am a
living thing.

Ah, that is the old question, which our Lord answered long ago,
and said, "Be not anxious what ye shall eat or what ye shall
drink, or wherewithal you shall be clothed. For after all these
things do the heathen seek, and your Heavenly Father knoweth that
ye have need of these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of
God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to
you." A few, very few, people have taken that advice. But they
have been just the salt of the earth, which has kept mankind from

But what has that to do with it?

See. You are a living thing, you say. Are you a plant?


Are you an animal?

I do not know. Yes. I suppose I am. I eat, and drink, and
sleep, just as dogs and cats do.

Yes. There is no denying that. No one knew that better than St.
Paul when he told men that they had a flesh; that is, a body, and
an animal's nature in them. But St. Paul told them--of course he
was not the first to say so, for all the wise heathens have known
that--that there was something more in us, which he called a
spirit. Some call it now the moral sentiment, some one thing,
some another, but we will keep to the old word: we shall not find
a better.

Yes, I know that I have a spirit, a soul.

Better to say that you are a spirit. But what does St. Paul say?
That our spirit is to conquer our flesh, and keep it down. That
the man in us, in short, which is made in the likeness of God, is
to conquer the animal in us, which is made in the likeness of the
dog and the cat, and sometimes (I fear) in the likeness of the ape
or the pig. You would not wish to be like a cat, much less like
an ape or a pig?

Of course not.

Then do not copy them, by competing and struggling for existence
against other people.

What do you mean?

Did you never watch the pigs feeding?

Yes, and how they grudge and quarrel, and shove each other's noses
out of the trough, and even bite each other because they are so
jealous which shall get most.

That is it. And how the biggest pig drives the others away, and
would starve them while he got fat, if the man did not drive him
off in his turn.

Oh, yes; I know.

Then no wiser than those pigs are worldly men who compete, and
grudge, and struggle with each other, which shall get most money,
most fame, most power over their fellow-men. They will tell you,
my child, that that is the true philosophy, and the true wisdom;
that competition is the natural law of society, and the source of
wealth and prosperity. Do not you listen to them. That is the
wisdom of this world, which the flesh teaches the animals; and
those who follow it, like the animals, will perish. Such men are
not even as wise as Sweep the retriever.

Not as wise as Sweep?

Not they. Sweep will not take away Victor's bone, though he is
ten times as big as Victor, and could kill him in a moment; and
when he catches a rabbit, does he eat it himself?

Of course not; he brings it and lays it down at our feet.

Because he likes better to do his duty, and be praised for it,
than to eat the rabbit, dearly as he longs to eat it.

But he is only an animal. Who taught him to be generous, and
dutiful, and faithful?

Who, indeed! Not we, you know that, for he has grown up with us
since a puppy. How he learnt it, and his parents before him, is a
mystery, of which we can only say, God has taught them, we know
not how. But see what has happened--that just because dogs have
learnt not to be selfish and to compete--that is, have become
civilised and tame--therefore we let them live with us, and love
them. Because they try to be good in their simple way, therefore
they too have all things added to them, and live far happier, and
more comfortable lives than the selfish wolf and fox.

But why have not all animals found out that?

I cannot tell: there may be wise animals and foolish animals, as
there are wise and foolish men. Indeed there are. I see a very
wise animal there, who never competes; for she has learned
something of the golden lesson--that it is more blessed to give
than to receive; and she acts on what she has learnt, all day

Which do you mean? Why, that is a bee.

Yes, it is a bee: and I wish I were as worthy in my place as that
bee is in hers. I wish I could act up as well as she does to the
true wisdom, which is self-sacrifice. For whom is that bee
working? For herself? If that was all, she only needs to suck
the honey as she goes. But she is storing up the wax under her
stomach, and bee-bread in her thighs--for whom? Not for herself
only, or even for her own children: but for the children of
another bee, her queen. For them she labours all day long, builds
for them, feeds them, nurses them, spends her love and cunning on
them. So does that ant on the path. She is carrying home that
stick to build for other ants' children. So do the white ants in
the tropics. They have learnt not to compete, but to help each
other; not to be selfish, but to sacrifice themselves; and
therefore they are strong.

But you told me once that ants would fight and plunder each
other's nests. And once we saw two hives of bees fighting in the
air, and falling dead by dozens.

My child, do not men fight, and kill each other by thousands with
sharp shot and cold steel, because, though they have learnt the
virtue of patriotism, they have not yet learnt that of humanity?
We must not blame the bees and ants if they are no wiser than men.
At least they are wise enough to stand up for their country, that
is, their hive, and work for it, and die for it, if need be; and
that makes them strong.

But how does that make them strong?

How, is a deep question, and one I can hardly answer yet. But
that it has made them so there is no doubt. Look at the solitary
bees--the governors as we call them, who live in pairs, in little
holes in the banks. How few of them there are; and they never
seem to increase in numbers. Then look at the hive bees, how,
just because they are civilised,--that is, because they help each
other, and feed each other, instead of being solitary and
selfish,--they breed so fast, and get so much food, that if they
were not killed for their honey, they would soon become a
nuisance, and drive us out of the parish.

But then we give them their hives ready made.

True. But in old forest countries, where trees decay and grow
hollow, the bees breed in them.

Yes. I remember the bee tree in the fir avenue.

Well then, in many forests in hot countries the bees swarm in
hollow trees; and they, and the ants, and the white ants, have it
all their own way, and are lords and masters, driving the very
wild beasts before them, while the ants and white ants eat up all
gardens, and plantations, and clothes, and furniture; till it is a
serious question whether in some hot countries man will ever be
able to settle, so strong have the ants grown, by ages of
civilisation, and not competing against their brothers and

But may I not compete for prizes against the other boys?

Well, there is no harm in that; for you do not harm the others,
even if you win. They will have learnt all the more, while trying
for the prize; and so will you, even if you don't get it. But I
tell you fairly, trying for prizes is only fit for a child; and
when you become a man, you must put away childish things--
competition among the rest.

But surely I may try to be better and wiser and more learned than
everybody else?

My dearest child, why try for that? Try to be as good, and wise,
and learned as you can, and if you find any man, or ten thousand
men, superior to you, thank God for it. Do you think that there
can be too much wisdom in the world?

Of course not: but I should like to be the wisest man in it.

Then you would only have the heaviest burden of all men on your


Because you would be responsible for more foolish people than any
one else. Remember what wise old Moses said, when some one came
and told him that certain men in the camp were prophesying--"Would
God all the Lord's people did prophesy!" Yes; it would have saved
Moses many a heartache, and many a sleepless night, if all the
Jews had been wise as he was, and wiser still. So do not you
compete with good and wise men, but simply copy them: and
whatever you do, do not compete with the wolves, and the apes, and
the swine of this world; for that is a game at which you are sure
to be beaten.


Because Lady Why, if she loves you (as I trust she does), will
take care that you are beaten, lest you should fancy it was really
profitable to live like a cunning sort of animal, and not like a
true man. And how she will do that I can tell you. She will take
care that you always come across a worse man than you are trying
to be,--a more apish man, who can tumble and play monkey-tricks
for people's amusement better than you can; or a more swinish man,
who can get at more of the pig's-wash than you can; or a more
wolfish man, who will eat you up if you do not get out of his way;
and so she will disappoint and disgust you, my child, with that
greedy, selfish, vain animal life, till you turn round and see
your mistake, and try to live the true human life, which also is
divine;--to be just and honourable, gentle and forgiving, generous
and useful--in one word, to fear God, and keep His commandments:
and as you live that life, you will find that, by the eternal laws
of Lady Why, all other things will be added to you; that people
will be glad to know you, glad to help you, glad to employ you,
because they see that you will be of use to them, and will do them
no harm. And if you meet (as you will meet) with people better
and wiser than yourself, then so much the better for you; for they
will love you, and be glad to teach you when they see that you are
living the unselfish and harmless life; and that you come to them,
not as foolish Critias came to Socrates, to learn political
cunning, and become a selfish and ambitious tyrant, but as wise
Plato came, that he might learn the laws of Lady Why, and love
them for her sake, and teach them to all mankind. And so you,
like the plants and animals, will get your deserts exactly,
without competing and struggling for existence as they do.

And all this has come out of looking at the hay-field and the wild

Why not? There is an animal in you, and there is a man in you.
If the animal gets the upper hand, all your character will fall
back into wild useless moor; if the man gets the upper hand, all
your character will be cultivated into rich and fertile field.

Now come down home. The haymakers are resting under the hedge.
The horses are dawdling home to the farm. The sun is getting low,
and the shadows long. Come home, and go to bed while the house is
fragrant with the smell of hay, and dream that you are still
playing among the haycocks. When you grow old, you will have
other and sadder dreams.


Hullo! hi! wake up. Jump out of bed, and come to the window, and
see where you are.

What a wonderful place!

So it is: though it is only poor old Ireland. Don't you
recollect that when we started I told you we were going to
Ireland, and through it to the World's End; and here we are now
safe at the end of the old world, and beyond us the great
Atlantic, and beyond that again, thousands of miles away, the new
world, which will be rich and prosperous, civilised and noble,
thousands of years hence, when this old world, it may be, will be
dead, and little children there will be reading in their history
books of Ancient England and of Ancient France, as you now read of
Greece and Rome.

But what a wonderful place it is! What are those great green
things standing up in the sky, all over purple ribs and bars, with
their tops hid in the clouds?

Those are mountains; the bones of some old world, whose poor bare
sides Madam How is trying to cover with rich green grass.

And how far off are they?

How I should like to walk up to the top of that one which looks
quite close.

You will find it a long walk up there; three miles, I dare say,
over black bogs and banks of rock, and up corries and cliffs which
you could not climb. There are plenty of cows on that mountain:
and yet they look so small, you could not see them, nor I either,
without a glass. That long white streak, zigzagging down the
mountain side, is a roaring cataract of foam five hundred feet
high, full now with last night's rain; but by this afternoon it
will have dwindled to a little thread; and to-morrow, when you get
up, if no more rain has come down, it will be gone. Madam How
works here among the mountains swiftly and hugely, and sometimes
terribly enough; as you shall see when you have had your
breakfast, and come down to the bridge with me.

But what a beautiful place it is! Flowers and woods and a lawn;
and what is that great smooth patch in the lawn just under the

Is it an empty flower-bed?

Ah, thereby hangs a strange tale. We will go and look at it after
breakfast, and then you shall see with your own eyes one of the
wonders which I have been telling you of.

And what is that shining between the trees?


Is it a lake?

Not a lake, though there are plenty round here; that is salt
water, not fresh. Look away to the right, and you see it through
the opening of the woods again and again: and now look above the
woods. You see a faint blue line, and gray and purple lumps like
clouds, which rest upon it far away. That, child, is the great
Atlantic Ocean, and those are islands in the far west. The water
which washes the bottom of the lawn was but a few months ago
pouring out of the Gulf of Mexico, between the Bahamas and
Florida, and swept away here as the great ocean river of warm
water which we call the Gulf Stream, bringing with it out of the
open ocean the shoals of mackerel, and the porpoises and whales
which feed upon them. Some fine afternoon we will run down the
bay and catch strange fishes, such as you never saw before, and
very likely see a living whale.

What? such a whale as they get whalebone from, and which eats sea-

No, they live far north, in the Arctic circle; these are
grampuses, and bottle-noses, which feed on fish; not so big as the
right whales, but quite big enough to astonish you, if one comes
up and blows close to the boat. Get yourself dressed and come
down, and then we will go out; we shall have plenty to see and
talk of at every step.

Now, you have finished your breakfast at last, so come along, and
we shall see what we shall see. First run out across the gravel,
and scramble up that bank of lawn, and you will see what you
fancied was an empty flower-bed.

Why, it is all hard rock.

Ah, you are come into the land of rocks now: out of the land of
sand and gravel; out of a soft young corner of the world into a
very hard, old, weather-beaten corner; and you will see rocks
enough, and too many for the poor farmers, before you go home

But how beautifully smooth and flat the rock is: and yet it is
all rounded.

What is it like?

Like--like the half of a shell.

Not badly said, but think again.

Like--like--I know what it is like. Like the back of some great
monster peeping up through the turf.

You have got it. Such rocks as these are called in Switzerland
"roches moutonnees," because they are, people fancy, like sheep's
backs. Now look at the cracks and layers in it. They run across
the stone; they have nothing to do with the shape of it. You see

Yes: but here are cracks running across them, all along the
stone, till the turf hides them.

Look at them again; they are no cracks; they do not go into the

I see. They are scratched; something like those on the elder-stem
at home, where the cats sharpen their claws. But it would take a
big cat to make them.

Do you recollect what I told you of Madam How's hand, more
flexible than any hand of man, and yet strong enough to grind the
mountains into paste?

I know. Ice! ice! ice! But are these really ice-marks?

Child, on the place where we now stand, over rich lawns, and warm
woods, and shining lochs, lay once on a time hundreds, it may be
thousands, of feet of solid ice, crawling off yonder mountain-tops
into the ocean there outside; and this is one of its tracks. See
how the scratches all point straight down the valley, and straight
out to sea. Those mountains are 2000 feet high: but they were
much higher once; for the ice has planed the tops off them. Then,
it seems to me, the ice sank, and left the mountains standing out
of it about half their height, and at that level it stayed, till
it had planed down all those lower moors of smooth bare rock
between us and the Western ocean; and then it sank again, and
dwindled back, leaving moraines (that is, heaps of dirt and
stones) all up these valleys here and there, till at the last it
melted all away, and poor old Ireland became fit to live in again.
We will go down the bay some day and look at those moraines, some
of them quite hills of earth, and then you will see for yourself
how mighty a chisel the ice-chisel was, and what vast heaps of
chips it has left behind. Now then, down over the lawn towards
the bridge. Listen to the river, louder and louder every step we

What a roar! Is there a waterfall there?

No. It is only the flood. And underneath the roar of that flood,
do you not hear a deeper note--a dull rumbling, as if from

Yes. What is it?

The rolling of great stones under water, which are being polished
against each other, as they hurry toward the sea. Now, up on the
parapet of the bridge. I will hold you tight. Look and see Madam
How's rain-spade at work. Look at the terrible yellow torrent
below us, almost filling up the arches of the bridge, and leaping
high in waves and crests of foam.

Oh, the bridge is falling into the water!

Not a bit. You are not accustomed to see water running below you
at ten miles an hour. Never mind that feeling. It will go off in
a few seconds. Look; the water is full six feet up the trunks of
the trees; over the grass and the king fern, and the tall purple
loose-strife -

Oh! Here comes a tree dancing down!

And there are some turfs which have been cut on the mountain. And
there is a really sad sight. Look what comes now.


Why, they are sheep.

Yes. And a sad loss they will be to some poor fellow in the glen

And oh! Look at the pig turning round and round solemnly in the
corner under the rock. Poor piggy! He ought to have been at home
safe in his stye, and not wandering about the hills. And what are
these coming now?

Butter firkins, I think. Yes. This is a great flood. It is well
if there are no lives lost.

But is it not cruel of Madam How to make such floods?

Well--let us ask one of these men who are looking over the bridge.

Why, what does he say? I cannot understand one word. Is he
talking Irish?

Irish-English at least: but what he said was, that it was a
mighty fine flood entirely, praised be God; and would help on the
potatoes and oats after the drought, and set the grass growing
again on the mountains.

And what is he saying now?

That the river will be full of salmon and white trout after this.

What does he mean?

That under our feet now, if we could see through the muddy water,
dozens of salmon and sea-trout are running up from the sea.

What! up this furious stream?

Yes. What would be death to you is pleasure and play to them. Up
they are going, to spawn in the little brooks among the mountains;
and all of them are the best of food, fattened on the herrings and
sprats in the sea outside, Madam How's free gift, which does not
cost man a farthing, save the expense of nets and rods to catch

How can that be?

I will give you a bit of political economy. Suppose a pound of
salmon is worth a shilling; and a pound of beef is worth a
shilling likewise. Before we can eat the beef, it has cost
perhaps tenpence to make that pound of beef out of turnips and
grass and oil-cake; and so the country is only twopence a pound
richer for it. But Mr. Salmon has made himself out of what he
eats in the sea, and so has cost nothing; and the shilling a pound
is all clear gain. There--you don't quite understand that piece
of political economy. Indeed, it is only in the last two or three
years that older heads than yours have got to understand it, and
have passed the wise new salmon laws, by which the rivers will be
once more as rich with food as the land is, just as they were
hundreds of years ago. But now, look again at the river. What do
you think makes it so yellow and muddy?

Dirt, of course.

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