Page images

we have made our living. Now, children, which living, and of laying up something for a rainy is better, a living in the city, which I must earn for day. The chief item of profit from our farm, you all, or a living in the country, toward which however, is not down in my account-book, but is even Bobsey can do his share ? "

to be found in your sturdier forms and in Mousie's “A living in the country," was the prompt red cheeks. More than all, we believe that you chorus.

are better and healthier at heart than you were a “Well, children, Mamma and I agree with you,” year ago. I said. “And there was n't a good opportunity “Now for the New Year! Let us make the best for me to get ahead in the city, or to earn a large and most of it, and ask God to help us.” salary. Here, by pulling all together, there is al- And so my simple history ends in glad content most a certainty of our earning more than a bare and hope.

[merged small][graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small]



If you turn a book upside down and look at the yet, on looking at it, almost any one would call letters, every s will seein much smaller at the the former line the longer. bottom than at the top, although, when the book I might go on to give many more instances of is properly held, both halves appear the same the way in which the eye deceives the brain, but size to the eye. The long vertical lines in Figure i these examples will show what is meant by optical

illusion, or optical deception; it is when our eyes see things as different from what they really are. The upper part of the type that prints the letter s is

[blocks in formation]

made smaller than the lower half to correct the fault of the eye, which always slightly exaggerates the former.

When the letter is turned over, as in Figure 5, this same trick of the sight makes the difference seem greater than it really is; and, of course, were it of the same width all the way, it would still look uneven.

In greater matters, the false report of the eye is greater. If a tapering monument, like that on Bunker Hill or like the Obelisk in Central Park, were made with perfectly straight sides, it would


FIG. 4.

[blocks in formation]

look to us - for, you see, we really can not trust our own eyes — as if it were hollowed in a little; or, as we should say in more scientific language, its sides would appear concave. You can understand therefore that if an architect wished his building to have a certain appearance, he might be forced to build it according to lines that differed from those of his completed drawing; for if it were built exactly as he wished it to appear, it would not, when finished, present that desired appearance. If he wished a pillar to look straight, he must not make it perfectly true,

are really parallel and just the same distance apart as those in Figure 2; yet in the one case they appear to spread apart at the center, and in the other to come together. The line A B, in Figure 3, is of the same length as C D, in Figure 4;

[ocr errors]

or it would have the effect of being concave; and similarly, for other shapes and parts I might mention; so that the problem of having buildings look

as they should is a far more puzzling matter than one might at first suppose.

Those clever Greeks, who did so many marvelous things in art, thought all this out, and made their architecture upon principles so subtle and so comprehensive that we have never been able to improve on them since. Their senses were so well trained, and their taste so perfect, that they would have everything exactly right. There was no “ near enough” in their art. They aimed at perfection, and nothing

short of that satisfied them. They FIG. 5.

found that their beautiful Doric columns, if made with straight sides, had the concave effect of which I have spoken; and so, with the most delicate art in the world, they made the pillar swell a little at the middle, and then it appeared exactly right. A pillar instead of being, for instance, of the shape it was to appear, as shown by the solid lines of Figure 6, would really be more like the form indicated by the dotted lines, - only that I have greatly exaggerated the difference, in order to make it plain.

This swelling of the column at its middle was

slight that it can

only be detected by delicate measurements; but it added greatly to the beauty of the columnsand to their effectiveness.

Then the lines which were to look horizontal had to receive attention. If you look at a long, perfectly level line, as the edge of a roof, for instance, it has the appearance of sagging toward the middle. The Greek architect corrected this fault by making his lines rise a little. The front of the Parthenon, at Athens, is one hundred and one feet three and a half inches long, and, in this, the rise from the horizontal is about two and one eighth inches. In other words, there is a curvature upward that makes it a little more than two inches higher in the center than at the ends, and the effect of this

swelling upward is to make the line appear

perfectly level. Indeed, this same Parthenon,—the most beautiful building in the world,— when delicately and

FIG. 6.

[graphic][merged small]

called entasis. Of course it had to be calculated carefully measured was found to be everywhere made with the greatest nicety, and was actually so very a little incorrect, so that it may appear right, which

is certainly what may be called an architectural paradox. The graceful columns, which seem to stand so straight, are made to lean inward a little, since, if they were perfectly true and plumb, they would have the effect of leaning outward. The pillars at the corners slant inward more than the others, and everywhere the corners are made to look square by being in truth a little broader angled, and lines are curved in order that they shall appear straight

[graphic][merged small]

to the eye.

This is rather a hard subject to explain simply, but if I have succeeded in making it plain to you, it will give you an idea of the wonderful skill and art of the Greek builders. It is hardly possible to conceive anything more perfect and careful than their work; and the more closely one studies into their art, the more ready is he to wonder at the wisdom and skill of those clever Greeks,

[subsumed][ocr errors][graphic][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][merged small][subsumed]

And your gay, shy smile so soncy sweet,

Up hill and over hollow, With a call and a cry, don't doubt but I

Shall fly, - like the swift-winged swallow !

Tiptoe, dainty fine!
Now you are caught, and you are mine!

My little lass--I 've caught her!
She laughs and pouts and hides her face,
She springs away with an agile grace

The darting birds have taught her!
But I must not miss my hard-earned kiss,

Like this !- my bonnie daughter !
Oh, ay! Away, away!
What can the panting mother say?

Why,—"now she is fast, and I hold her!
I kiss her blue eyes and sunny hair,

Her dimpled arm and her cheek so fair;

To my loving heart I fold her!
And then I swing the captured thing,
With a 'swing !-swong!-swing !' to my

shoulder !"

« PreviousContinue »