Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/110
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
brilliant and varied decoration, and at another an expansive and imposing structure, but it has usually the charm of novelty, sometimes of beauty, and it never destroys the growth of hair.
Man's high hat for many generations has varied within very narrow limits, and has always been ugly and unnatural. Why it should so long have held its sway it is hard to understand. An artist can not make it interesting in his work. It will not compare with the Oriental turban, the Scotch bonnet, or even the slouch hat, for comfort or graceful capabilities; but the average man will wear it long after his faith in hair tonics and restorers with seductive promises has been shattered. Still, let him remember, as be takes his after-dinner repose, that his favorite hat will certainly and inevitably extend the pasture-lands of the domestic fly.
WHEN the waving surface of the green oat-fields begins to assume a golden tint, when the swelling heads of Indian corn hang heavy on their stalks, and the sweating peasant prepares for the last act of his hard summer labor, then also do the good-wives in the village begin to talk of matters which have been lying dormant till now.
Well-informed people may have hinted before that such and such a youth had been seen more than once stepping in at the gate of the red or green house in the long village street, and more than one gossip had been ready to identify the speckled carnations adorning the hat of some youthful Konrad or Thomas as having been grown in the garden of a certain Anna or Maria; but after all, these had been but mere conjectures, for nothing positive could be known as yet, and ill-natured people were apt to console themselves with the reflection that St. Katherine's Day was a long way off, and that there is many a slip 'twixt cup and lip.
But now the great day which will dispel all doubt, and put an end to surmise, is approaching—that day which will destroy so many illusions and fulfill so few; for now the sun has given the last touch to the ripening grain, and soon the golden sheaves are lying piled together on the clean-shorn stubble-fields, only waiting to be carted away. Then one evening when the sun is sinking low on the horizon, and clouds of dust along the high-road announce the approach of the returning cattle, a drum is heard in the village street, and a voice proclaims aloud that "to-morrow the oats are to be fetched home." Like wildfire this news bas spread throughout the village; the cry is taken up and repeated from mouth to mouth with various intonations of hope, curiosity, anticipation of triumph—"To-morrow the oats will be fetched!"
A stranger, no doubt, fails to perceive anything particularly thrill-