Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 48.djvu/192

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180
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

she conducts the little navigator out into the open main of duty where he will have to steer himself.

I have tried to show that the moral training of children is not beyond human powers. It has its strong supports in child-nature, and these, where there are wisdom and method on the ruler's side, will secure success. I have not said that the mother's task is easy. So far from thinking this, I hold that a mother who bravely faces the problem, neither abandoning the wayward will to its own devices nor, hardly less weakly, handing over the task of disciplining it to a paid substitute, and who by well-considered and steadfast effort succeeds in approaching the perfection I have hinted at, combining the wise ruler with the tender and compassionate parent, is among the few members of our species who are entitled to its reverence.


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THE ANATOMY OF SPEED SKATING.

By R. TAIT McKENZIE.

SPEED skating as a distinct branch of athletics is of recent date, but as an art it is one of the oldest cultivated by the vigorous nations of the temperate and frigid zones.

Fitz Stephen, the historian of London, speaks of the sport as taking place in the twelfth century, but the first mention in history occurs eighteen hundred years ago, in the Edda, where the god Uller is represented as distinguished by beauty, arrows, and skates. In 1662, Pepys enters this item in his diary under date December 1st: "So to my Lord Sandwich's, to Mr. Moore, and then over the Parke (where I first in my life, it being a great frost, did see people sliding with their skeates, which is a very pretty art)."

When we consider the improvements that modern ingenuity has added to skates and race tracks, and the modern methods of training, we would expect marked reductions in the time taken to cover the various distances. We have no means of comparing speeds for distances under a mile, but if we can trust the time taken by the watches of 1821 we may accept the fact that in England a Lincolnshire man won one hundred guineas by skating a mile within two seconds of three minutes. The present record is only four or five seconds better (2·56, Johnson, January 7, 1894).

At the beginning of the century (1801) two young women skated thirty miles in two hours at Groningen; and if we go into the dangerous ground of "hearsay" we will find an account of a father who crossed forty leagues one day to rescue his son from danger, and of another who bet that he could cover three