Page:Parsons How to Know the Ferns 7th ed.djvu/26

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light to the eye and interest to the mind, these players who had come abroad solely for instruction and pleasure could not be enticed from their tables, and I thanked my stars that I had not fallen under the stultifying sway of cards. Much the same gratitude is aroused when I see men and women spending precious summer days indoors over the card-table when they might be breathing the fragrant, life-giving air, and rejoicing in the beauty and interest of the woods and fields.

All things considered, a hobby that takes us out of doors is the best. The different open-air sports may be classed under this head. The chief lack in the artificial sports, such as polo, golf, baseball, etc., as opposed to the natural sports, hunting and fishing, is that while they are invaluable as a means of health and relaxation, they do not lead to other and broader interests, while many a boy-hunter has developed into a naturalist as a result of long days in the woods. Hunting and fishing would seem almost perfect recreations were it not for the life-taking element, which may become brutalizing. I wish that every mother who believes in the value of natural sport for her young boys would set her face sternly against any taking of life that cannot be justified on the ground of man's needs, either in the way of protection or support.

The ideal hobby, it seems to me, is one that keeps us in the open air among inspiring surroundings, with the knowledge of natural objects as the end in view. The study of plants, of animals, of the earth