Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/668

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
ized, and the mythology which embarrassed earnest Christians has vanished as an evil mist, the lifting of which has only more fully revealed the lineaments of infallible truth. No longer in contact with fact of any kind, faith stands bow and forever proudly inaccessible to the attacks of the infidel.

So far the apologist of the future. Why not? Cantabit vacuus.Nineteenth Century.

 

A LITTLE BOYS' GAME WITH A BALL.
By HENRY J. PHILPOTT.

A YEAR or two ago there went the rounds of the daily papers a few verses intended to express the feelings of an elderly lady from the country when her city folks had taken her to see the national game. It was all very interesting and funny, but may be summed up in her oftenest-repeated couplet:

"Jist a passel o' big men a-playin'
A little boys' game with a ball"—

which was a true bill. But how came these men to be playing this little boys' game? Here steps in the student of sociology, and offers explanations in abundance. The truly great philosopher of this and all generations is the man who for the first time considers unconsidered trifles. Herein lies the greatness of Herbert Spencer.

In this matter we all have a duty which most of us are likely to forget. We should record for the benefit of the coming philosopher, who by the process of evolution is sure to have a finer and more effective brain than ours, certain facts which seem trivial to us, but which may be of transcendent importance to him. What if our predecessors had scrupulously done likewise? How much more satisfactory would have been our nineteenth-century philosophy!

Hit or miss, I propose to describe a few of the ball-plays I learned as pupil and teacher in country schools within twenty miles of the Mississippi River, and about half-way between St. Louis and St. Paul. I shall not be deterred by the reflection that others may be able, if they would, to describe a greater variety of ball-games.

Did you ever stop to think how much of human life there is consumed in games of ball? A marble is a ball. So is a billiard-ball, a croquet-ball. So—did you ever think of it?—are shot and shell, though their elongation in modern military engineering has made war less truly than it used to be

"Jist a passel o' big men a-playin'
A little boys' game with a ball."