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the cheapest of games.

And I wish I could tell you what this “play” costs, altogether, in England, France, and Russia annually. But it is a pretty 150 game, and on certain terms I like it; nay, I don't see it played quite as much as I would fain have it. You ladies like to lead the fashion: by all means lead it, — lead it thoroughly, — lead it far enough. Dress yourselves nicely, and dress everybody else 155 nicely. Lead the fashion for the poor first; make them look well, and you yourselves will look, in ways of which you have now no conception, all the better. The fashions you have set for some time among your peasantry are not pretty ones; their doublets? are 160 too irregularly slashed,” or as Chaucer calls it “all toslittered,” though not for “queintise,''3 and the wind blows too frankly through them.

Then there are other games, wild enough, as I could show you if I had time.

There's playing at literature, and playing at art, - very different, both, from working at literature, or working at art, but I've no time to speak of these. I pass to the greatest of all, the play of plays, the great gentlemen's game, which ladies like them 170 best to play at, — the game of War. It is entrancingly pleasant to the imagination; we dress for it, however, more finely than for any other sport; and


1 Doublets, coats.

2 Slashed, slit to show bright colored material beneath, an old fashion.

3 Queintise, quaintness, beauty,

go out to it, not merely in scarlet, as to hunt, but in 175 scarlet and gold, and all manner of fine colors; of

course we could fight better in gray, and without feathers; but all nations have agreed that it is good to be well dressed at this play. Then the bats and

balls are very costly; our English and French bats, 180 with the balls and wickets, even those which we don't

make any use of, costing, I suppose, now, about fifteen millions of money annually to each nation; all which you know is paid for by hard laborer's

work in the furrow and furnace. A costly game! 185 not to speak of its consequences; I will say at pres

ent nothing of these. The mere immediate cost of all these plays is what I want you to consider; they are all paid for in deadly work somewhere, as

many of us know too well. The jewel cutter, whose 190 sight fails over the diamonds; the weaver, whose

arm fails over the web; the iron forger, whose breath fails before the furnace — they know what work is they, who have all the work, and none of the play,

except a kind they have named for themselves 195 down in the black north country, where “play”

means being laid up by sickness. It is a pretty example of philologists, of varying dialect, this change in the sense of the word, as used in the black country

of Birmingham' and the red and black country of 200 Baden Baden. Yes, gentlemen, and gentlewomen,

1 Birmingham, an English manufacturing city.
2 Baden Baden, a European resort famed for its gambling.

of England, who think “one moment unamused a misery, not made for feeble man,” this is what you have brought the word “play” to mean, in the heart of merry England! You may have your fluting and piping; but there are sad children sitting in 205 the market place, who indeed cannot say to you, “We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced": but eternally shall say to you, "We have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.”

This, then, is the first distinction between the 210 "upper and lower” classes. And this is one which is by no means necessary; which indeed must, in process of good time, be by all honest men's consent abolished. Men will be taught that an existence of play, sustained by the blood of other creatures, 215 is a good existence for gnats and jellyfish; but not for men: that neither days, nor lives, can be made holy or noble by doing nothing in them: that the best prayer in the beginning of a day is that we may not lose its moments; and the best grace before meat, 220 the consciousness that we have justly earned our dinner. And when we have this much of plain Christianity preached to us again, and cease to translate the strict words, “Son, go work today in my vineyard” into the dainty ones, “Baby, go play 225 today in my vineyard,” we shall all be workers, in one way or another; and this much at least of the distinction between upper

and “lower' forgotten.



QUESTIONS FOR STUDY What is the difference between work and play? (Lines 66–85.)

Line 88. Is there any difference between Englishmen and Americans in this matter?

Line 121. What American games correspond to these English sports ? Are they equally costly?

Line 140. To what does this passage refer?

Line 171. Is the game of war as popular as it formerly was? Why? Line 178. What are the “bats and balls"

? How does the author classify the rich and poor? (Lines 1–34.)

What is the difference between “upper and lower class"? (Lines 200–209.)

What are the author's arguments for work? (Lines 215–230.)

OF BOOKS All books are divisible into two classes, — the books of the hour, and the books of all time. Mark this distinction; it is not one of quality only. It is not merely the bad book that does not last, and the 5 good one that does; it is a distinction of species. There are good books for the hour, and good ones for all time; bad books for the hour, and bad ones for all time. I must define the two kinds before I go farther.

The good book for the hour, then, - I do not speak


of the bad ones, is simply the useful or pleasant talk of some person whom you cannot otherwise converse with, printed for you. Very useful often, telling you what you need to know; very pleasant often, as a sensible friend's present talk would be. 15 These bright accounts of travels; good humored and witty discussions of questions; lively or pathetic story-telling in the form of novel; firm fact-telling by the real agents concerned in the events of passing history, — all these books of the hour, multiplying 20 among us as education becomes more general, are a peculiar possession of the present age. We ought to be entirely thankful for them, and entirely ashamed of ourselves if we make no good use of them. But we make the worst possible use if we allow 25 them to usurp the place of true books; for, strictly speaking, they are not books at all, but merely letters or newspapers in good print. Our friend's letters may be delightful or necessary today, whether worth keeping or not, is to be considered. The news-30 paper may be entirely proper at breakfast time, but assuredly it is not reading for all day; so, though bound up in a volume, the long letter which gives you so pleasant an account of the inns and roads and weather last year at such a place, or which tells you 35 that amusing story, or gives you the real circumstances of such and such events, however valuable for occasional reference, may not be in the real sense of the word a "book" at all, nor, in the real sense

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