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Books Worth Readirxg.
Being a Few Terse Remarks on Sorrje of the Gerys in the Local library. Contributions to this Department are Especially Desired and Appreciated There are in the library two books which have not been hon ored with previous mention in these columns, but each of which will bear reading. I refer to 1304. Partners of Providence, by Charles D. Stewart, and The Octopus, 1017, Frank Norris. The first is a good yam, mostly devoid of plot, but will be found of interest to boys of all ages, from 18 to 80. There is nothing remarkable about the story except the manner in which it is told, and the naturalness of the incidents narrated. These in cidents are such as might happen to any adventurous youth whose habitant might be along the great Father of Waters. I enjoyed Partners of Providence about as much as any work of fiction I have read in a long time. The other book referred to. The Octopus, is of entirely a different character. It is the epic of the wheat, of which The Pit, by the same writer, is the second chapter. The Octopus takes up the plant ing of the grain, The Pit, the marketing. The third chapter covering the consumption of the stap’e was never written. Frank Norris died in his New Jersey home before the trinity of wheat dramas was complete. I n The Octopus we witness the mighty struggle for a foot hold made by the sturdy Western pioneer, the fearful cruelty and injustice of the early railroads aud all their ad junct, the courts, the public offici als, etc. We see the final triumph of all this injustice, but witness the terrible death of the one man whose rascality is mainly respon sible for the conditions that devel oped. The Octopus will grip your at tention for many an evening and leave, after yon have finished it, something to think about for a multitude of evenings yet to come. H. The local library contains many good books. I wiil herewith men tion a few of the very best that I have read recently. Of course some of you may not agree with me, as the tastes for reading, as well as for other things, are dif ferent. Be sure to read Victor Hugo s Less Miserables or Jean val Jean. The hero of this story was sent to prison for stealing a loaf of bread. It tells how he served ninteen years; how the good bishop be friended him; how he was seeking revenge upon society and finally how he became the mayor of a town and was doing good to the unfortunate about him. Is is a remrak tbla s'ory, well worth lead ing, the number is 1552. Be sure to read David Harum, number 1417. Also Bill N}es The Meek Ey.*d Mule, the num ber of this book is 1759. Another author of goo l books is Charles Reade. The best of his are It is Never too L its to Mend, No. 1110, and Griffith Grant or Jealousy, No. 1113. B >th these books are very good. For those who are seeking his- torical fiction I would recommend the following books: Alex Dumas The Sms of Porthos and Twenty Years After, Nos. 1535 and 1536. Also read Charles King’s books; the best of his are Captured, 1589; A Daughter of the South, _ 1590; Under Fire, 1617. Walter Scott’s books are mostly all interesting; the best of which are Nos. 1662,1667 and 1672. Those of the boys who would like to read travels and adventures in foreign lands will be more than pleased with reading all of Da Ohaillu’s books, 3267 and 5269. Stanley’s books are all very good. The best of his are Nos. 3278 and 3279, In Darkest Africa. Of the many religious works, I would especially recommend the following: 4146, 4249 4233, 4256 t 4287,4295 aud 4309. These are only a few of the good books in the local library. To those who would care to ac quaint themselves with the habits, customs and mythology o f the Ancients, I earnestly recommend a perusal of The Student’s Myth ology, No. 3243. The book is a lucid, masterfully presentation of facts pertaining to a very reoondite subject and is peculiarly free of the cynicism and flippancy which mars the work of many eminent writers when treating of subjects that they regard as manifestations of superstitious ignorance. In style it is terse, vivid and suggest ive; coached in simple, appropri ate language and covers a range extending from the Golden Age to the Age of Commercialism, It contrasts in a very convincing way the purity and healthy simplicity of pastoral people with the laxity and nnrest of the inhabitants of the congested centers of modem civilization. It shows how man, through his solipsism and his in quisitive disloyality to bis God contracted habits which robbed him of his original independence and strength aud compelled him to adopt measures for protection against forces to which he was once impervious. It proves that the progress, which is the boast of modern times, contains much that savors of declension, and that the wisest man of the present day, af ter thousands of years of fruitless questioning, is a pygmy compared to the superman of the Golden Age, who, etrong and unfearing lived in close harmonious relation with his God. Of this period, the Golden Age, Ovid says: “Unforced by punishment, un awed by fear, His words were simple and his soul sincere; Needless was written law where none oppressed; The law of man was written in his breast.” As a sample of the book’s dic- tion and as a reason why Mythol ogy should be studied, I quote the following: “Because ancient lit erature and art canuot be fully un derstood or appreciated without some knowledge of Mythology, it was mingled w ith every theme of the classic poet and inspired the high est Bkill of the painter and sculp tor. The subjects keep their places to some extent in modern art and mythological allusions are so fre quent in our literature that an ac quaintance with classic fable is considerated a necessary part of a liberal education.” D. M. If y u are wise, As we surmise— Well, you’ll subscribe for The Mirror, and smile ever after from sheer satisfaction. Diverse Reflections The upbeavels of Csesar’s are things of the past in Italy, but the earthquakes there are appropriate substitutes. The boys were very quiet here hollow n night, and no special edicts of the mayor were previous: ly issued.either. Men seldom need to worry about the fortune they may amass for women can utilize it while mRn toils to grasp more. Davy is counting the days and wondering why his moustache won’t get “fur nuff out” to enable him to put a dandified twist on it Few persons get into prison for merely attempting to- do some thing. The great majority are successful aud accomplish acts which land them in prison. “Pussyfoot” Johnson is not a prohibitionist as far as I am aware, but he certainly prohibits the con ducting of liquor emporiums in the government’s prohibited districts. A. N. An editor rarely gets into pris on, but this fact is no proof that they never get into trouble, for nearly every issue of a paper por trays troubles the editor has run into —looking for news. The suspense of a candidate waiting to learn how badly his op ponent has been defeated at the polls is similar to the suspense of a pris oner waiting to learn if a “diplo mer” is to be handed to him. Daring the confinb period spent in thecellhouse on election day, I asked Hatch if Uncle Sam or Sun ny Jim would be oar next govern or. He replied: “Uncle Sam will be elected president of Minne sota by 10,000,000 majority.” President Taft is not a great howler like some of the national ’galers, but when a question re quiring sound judgment arises he displays the brand o f wisdom that has gradually showed the peo ple that he is a man among men. Judging from newspaper gossip, the Insurgents are apt to try to oust Uncle Joe from lhe speaker ship of Congress. Before they succeed some of them may be will ing to acknowledge that a cat is not the only species that has nine “Dancing has been brought out in England as the lat *st cure for feeble mindedness.” —Morris Sun. Such a theory might be reversed to read: Dancers in Spain pro duce feeble mindedness Kings not being exempt from the con tagious mental deflection. The garment workers’ strike in the city of Chicago resulted in many riots, with serious results to mauy involved. In this era of flaunted civilization, with ages of human experience From which to derive advanced ways and means of progress, such strikes are a strong indictment againstour much boasted Age of Reason. “Speaking of the U. S. army,” said a resident, “there are men in here who make more money in a month than a soldier earns.” To be sure; and like baukers and United States Senators we all do business mostly b y the check method which obviates the ueoes-. sity of carrying money upon the peison, and incidentally prevents dollars burning holes in our pock ets. The Steward’s department will be kept very busy from now on, receiving the supplies for the last quarterly estimate. Some of them have already begun to arrive. By Erid. JKe JYisorxers Frierxd. Mrs. Tuttle’s letter in The Mir ror shows that there are still a few kind hearted and noble w'*"' , n who are making it their lifewoik to help a poor unfortunate man or woman who was tempted aDd too weak to resist the temptation, now paying the penalty to sooiety for their weaknesses. In writing this, space will not permit me to give all men and women their just dues who are de voting their lives, talent and in many cases part of their money to help the detained, or his wife and family, or his old folks, to whom he or she might have been the only support. One in particular, who is known from Maine to Cala fornia to the boys aod girls in places of this kind, is Mrs. Maude Ballington Booth, better known as the Little Mother, of the Volun teers’ Prison League. In many state prisons throughout the coun try she has formed leagues called the Volunteer Prison League and its motto is The Star of Hope and Cross of Calvary. Every prison which holds a charter and the V. P. L. banner, has many inmates on its membership list and she does not bar race, creed or color, all she asks of you is to try and better yourself while inside and when your time comes to leave she will give you a helping hand and take you to one of her Hope Halls, but you have to go direct after leaving the prison gate. You stay there until she or some of her co-workers find a position that you are able to fill. Your stay does not cost you one cent while at one of the homes; it is more of a health builder than anything else, for any man who has put in any length of time in a place of this kind Can not go out and do a hard day s work without breaking down, as there is nothing to be compared with close confinement for putting one on the sick list while he is striving to do his best and fight ing life’s battle. There is no more need for any man or woman, with good inten tions to do right and live a good, honest, upright life, to suffer, once the gate is closed behind them and they have that dear, sweet word Liberty, which all of us crave for and live in hopes to some day see, when there are such good men and women as Mrs. M. B. Booth, Mrs. Mary Tuttle, Rev. James Parsons of St. Paul, Dr. Paulson of Chi cago, Rev. Father A. M. Fish of Trenton, N. J , and thousands of others who are always ready and willing to give a helping hand. There is another I nearly forgot, to name and if I did it would be doing him an injustice; he is Mr. L. A. Coffin of lowa, who was an able railroad man in his day and made his pile and is now spending some of it for the boys in distress in his own state and is known as Father Coffin throughout the state. He is a born tighter and did many things to better the railroad man’s condition in his younger days, and if he is living today he is quite along in years, somewhere in the eighties He never took “no” for an answer if it wus of any benefit to the rights he was upholding. Not long ago there was an article in ihe weekly papers about a roan named Mr. Jeukins, a night guard, I think, in the M '..pris on, who was a school i aclier in his younger days. After a short, time in his new position he found that many of the inmates under his charge did not know how to read or write English. He took the few books that he had left and brought them to prison and started lin to hold school through the cell By G. H. bare in bis epare time, as they did not have a night school like they have here and other plaoes. In time, all who took up the studies became pretty fair scholars and those who left the kind hearted man thanked him from the depth of their hearts. They knew well that very often he went into his pocket to get them what books they needed, as the state did not furnish such a thing as a school book. When Mrs. Booth first started her League work in the three New York state prisons, her member ship at. first was all second and third timers and the prison officials shook their heads and told her she would be very much disappointed,as most of those who took the stand for a better life were the worst men in the institution and disre garded all descipline and could not be trusted. These same men after her first heart-to-heart talks with them started to take down their Bibles from the shelves, which had lain their for years and not as much as opened, and began to read them. At first it was very hard for them, as their own “pals" jeered them, soorned them, and in many cases shamed them and call ed them hypocrites and said as soon as they got out they would make for the gin mill onthecorner Hu I Forget all about the stand they had taken and ouly spoil some one's chances who really meant to do right after their release. Even the police i n New York City laughed. “Most of them belong there,” they said. She told those in police headquarters to give them only one chance as she her self knew their sincerity, but it is hard to make other people believe it on account of their past records. Most of these very same men are either prosperous business men or working men today, and in time they won over some of their “pals” and the prison officials and the po- lice were struck dumb when they heard about it. One had the pleas ure of going to Sing Sing and talk ing to some of his old comrades from the platform. He spent a ten-year sentence there and h e owes his success to a little woman with a large heart, who believed in mankind. There are thousands of men and women whopaseed through the Hope Halls. She has a sepa rate home for the women. Seven ty-five per cent, make good, twenty per cent, she loses track of, and only five per cent, are failures. Still, ehe gives these five per cent, another chance if they want it, and it is as the poet says: “The vilest dteds, like poison weeds, Bloom well in prison air; Tis only what is good in man That wastes and withers there.” Where Hell is Frozen Over The place where this seemingly desirable slate of affairs exists is the Arctic Circle, ai d Adventure for December publishes the log of the launch Americu of the Fiala Arctic Expedition which clearly show’s why it is not desirable. Although the log is a record of teriible suffering, it has been “amplified and regretfully expur gated” until it is sidesplittingly funny. H. P. Haitt, chief engine er on the Fiala Expedition, was the leader of the attempt to reach Cape Flora from Camp Abruzzi, “say a hundred miles away by crow, and a thousand by gosh,” in order to report a valuable discov ery to Fiala. He was forced, with his crew of one man and dog, to return to Camp Abruzzi.