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Interesting Readinc and Information Gathered From Many Sources By Scissors The United States is the world’s largest coal exporter. The roots of violet plants are used for fuel in China. In Japan the police have the power to grant divorces. Dueling has been legalized by the legis lature of Uruguay. There were three deaths to two births in France last year. Emperor Wilhelm continues to buy only German goods when possible. Freight train operation is more costly than that of passenger trains. The oldest occupied dwelling in the United States is at Santa Fe, New Mexico. Omoto-kyo, a new Japanese mystic re ligion, proclaims the approaching end of the world. English churches are allowing films of a religious nature to be shown to their congregations. Sea sleds capable of carrying airplanes out in midocean are being developed by a Boston concern. Nome, Alaska, center of the gold rush of 1900, when it had a population of 15,- 000, now has only 200 inhabitants. For visiting the battlefields of France, luxurious automobile trailer hotels have been provided in which six persons can live conveniently. The name “Old Faithful” has been given to an oil well in Kansas because the well today is producing just as much as the day it was brought in, nearly two years ago. Knut Hamsun, Norwegian author, who won the 1920 Nobel Prize for literature, was formerly a conductor on the old Hal sted street horse car line in Chicago in the early eighties. Successful experiments upon 59 persons suffering from leprosy led officials of the United States Public Health Service to be- live that they have at last found a cure for that disease. Large numbers of fossil sea-shells re cently found on the coasts of the Andes Mountains indicate that the strata form ing the mountains were once submerged below the level of the sea. A modern Noah’s Ark docked in New York Harbor recently when a freighter arrived with 4,000 specimens of animals, birds and reptiles captured in Central and Northern Australia for the Bronx Zoo. Omaha, Nebraska, has had its first ar rest on a charge of “reckless aviation.” A flyer who was charged with disturbing the peace by flying very low through the business district was let off with a warn ing that the next time he would be fined. After fifteen years of waiting the great memorial to General U. S. Grant in the botanical gardens at Washington is to be dedicated next spring. The memorial, which contains great bronze groups of many arms of the military service, is one of the largest in the world. Hog Island shipyard at Philadelphia, which cost the government $70,000,000, was offered for sale and brought $4,000,- 000 as the highest bid. The yard was closed February 1, 1921, and will be held until better business conditions bring bids more in keeping with its value. In an experiment to ascertain something of the force that makes sap flow in plants a vine was cut off and a bladder was tied securely over the stump. Two hours later the bladder was found greatly distended and within another hour it burst with a loud report, due to the pressure exerted by the sap. Although its highest point, 440 feet above sea level, is higher than the high est ground in Florida, Louisiana or the District of Columbia, the average eleva tion of Delaware, 60 feet above sea level, is less than that of any other state in the Union, according to the U. S. geological survey. Most people have a decided shrinking from snakes, which is not to be wondered at iq tropical countries, where their bite is venomous and often fatal. But the Cana dian grass snake ought not to be con founded with the rattlers, cobras or pythons. It is as harmless to humanity as a frog and a good deal more useful. No greater enemy to bugs is in existence. And slugs are among the most hurtful of gar den and field pests. They keep down the numbers also of such other pests as mice, shrews and other small rodents. But as slug destroyers they deserve to be cher ished rather than massacred. The steel encased feet of Olaf Bjorjnk son, lumberjack and ice harvester of Racine, Wis., clanked themselves into prominence, recently, on State street, Chi cago, above the rattle of the elevated and the rumble of surface cars. Curious pedes trians followed Olaf until a traffic police man stopped the procession. Olaf ex plained that he was beating a salient into one front of the high cost of living line. Here’s his system,.as told to the policeman: “Aye buy army shoes. Then Aye go to foundry and have mold taken. Then Aye go to blacksmith and have steel forms made. For $7 Aye bane make my feet in dependent of shoe dealers for life.” One of the most prolific causes of acute disease of the middle ear, with consequent deafness, is the incorrect use of the hand kerchief, according to a medical authority. The average adult constricts the mostrils when he blows his nose, thus producing extraordinary compression of the air in the naso-pharynx. When he has a cold there is infection and swelling around the eustachian tubes, and the effort to expel the compressed air through the constricted nostrils is likely to blow some of the in fected mucus into these tubes, thus start ing the trouble. When a person has a cold he should sleep on his side and not on his back, for thus he will establish good drainage from the eustachian tubes. THE PROGRESS OF MUSIC One cannot easily define the relations between political and social changes, and the character of music; yet whoever ob serves them well will see that they always bear most expressive relations to each other. In Gothic times arose the Fugue, a musical composition which has been thus described: “It goes circling upward like a many-tongued flame, always aspiring, never finished, ascending higher, telling of more and more that it would be. There are innumerable airs winding and blending into one another, and lead ing you into the depths of a mysterious whole.” How strikingly is this in keep ing with the architecture of those times, and how expressive are both of the dim, superstitious, mystical sentiment of the age. Before the Reformation, music as well as literature, was mostly shut up in the church, and masses and anthems, like monkish books, were elaborately learned and artificial. But before the beginning of the Seventeenth Century, popular airs which people sang at their work and by the wayside, the melodies of a nation’s heart, began to be arranged and har monized. Music glided out of church and monastery into the free air of social life and became the opera. Literature did the same and took form in drama and novel. Formerly the Air reigned absolute, and the accompaniments were trifling and al together subordinate appendages; but in modern times, the orchestra has constant ly increased in importance. Now, every instrument is an individual character, every one has its say, each attracts at tention in turn, and according as it is more or less prominent, the whole expression of the piece is changed. It could not be otherwise with music in this age, when each judges for himself. That which orchestral music< is aiming at, and approaching nearer and nearer to, is to combine variety into unity; to have each class of instrument distinct, yet so to mingle and work together, by harmony or contrast, that one spirit shall pervade the whole.— Ex. THE DESERT The desert! a domain of dust, cactus and centipedes; a wilderness, a solitude, a vast stony, sandy stretch void of vege tation and moisture; an uninhabited tract of land; a place where people attempt to run away from the world; a resort for fools and wise men, savages and sages. The desert is a place of bare rocks, sand and crevices. Instead of snow there is scorching sand; in lieu of birds there are serpents; you hear the hiss of snake and hot wind. During the day the traveller sees shapes of ships, spires, walls and towers in the mountain crags, and listens in vain for a word from stone lips petrified in silence. At sunset he jounrneys through the clouds in thought and sails rivers of gold. What is this world but a desert, and humanity a cloud of dust that passes away! Time has written history on its rocky leaves— its drifting sands are the hour-glass for. those who have gone from time to eternity. What wonderful pic tures one sees in the desert where the brushes of the air plant from the palette of the golden sun and silver moon. The desert is a land of passion and repose, of dreams and endless calm. How many men, sick in body and soul, are glad to be self-sentenced exiles to the desert, anxious to get away from life’s dreary turmoil of fears and frowns, mean ness and malice, folly and falseness. To some the desert is an empire of emptiness only inhabited by the spirits of Famine and Fire. There is no river, brook nor fountain—’tis an endless horizon of burning sky and barren earth. To the desert come thugs, thieves and brutes. Others come thirsting for gold and adventure only to die of thirst. No mat ter how much you gush about scenery, you long for a gush of water. The saint loves the sighing night winds and burning, bright stars. Like Elijah at Horeb, God is in the still small voice, saying to His child, “Man is distant but God is near.” Most of the earth’s surfaces is sea and sand. The traveler learns how many de serted places this world has and each has a charm and beauty all its own. One sometimes asks the question why was the desert -put here, or anywhere, and what’s its use ? I don’t know except to get out of. If Bacon were living he could give the final cause-reason. Perhaps the desert is just a sun-burn tan or fever blister on the body of Mother Earth. Some flee to the desert with the words on their lips, “Anywhere, anywhere, out of the world.” They are always better off away than at home. They hate home and love travel, they prefer solitude to the multitude, and sick of their surroundings, like souls, they enter other lives. The desert is the Elysium of the out law, tramp, poet, ascetic, nomad, Indian, anchorite, invalid, miner, as well as of the scorpion, lizard, vulture, snake, jackal, camel and lion. I have seen deserts that like steel mir rors reflected the light of sky and earth on fire. Some seemed like winding sheets of sand for a dead world. It is the ma jestic throne of Silence and Immensity— a stage with setting of mirage, where pageants of colored clouds march on for ever. In the desert your shadow is your only companion. Here you wish for nothing, aspire to nothing and regret nothing. You are the slave of circumstance, as the desert is the slave of the sun. The souvenirs one carries away from this land of Death • are whitened bones. Desert silence is bro ken by the tinkle of the camel-bell and screech of the vulture. Far from the mad ding crowd, the desert encroaches on your thought until color becomes defied. In the desert one may be alone but not lonely. The lover of crowds, banquets, and balls stays but a short time, unless like Cain he is a fugitive. To me, the man is empty-minded who says that the desert is empty. One may not have all human com forts, yet he may receive Divine consola tion. There is no room or flat except all outdoors; no decorated ceiling and elec tric lights, just God’s sky, sun, moon and stars; no graphophone, but the music of wind and sand; no easy chairs and beds, but Jacob’s pillow with divine dreams; no movies and stage, but an amphithetre of shifting scenes; no oil paintings, but sunrise, sunset and cloud; the architecture is rocks, the library, geology. The mental horizon is bigger just as the physical one is. The desert has its blessings—no alarm clock, or bath, or shave, or newspaper, or cook, or trolley, or office, or business, "or club, or golf, or banquet, or concert, or lecture, or theatre, or sermon, or war movie, or problem play, or visits. Man should be thankful for an occasional Robinson Crusoe existence. Desert change is beneficial. It is well to leave man’s hand-made hell of crowded, smelly, grimy cities for open, large, clean desert. The desert is an oven by day and an ice-box by night. The wells one is sure .to find are the wells of perspiration. In the desert one finds cacti, carcases and rattlesnakes, the last being a poor toy for a child. Artists love nude models—is. this the reason why the naked and bare desert furnishes them with with so many paint ings ? I have seen the desert sand, yellow, as butter and on my lips it tasted bitter as death. The dust fires your eyes, fills your ears and makes your nose bleed. After the sun has traveled across the desert all day, I have noticed he goes to bed red-eyed from the dust. Desert music is diversified, whether. it comes from the Oriental howling dervish, the yell of the tiger, the melody of Egypt’s Memnon statues, the jingle of the camel bell, or the wind harping on an animal or human skeleton. Solitude and desert are synonymous. Landor called solitude the audience cham ber of God. It is the meeting place of living and dead. In the calm rather than crash, we rightly measure the real value of the things we strive for. We should open the eyes and ears of our heart to the sights and sounds of nature that speak of the Creator to the soul as n teacher of books can. Silent day here echoes the airy voices of the dead; silvery night bathes the soul in holy quiet, in the desert where the living visit and the dead abide. — Rev. "Golightly ” Morrill, pastor of Peo ple’s Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota.