Excerpts from a book Madam How and Lady Why
Download Madam How and Lady Why or First lessons in earth lore for children PDF Free by Charles Kingsley
MADAM HOW’S TWO GRANDSONS.
YOU want to know, then, what chalk is? I sup-
pose you mean what chalk is made of?
Yes. That is it.
That we can only help by calling in the help of a very great giant whose name is Analysis.
A giant ?
Yes. And before we call for him I will tell you a very curious story about him and his younger brother, which is every word of it true.
Once upon a time, certainly as long ago as the first man, or perhaps the first rational being of any kind, was created, Madam How had two grandsons. The elder is called Analysis, and the younger Synthesis. As for who their father and mother were, there have been so many disputes on that question that I think children may leave it alone for the pre
sent. For my part, I believe that they are both, like St. Patrick, “gentlemen, and come of decent people;” and I have a great respect and affection for them both, as long as each keeps in his own place and minds his own business.
Now you must understand that, as soon as these two baby giants were born, Lady Why, who sets everything to do that work for which it is exactly fitted, set both of them their work. Analysis was to take to pieces everything he found, and find out how it was made. Synthesis was to put the pieces together again, and make something fresh out of them. In a word, Analysis was to teach men Science; and Synthesis to teach them Art.
But because Analysis was the elder, Madam How commanded Synthesis never to put the pieces together till Analysis had taken them completely apart. And, my child, if Synthesis had obeyed that rule of his good old grandmother’s, the world would have been far happier, wealthier, wiser, and better than it is now.
N OW you want to know what I meant when I
talked of a bit of lime going out to sea, and forming part of a coral island, and then of a limestone rock, and then of a marble statue. Very good. Then look at this stone.
What a curious stone? Did it come from any place near here?
No. It came from near Dudley, in Staffordshire, where the soils are worlds on worlds older than they are here, though they were made in the same way as these and all other soils. But you are not listening to me.
Why, the stone is full of shells, and bits of ceral; and what are these wonderful things coiled and tangled together, like the snakes in Medusa’s hair in the picture? Are they snakes?
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