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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 87

The Paintings of the World

The Paintings of the World,

from the rude daub of yellow mud to the landscapes that enrich palaces and adorn houses of what were once called the common people.

I saw also their sculpture, from the rude god with four legs, a half-dozen arms, several noses, and two or three rows of ears, and one little, contemptible, brainless head, np to the figures of to-day,—to the marbles that genius has clad in such a personality that it seems almost impudent to touch them without an introduction.

I saw their books—books written upon the skins of wild beasts—upon shouder-blades of sheep—books written upon leaves, upon bark, up to the splendid volumes that enrich the libraries of our day. When 1 speak of libraries, I think of the remark of Plato: "A house that has a library in it has a soul.

I saw at the same time the offensive weapons that man has made, from a club, such as was grasped by that same savage, when he crawled from his den in the ground and hunted a snake for his dinner; from that club to the boomerang, to the sword, to the cross-bow, to the blunderbuss, to the flint-lock, to the cap-lock, to the needle-gun, up to a cannon cast by Krupp, capable of hurling a ball weighing two thousand ponnds through eighteen inches of solid steel.

I saw, too, the armour from the shell of a turtle that one of our brave ancestors wore upon his breast when he went to fight for his country; the skiu of a porcupine, dried with the quills on, which this same savage pulls over his orthodox Head, up to the shirts of mail that were worn in the middle ages, that laughed at the edge of the sword and defied the point of the spear; up to a monitor clad in complete steel.

And I say orthodox not only in the matter of religion, but in everything. Whoever has quit growing he is orthodox, whether in art, politics, religion, philosophy—no matter what. Whoever thinks he has found it all out, he is orthodox.