But that is among the harder lessons which come in the latter part of Madam How’s book. Children need not learn them yet; and they can never learn them, unless they master her alphabet, and her short and easy lessons for beginners, some of which I am trying to teach you now.
But I have just recollected that we are a couple of very stupid fellows. We have been talking all this time about chalk and limestone, and have forgotten to settle what they are, and how they were made. We must think of that next time. It will not do for us (at least if we mean to be scientific men) to use terms without defining them; in plain English, to talk about—we don’t know what.
You want to know, then, what chalk is? I suppose 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.
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 present. 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.
But Synthesis would not. He grew up a very noble boy. He could carve, he could paint, he could build, he could make music, and write poems: but he was full of conceit and haste. Whenever his elder brother tried to do a little patient work in taking things to pieces, Synthesis snatched the work out of his hands before it was a quarter done, and began putting it together again to suit his own fancy, and, of course, put it together wrong. Then