Truth and Convenience 305 precious gift of falsehood too cheap ; he has comejte it too easily; cheaply come, cheaply go will be his maxW The good liar should be the converse of the poet; he sntej$& fy& made, not born. ^^.J— It is not loss of confidence in a man's strict adherence to the letter of truth that shakes my confidence in him. I know what I do myself and what I must lose all social elasticity if I were not to do. *Turning for moral guidance to my cousins the lower animals—whose unsophisticated instinct proclaims what God has taught them with a directness we may some- times study—I find the plover lying when she reads us truly and, knowing that we shall hit her if we think her to be down, lures us from her young ones under the fiction of a broken wing. Is God angry, think you, with this pretty deviation from the letter of strict accuracy ? or was it not He who whispered to her to tell the falsehood, to tell it with a circum- stance, without conscientious scruples, and not once only but to make a practice of it, so as to be an habitual liar for at least six weeks in the year ? I imagine so. When I was young I used to read in good books that it was God who taught the bird to make her nest, and, if so, He probably taught each species the other domestic arrangements which should be best suited to it. Or did the nest-building information come from God and was there an Evil One among the birds also who taught them to steer clear of pedantry ? Then there is the spider—an ugly creature, but I suppose God likes it—can any- thing be meaner than that web which naturalists extol as such a marvel of Providential ingenuity ? Ingenuity ! The word reeks with lying. Once, on a summer afternoon, in a distant country I met one of those orchids whose main idea consists in the imitation of a fly; this lie they dispose so plausibly upon their petals that other flies who would steal their honey leave them unmolested. Watch- ing intently and keeping very still, methought I heard this person speaking to the offspring which she felt within her though I saw them not. " My children/' she exclaimed, " I must soon leave you; think upon the fly, my loved ones ; make it look as terrible as possible; cling to this thought in your passage through life, for it is the one thing needful; once lose sight of it and you are lost."