There Is No Chance Of Getting Among Our
Scientists In This Way.
Some friends say I was telling a lie when I told the novice Handel
was a Catholic, and ought not to have done so.
I make it a rule to
swallow a few gnats a day, lest I should come to strain at them,
and so bolt camels; but the whole question of lying is difficult.
What IS "lying"? Turning for moral guidance to my cousins the
lower animals, whose unsophisticated nature proclaims what God has
taught them with a directness we may sometimes study, I find the
plover lying when she 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
circumstance, without conscientious scruple, not once only, but to
make a practice of it, so as to be a plausible, habitual, and
professional liar for some six weeks or so 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 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 at any rate to steer
clear of priggishness?
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