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[220] should we thus be slaves of the pendulum? Why should we not look at these vast variations of taste more widely, and, as it were, astronomically, to borrow Thoreau's phrase? In the mind of a healthy child there is no incongruity between fairy tales and the Rollo Books; and he passes without disquiet from the fancied heart-break of a tin soldier to Jonas mending an old rat-trap in the barn. Perhaps, after all, the literary fluctuation occurs equally in their case and in ours, but under different conditions. It may be that, in the greater mobility of the child's nature, the pendulum can swing to and fro in half a second of time and without the consciousness of effort; while in the case of older readers, the same vibration takes half a century of time and the angry debate of a thousand journals.

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H. D. Thoreau (1)
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