WHILE most faculties admit of increase by education, there are some universally recognized as innate, and but little capable of change. We may include Presence of Mind among these. Still, by certain disciples a great faculty of this kind may be made greater and a small one may be to some degree augmented.
A generation ago the autobiography of a well- known conjurer or prestidigitateur--it may have been Houdin--contained an instructive passage, quoted in a review which I saw. It was to the effect that sometimes the autobiographer and his son, when going along a street, competed with one another in naming all the objects they saw in a shop-window while passing it--an intentional exercise of the ability to perceive many things at a glance. A high degree of such an ability was obviously needful for one who deluded others by his sleight-of-hand tricks. Might not the power of rapid and complete observation be increased in children by devices nearly akin to games? Suppose a blackboard in front of which can be drawn at a variable speed a black linen screen, containing a