"ORTHODOXY," said Professor Sophocles of Harvard, "is my doxy. Heterodoxy is somebody else's doxy." So it is with regard to taste. Good taste is what I like. Bad taste is what the other fellow likes.

Taste is the most intimate and definite expression of personality. Even more than by his friends is it possible to judge a man by what appeals to him artistically. If he prefers musical comedy to grand opera, and wall paper to Renaissance tapestries, we know that his artistic education has been neglected, or that he was born deaf to the beautiful.

Good taste is not wholly a natural gift, nor is it wholly the result of knowledge and experience. It is a combination of both. Without great natural gifts, no one can ever become delicately sensitive to the finer and higher forms of art. Without acquaintance with the best that has been done, no one can ever become noted for the quick accuracy of his critical opinions.

The shibboleth of the novice is simplicity. The young lady reporter can in half a column of the Woman's Section of the Sunday newspaper easily demolish all the French styles, and particularly Louis XV.

But while simplicity is a doctrine easy to preach, it is both hard and dangerous to follow. Simple furniture, like simple gowns, may be inexpensive to look at, but expensive to purchase and use. Ornament skilfully applied conceals uninteresting lines and joints and surfaces, and accentuates beautiful ones. In furniture and architecture, paints and finishes and hardware, though often ornamentally applied, are primarily important from the point of view of usefulness. But of moldings and inlays and carvings and piercings the primary purpose is ornamental, and they are valueless except as they add beauty.

The line between good ornament and bad ornament is the line between beauty and ugliness.

The only good furniture is that which is both beautiful and useful.

All furniture that lacks either beauty or usefulness is bad furniture.

I. Austrian bentwood chair, finished in oak or mahogany, at $2.75. It excels in strength and durability.

I. Austrian bentwood chair, finished in oak or mahogany, at $2.75. It excels in strength and durability.

2. Oak chair at $2.50, crudely and roughly made. The proportions and finish are detestable.

2. Oak chair at $2.50, crudely and roughly made. The proportions and finish are detestable.

3. A good mahogany chair of simple design, an offshoot of the Chippendale family. It costs $ 12.

3. A good mahogany chair of simple design, an offshoot of the Chippendale family. It costs $ 12.

4. Oak chair upholstered in leather, with heavy carvings that attempt to reproduce the Italian Renaissance.

4. Oak chair upholstered in leather, with heavy carvings that attempt to reproduce the Italian Renaissance.

Furniture that is well constructed, of good shape and excellent finish, is good furniture no matter how elaborately it may be decorated.

Furniture of bad shape or bad finish, is bad furniture no matter how free from meretricious mounts and carvings.

A large proportion of the worst furniture ever made belongs to the so-called Mission or Arts-and- Crafts type.

The shopkeepers claim that the reason they carry in their showrooms and warerooms so much bad furniture, is that the public demands it. The professional educators of public taste claim that the reason people buy bad furniture is because the shopkeepers force it upon them. The truth probably lies in between. Undoubtedly the dealers do follow rather than lead, and undoubtedly the cheap trade - particularly that of instalment stores - do demand quantity of ornament and color rather than quality.

The abomination of abominations in the form of bad furniture, is the conventional parlor set, copied remotely and ignorantly from some French original and upholstered in fancy velours or satin damask. Nothing more ghastly could be imagined except the illustrations of them that appear in newspaper advertisements with the sign underneath, "Just like the cut."

Other abominations are dining-room tables and sideboards and chairs in oak with huge Italian Renaissance machine carvings obtruding where they will do the most harm; easy chairs and sofas in massive mahogany that has been tortured into incredible shapes; metal beds with stamped and spun trimmings that part company with the object adorned at the first opportunity; wooden beds and bureaus whose veneered and polished surfaces are mirror-like when new, and patchy after a few months' use; writing desks that, in sinuosity of line and fragility of appearance and fact, surpass the most extreme rococo ever devised even in Germany: curio cabinets with painted or transferred ornament under lacquer, that makes the name vernis-martin ridiculous.

Of these abominations, the worst are no longer found in the larger shops and departments. During the past ten years the standard of taste has risen appreciably. In the store from which our illustrations are taken, it is evident that a serious and intelligent effort has been made to avoid bad design, bad construction, and bad finishes.

But the mass of inexpensive furniture is still full of serious faults, as our "bad furniture" illustrations show.

5. The Washington chair, reproduced from the original. In mahogany, upholstered with Colonial denim, $ 12.

5. "The Washington chair," reproduced from the original. In mahogany, upholstered with Colonial denim, $ 12.

6. A tapestry upholstered oak chair at $10.50, illustrating the effort of American designers to improve on Chippendale.

6. A tapestry-upholstered oak chair at $10.50, illustrating the effort of American designers to improve on Chippendale.

7. A durable and comfortable armchair of the Windsor type at {9.

7. A durable and comfortable armchair of the Windsor type at {9.

8. An inferior arm chair of the Mission type at $7.

8. An inferior arm-chair of the Mission type at $7.

Even when well built and finished, it is apt to have bad proportions. Legs are too short or too long or too slender or too thick to rhyme with the body. Chair backs are too wide or too narrow or too straight or too curved. Arms are too light or too heavy. Seats are too wide or too deep. The upholstery is out of tune with the color and texture of the wood, or with the style to which the frame belongs.

Of expensive furniture that is good - modern reproductions as well as antique pieces - the different historic periods have bequeathed us much. If one has a fat purse there is no excuse for buying bad furniture.

But when the purse is lean, the case is different. The cheap imitations of historic pieces are ridiculous - for instance, the dwarfed and skimpy copies of Chippendale and Louis XV chairs of which there are so many.

Inexpensive furniture should be chosen for its intrinsic merits, and not for its more or less shadowy resemblance to museum examples. The designs - whether classic or modern - will of necessity be those adapted to production in large quantities and inexpensively; the ornament such as is natural to the machine and durable in use.

Especially interesting from the modern point of view are the bentwood furniture made in Austria, and the new turned furniture made in Germany. Both are avowedly and pronouncedly machine-made, and designed along the lines best adapted for machine production. They are splendid examples of good furniture at the least possible cost. Of course, No. 1 suggests the restaurant, but it is vastly more durable and more graceful than No. 2, which is plain "kitchen chair."

No. 4 is a pretentious failure. Elaborate carving is acceptable only when executed by a master. Crude, pasted-on, machine carving is an abomination. This chair costs enough to be good, but any one who can afford to pay $94 for a five-piece set ought to have taste enough to choose No. 3 or No. 5.

No. 6 represents the way some American manufacturers murder Chippendale. Note particularly the front legs. Could anything be more hopelessly ugly?

It is positively refreshing to turn to No. 7. It not only looks well and wears well, but it is comfortable. It is a model of grace compared with No. 8, and is built well.

Not all Mission furniture is cumbersome, but No. 8 is. Obvious construction, moreover, is not necessarily good or honest construction, and cheap Mission furniture shows an aptitude for falling apart.

9. An arm chair in mahogany finish, part of a three piece set, at $ 65.

9. An arm-chair in mahogany finish, part of a three-piece set, at $ 65.

10. An arm chair in mahogany finish, one of a five piece set, at $ 130.

10. An arm-chair in mahogany finish, one of a five-piece set, at $ 130.

11. A chiffonier finished in green oak at $ 12.50. Lines and proportions excellent.

11. A chiffonier finished in green oak at $ 12.50. Lines and proportions excellent.

12. An oak dresser at $ 12.50, crowded with meaningless curves.

12. An oak dresser at $ 12.50, crowded with meaningless curves.

Of course, I do not pretend that No. 9 is a beautiful chair; but compare it with No. 101 Is it any wonder that boys leave home when the front parlor is equipped with "suits" of this type?