The health-giving properties of sunlight are so well known to all of us that we wonder why so many otherwise sensible folk seem to shun it, with trees and vines, awnings and blinds denying access to that which would make the house wholesome. When possible, every room in the house should have its daily ray bath, and our apartments should utilize the light of the sun as early and as late as may be.
Perhaps nature intended all creatures to sleep through the hours of darkness. If we had followed that custom we might be a race of Methuselahs; who knows? Why some one has not established a cult of sleepers from sunset to dawn is really inexplicable. But mankind in general has persisted in holding to a different notion, and since the sun declines to shine upon us during all the hours of the twenty-four, and we insist upon cutting the night short at one end, we have had to devise substitutes for the sunlight.
Of course the sunlight does not always leave us in unbroken darkness. Few of us are so far departed from the days of mellow youth as to forget certain summer evenings, linked in memory with verandas or bowered walks, when moonlight - and even that in a modified form - was the ideal illumination. But even if we could employ the good fairies to dip them up for us, we should find the soft moongleams of the summer evening a rather doubtful aid in searching for the cat in the dark corners of the basement.
Omitting pine knots, which are rather out of vogue, modern home lighting includes four forms - candles, oil lamps, gas, and electricity. The first-named are not, it is true, used to any extent for what may be called the practical purposes of lighting; but in many ways their light is most beautiful of all. Some charming candelabra suited to the dining table are found in the better shops, and an investment in a choice design is a very justifiable extravagance. Candle illumination is of all varieties the one least trying to the eyes and to the complexion, though its effect upon the temper of the person tending the candles is not so sure to be happy. However, the sort with a hollow center, called Helion candles, require little attention, and the patented candle holders, which work automatically, give no trouble at all.