[ocr errors]

Brent, " "Edwin Brotherloft,' "Love and Skates," and two volumes of out-door adventure and travel-"The Canoe and Saddle," and Life in the Open Air." The latter two are delightfully fresh and vivid pictures by forest and lake, of prairie and mountain. The poems, which are given to the world in this volume of biography and reminiscence, are not such as will enhance Winthrop's literary reputation. They are in many respects crude and callow, and one cannot rank them as more valuable than the literary recreations in rhyme, wherewith all men of literary taste sometimes regale themselves. Though marked by feeling and imagination, the entire lack of distinctive feeling for poetic art-form is everywhere apparent. It was in his prose that Winthrop moved with a sure and certain step, the easy master of his work, though the publishing craft utterly failed to appreciate him till death lit a torch on his tomb. His novels are marked by boldness of invention, largeness and symmetery of plan, grasp of character, and a singular and felicitous union of robustness and subtlety. There is a fresh breezy air blowing through his books, even when he deals with mystery or melancholy, which should be a good tonic for a morbid reader. Had Winthrop lived and labored to the full development of his fine talents, there can be no doubt that he would have snatched the highest prizes of American authorship That he would have created a model of the story-teller's art entirely different than that which has the vogue now in the James-Howells school of finicky refinement and over-analysis it is not far away to assume. It is pleasant

that such a volume as this memorial should awaken the younger generation to the merits of one whom the elders remember with singular pleasure and interest.

DARWINISM STATED BY DARWIN HIMSELF. CHARACTERISTIC PASSAGES FROM THE WRITINGS OF CHARLES DARWIN. Selected and Arranged by Nathan Sheppard, author of "Shut up in Paris," etc. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

This is one of the few books the title of which suffices to explain perfectly its whole scope and purpose. In spite of the fact that the researches and theories of Darwin have gone far to revolutionize the whole channel of modern science, and even of philosophy, and in spite of the fact that his name is familiar in the mouth of nearly every one with any pretence of culture, it is probably true that very few have read "The Origin of Species" and

the "Descent of Man." Like many another great thinker, his teachings are more talked about than accurately known, and so far as known, known at second-hand. This is the case with great names in literature proper

Homer, Virgil, Dante, Milton, Goethe, Schiller, Montaigne, etc. It is even more the case with great scientific lights, where some special intellectual training and love of truth must enter to overcome the fiction of study. Mr. Sheppard's service to the reading world is that he has selected from Darwin's voluminous writings all the salient and characteristic passages which best illustrate his theories and present the researches and reasonings on which these theories are built. He succeeds in presenting these in such consecutive order as to give an intelligent presentment of Darwin's great work as a scientist, though, of course, to know the full bearings and relations of this work demands a study of the author at firsthand. For the casual reader, however, the book before us will suffice to fill his needs. It will serve to correct the numerous misrepresentations of what Darwin believed and taught, and surely no one has ever been so persistently misrepresented, though in many cases innocently. Mr. Sheppard has performed his work as compiler and editor with acumen and good taste. We do not much believe, as a rule, in books of "knowledge made easy," but this is one which proves a happy exception. It is a book which ought to find a large public in a country like ours, where there are such numbers of half-educated men, who crave intellectual light, and yet lack the leisure or inclination, or perhaps both, to acquire it by the more slow and certain channels of protracted study.

FLOWERS AND THEIR PEDIGREES. By Grant Allen, author of "Colin Clout's Calendar," etc. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

What is called popular science is often full of such shallow and misleading statements, so padded with words without significance, that it is quite delightful to find a writer who is equally accurate, luminous, and picturesque in the art of presentation. Mr. Grant Allen is one of these rare interpreters of natural science. Nay, more! he sheds the glamor of a poetic imagination over the subjects which he treats, and transfigures scientific detail into something which fairly glows and palpitates with life. Science generally tends to present its material in a desiccated form, to eliminate everything but the arid fundamental truth, and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

to generalize away the concrete. Mr. Allen's piquant method reverses this. He, of course, in studying the physiology and evolution of plant-life is obliged to remind his readers of the technical truths of botany and to use its nomenclature. But his use of analysis as an instrument of thought is entirely subordinate to that of synthesis. We may fancy at times, indeed, that his analogies and parallels glide into mere hypothesis. But his knowledge of the field which he is exploring is so evident, his handling of the facts so easy and masterly, that it is not easy to put one's finger on a weak link in the logic. All of the essays collected in this volume were originally printed in such English magazines as Longman's Magazine, the Cornhill, Macmillan's Magazine, the Gentleman's, Belgravia, etc. The subjects are The Daisy's Pedigree,' "The Romance of a Wayside Weed," Strawberries," Cleavers, The Origin of Wheat," "A Mountain Tulip," A Family History," and "Cuckoo Pint' all of them treating of well-known plants. The author very concisely explains his plan in his brief preface, when he says, "We know by this time pretty well what our English wild-flowers are like; we want know next why they are just what they are, and how they came to be so." The cornerstone of his reasoning is in the law of natural selection or survival of the fittest, and applying this to his facts he tells us in a very bright and delightful way how some of the common flowers and fruits have been evolved from simple weeds seemingly widely different. We are told, for example, how the luscious strawberry was developed from the plant called

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



potentilla," which exists in so many varieties. Then again our author traces the origin of wheat, and shows us how it is in descent only a degenerate and degraded lily. The curious kinship between the cereal, which is the most important article of food, and the beautiful flower filled with perfume, is unfolded in a very fascinating way. So through a number of chapters Mr. Allen carries us along as much absorbed as if we were reading a romance. science were always taught in this fashion, its study would be a labor of love not confined to the few who have distinctive aptitudes for its pursuit. Mr. Allen tells us that this is the first instalment of a work which he hopes some day to carry out more fully and to which he means to give the somewhat awkward title of a Functional Companion to the British Flora." It is to be hoped he will find a more attractive name; for the matter, judging from the first

[ocr errors]

part, is sure to be delightful and suggestive reading.

BOUND TOGETHER: A Sheaf of PAPERS. By the author of "Wet Days at Edgewood," "Reveries of a Bachelor," etc. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

This is the latest volume in the complete collected works of Donald G. Mitchell, a writer better known to the older than to the present generation of readers, though he is not very much past the intellectual prime of life. Mr. Mitchell's reputation thirty years ago was second to that of hardly any American writer, but in some curious way he stepped out of American literature, and allowed himself to be almost forgotten, except through casual contributions to the magazines. In his books we find scholarship, geniality, refined and fastidious taste, something at times nearly akin to genius. Why he should have remained so long a dumb oracle is a matter of sorrow and wonder to many of his old admirers. In the present volume we have a collection of papers, some of which are occasional, such as the centenary oration on Irving and the lecture on Titian, delivered before the Yale Art School; and other pleasant essays on various topics originally printed in the magazines. All these papers are readable, fresh, and suggestive. We are specially pleased with the essays, based on the author's observation of nature and his experiences of country life. These are racy and unhackneyed and full of suggestive quality, reviving the memories of his earliest and best style.

HAND-BOOK OF TREE PLANTING, OR WHY TO PLANT, WHERE TO PLANT, WHAT TO PLANT, AND HOW TO PLANT. By Nathaniel H. Egleston, Chief of Forestry Division, Department of Agriculture, Washington. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

For many years forestry has been a science in Germany, ranking among the learned professions. The needs of an old and thickly settled country make it imperative that the subject of arboriculture should be thoroughly understood. In our own great country, where enormous size and extravagant habits have conduced to make us reckless in destroying forests and indifferent in cultivating trees except for purely ornamental purposes, the time has only very recently come when we have begun to see that our crass ignorance on this subject is a national crime. The public mind has awakened, and the matter is being widely

and intelligently discussed. The utter destruction of our great northern pine regions, approaching so swiftly and surely (if nothing is done to prevent), the denudation of the Adirondacks threatening the water supply of the Hudson, and similar dangers are signifi


threats that fix the public interest. Books that throw light on the subject of arboriculture, not merely as a means of gratification to the rich in growing parks and pleasuregrounds, but as a matter of public interest and safety, must be considered, then, as vital to our present public needs. Mr. Egleston has written a compact and well-considered hand-book on this theme, and appears to speak ex cathedra. Aside from the claims justified in his little book, his position under government should assure us of the fact, though unfortunately office-holding is not always a guarantee of fitness. The author has evidently had a wide practical experience in the culture of trees and studied the science underlying it with zeal and thoroughness. Not the least interesting part of the book to the general reader will be the very intelligent and comprehensive study of the needs of preserving and augmenting our forest areas, found in the first sections, as these are so germane to the discussion now going on.


[ocr errors]

MR. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON, the author of "Travels on a Donkey,' "Treasure Island," etc., has been seriously sick at Nice. The loss of this author would be seriously felt in literature.

THE note-books of the late Abraham Hayward, a sketch of whose life and character is given in the present number of THE ECLECTIC, will be edited by Mr. Kinglake.

AMONG foreign literary men of note, who have just died, are Blanchard Jerrold, son of Douglass Jerrold, and a versatile journalist, novelist, and essayist; the great French historian, Miguet, and Richard Hengist Horne. The latter poet is not much known to the present generation, but literary men agree in looking on him as one of the remarkable poets of his century. A complete edition of his works is about to be published in London. He will probably become widely famous now that he is dead, a fate which has befallen the fame of more than one great man. His greatest poem 'Orion," an epic.


HOLLAND, it is said, has only one poet who is a woman. This is Miss Stratenus, who is now visiting London, and who is described as charming both as poet and as woman.

M. AUGUST LAHURE, the manager of a great Paris printing office, has written a letter to the Alliance Français on the diminution of the French book trade. He says it is owing to the lessening number of persons who speak French, and shows that English is gaining ground in the French West Indies, in New Caledonia, and Tahiti. The loss of Alsace and Lorraine was a severe blow to French books. M. Lahure' s remedy is compulsory colonial education in Algiers and elsewhere.

THE Athenæum declares that Mr. Speed's edition of Keats recently published by Dodd, Mead & Co. contains little that is new. "The edition," it alleges, "is practically the same as Lord Houghton's, even to its misprints. The greater number of Lord Houghton's notes are given without signature, though some are signed E. D. Mr. Speed should have taken care to warn the reader against crediting him with these notes.'

THE Pall Mall Gazette indicates the tenor of General Gordon's unpublished theological work. Instead of opening new views, the writer reminds us of the time of the Puritans, when the love of parallelisms between the Old and New Testaments was at its height; when the soldiers of Cromwell prayed aloud to be delivered from the old Adam. For every incident connected with the fall of man, General Gordon traces the New Testament, not only a counter-balancing remedy to enable the fallen to retrieve the lost ground, but an identity of the means of recovery, with the cause of the original transgression. This he recognizes in the act of partaking of the sacramental elements, the meet and fitting remedy against sin introduced into the world by the act of eating the fruit of the tree of life.

THE Pall Mall Gazette asserts that Matthew Arnold made £1200 by his lecturing tour in America.

DR. EVEURS, the American dentist of Paris, has bought the American copyright of the English translation of Heine's Memoirs, and will publish it in May.

THE English edition of the memoirs of Princess Alice will be ready in April. The correspondence of the Princess with the Queen; from English originals in the possession of the

Queen and other members of the royal family, extends from 1862 to 1880.

WE may expect from Matthew Arnold, by and by, a book on America, which will probably be pungent and suggestive. It is reported that he has made a huge collections of memoranda on the queer social facts he observed in America.

THE authenticity of the recently discovered manuscript of Kant, which is to be reproduced photographically, is unquestionable. It was first mentioned in J. G. Hasse's "Remarkable Sayings of Kant, by one of his Table Companions," published in 1804, the year in which Kant died. Hasse therein refers to the work, which the author had several times shown

[ocr errors]

him, and to which he (Kant) had not only given the title System of Pure Philosophy," but of which he spoke as being "his principal work, his chef d'œuvre," an absolute whole, completing his system, and only needing to be properly arranged-an arrangement which Kant hoped to have time left him to accomplish.

THE distinguised preacher, Père Didon, is about to publish a book on the Germans, which is said to be remarkable for its generous impartiality. He warmly praises the patriotism displayed by the Germans : 'Kings and Emperor, Chancellor and Ministers, soldiers and literary men, students and workmen, only dream of laboring for their country. They

[ocr errors]

have but one watchword-the Fatherland. before everything! Their partiotism is beyond dispute." He adds: "I shall never forget my indignation and anguish while reading the French newspapers in Germany. I often found in the columns of a certain Parisian journal more insults against my country than in all the voluminous gazettes of Berlin together."

THE late Charles Stewart Calverley, the author of "Fly Leaves," was an accomplished scholar; and he left at Oxford, it is said, an extraordinary and durable reputation as a wit. The good things of "Blades," as he was then called, are still retailed to the freshmen of the University. An accident on the ice crippled Mr. Calverley's powers much in the later years of his life.

MAX O'RELL, the author of "John Bull et Son Isle," has complained in the English newspapers that the American publishers of his book have not sent him an honorarium. To this a correspondent of the St. James

Gazette replies: "If the ingenuous M. Max O'Rell would take a walk down, not Fleet Street, but Booksellers' Row, he might see another side of the copyright question. He might notice a popular American work called 'Democracy,' published by three British publishers at the exceedingly low price of 6d. or 41d. cash. Compared with the 40 cents (Is. 8d.), or even 20 cents (10d.), the American publishers charge for their work, this will show him the gratifying fact that he is more appre

ciated in America than the author of ' Democ racy' in this country; for, reduced to a least common multiple, he is worth nearly 6d. more, or 100 per cent, than his similarly placed anonymous American. A yard or so further on he might see the 'Bad Boy's Diary,' pub: lished by the same three eager enthusiasts for the diffusion of American literature; and of 'Don't' and Never and Always' he may see at least four copyright editions pirated— I beg pardon, ́ re-issued '—in this country. And then, if he desired further enlightenment on the subject, he might find out how many English checks were in the scrap-books of the American authors of these works."

[ocr errors]

[ocr errors]

PRINCE LEOPOLD, of England, who died on the 28th ult., at Cannes, France, very suddenly, was the youngest son of Queen Victoria. He inherited the literary, scholarly, and artistic tastes of his father in large measure. Educated at Cambridge University, he took a high degree, and specially distinguished himself in literature, philosophy, and the languages. His literary ability was very marked, and he was the author of two books. He was accustomed to remark jocosely that if the Royal Family went out of business in virtue of England becoming a republic, that he could himself make an honest living by teaching music or the classics, or by writing for the periodicals.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

about me, I beheld the ground to the northward of my camp actually covered with a dense living mass of springboks, marching steadily and slowly along, extending from an opening in a long range of hills on the west, through which they continued pouring like the flood of some great river, to a ridge about half a mile to the east, over which they disappeared. The breadth of the ground which they covered might have been somewhere about half a mile. I stood upon the fore-chest of my wagon for nearly two hours, lost in wonder at the novel and beautiful scene which was passing before me, and had some difficulty in convincing myself that it was a reality which I beheld, and not the wild and exaggerated picture of a hunter's dream. During this time their vast legions continued streaming through the neck in the hills, in one unbroken, compact phalanx." It has sometimes happened that a flock of sheep has strayed into the line of march. In such cases the flock has been overlapped, enveloped in the springbok army, and forced to join in the march. A most astonishing example of the united power of the springbok was witnessed by a well-known hunter. During the passage of one of these armies a lion was seen in the midst of the antelopes, forced to take unwilling part in the march. He had evidently miscalculated his leap and sprung too far, alighting upon the main body. Those upon whom he alighted must have recoiled sufficiently to allow him to reach the ground, and then the pressure from both flanks and the rear prevented him from escaping from his strange captivity. As only the front ranks of these armies can put their heads to the ground, we very naturally wonder how those in the middle and rear can feed. The mode which is adopted is equally simple and efficacious. When the herd arrives at pasturage, those animals which occupy the front feed greedily until they can eat no more. Then, being ruminants, they need rest in order to enable them to chew the cud. So they fall out of the ranks and quietly chew the cud until the column has almost passed them, when they fall in at the rear and gradually work their way to the front again. As to water, they do not require it, many of these South African antelopes possessing the singular property of being able to exist for months together without drinking.—Sunday Magazine.

CHILDREN'S PARTIES IN WINTER."- Dr. Cullimore, of the North-West London Hospital, has written to the Evening Standard what

we conceive to be a very sensible letter, pointing out the perils which beset children's parties in winter. The subject is one which may well receive the thoughtful attention of parents and all who are solicitous for the welfare of the young. Dr. Cullimore's principal objections, which are based on physical grounds chiefly, are urged for the benefit of children under seven years of age. We would extend the pròhibition to twelve, or even a little later. It is impossible not to recognize that the so-called 'pleasure" of a children's party involves a very large measure of excitement, both before and after the event; so that, apart from the exposure to the chances of "chill" and improper food and drink on the occasion, there is an amount of wear and tear and waste attending these parties which ought to be estimated, and the estimate can scarcely be a low one. It may seem ungracious to strive to put a limit on the pleasures of the young, but it must not be forgotten that early youth is the period of growth and development, and that anything and everything that causes special waste of organized material without a compensatory stimulus to nutrition ought to be avoided. Dr. Cullimore has dealt with the general effects on health, and he has not exaggerated the evils that sometimes ensue, and are always likely to be entailed by this form of juvenile amusement. We turn from these to the mental and nerve injuries inflicted on the growing organism. They are certainly not to be disregarded. A perfect storm of excitement rages in the little brain from the moment the invitation has been received, and the affair is talked about in the nursery until after the evening. Sleep is disturbed by dreams, or, in some cases, prevented by thinking of the occasion, and afterward the excitement does not subside until days have elapsed, perhaps not before another invitation is received. Not only in winter, but at all seasons, we think the amusements of young children ought to be simple, unexciting, and as free as possible from the characteristics of the pleasures of later years. As a matter of fact, "children's parties are in no way necessary to the happiness of child life.-Lancet.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »