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men get work in the nearest factory
to the keen wind, or with no better
work. But Tolstoi had it from a village mason, who again had it with his blood straight from the heart of the Russian earth and Russian history. For this is the great unknown quantity men call Russia-an immeasurable patience, an immeasurable industry, an immeasurable devotion. Some day a prophet will come along and touch it into intelligent self-consciousness; what will happen then who can tell? But it will be good to live in that day of resurrection.
Extraction of gold by the Cyanide Process. According to a report of the South Australian School of Mines, that ready solubility of gold in a weak solution of cyanide of potassium upon which depends the extraction of so much of the metal from poor quartz rocks, is very adversely affected by the presence of traces of sulphides. Fifty cubic centimetres of a 0.2 per cent. solution of cyanide of potassium mixed with a cubic centime tre of an aqueous solution of sulphuretted hydrogen, failed to dissolve a gold, leaf which would have been dissolved by the cyanide alone in about three minutes.
Agitation with a small quantity of mer curic oxide removed the sulphur and reThe stored the cyanide to activity. publication of this report will probably go far to prevent some unaccountable. failures in working the cyanide process. In the same report it is stated that if iron is in contact with the zinc used to precipitate the gold from the cyanide solution, a local action sets in, and the potassium cyanide (which ordinarily is used over again) is wasted by the formation of a deposit of zinc cyanide; the precipitation of the gold being also incomplete.
Littell's Living Age.-Supplement.
DECEMBER 12, 1896.
READINGS FROM AMERICAN MAGAZINES.
From Harper's Magazine. "THE CELLAR AND THE WELL."
I had three memorable meetings with Dr. Holmes not very long before he died: one a year before, and the other two within a few months of the end. The first of these was at luncheon in the summer-house of a friend whose hospitality made it summer the year round, and we all went out to meet him, when he drove up in his open carriage, with the little sunshade in his hand, which he took with him for protection against the heat, and also, a little, I think, for the whim of it. He sat a moment after he arrived, as if to orient himself in respect to each of us. Beside the gifted hostess, there was the most charming of all the American essayists, and the
Autocrat seemed at once to find himself
to the closing couplet. But I will give them in full, because in going to look them up I have found them so lovely, and because I can hear his voice again in every fondly accented syllable:
Who sees unmoved, a ruin at his feet,
The hearth-stone, shaded with the bistre
And mossy trunks still mark the broken
Its chimney-loving poplar, oftenest seen
Man's mute companions following where
Its dwarfed pale flowers, that show their
singularly at home with the people who greeted him. There was no interval needed for fanning away the ashes; he tinkled up before he entered the house, and at the table he was as vivid and scintillant as I ever saw him, if indeed Its woodbine creeping where it used to
I ever saw him as much so. The talk
Sown by the wind from grass-choked garden beds;
Its roses breathing of the olden time;
Till naught remains, the saddening tale to tell,
Save last life's wrecks-the cellar and the well!
The poet's chaunting voice rose with a triumphant swell in the climax, and "There," he said, "isn't it so? The cellar and the well-they can't be thrown down or burnt up; they are the human monuments that last longest, and defy decay." He rejoiced openly in the sympathy that recognized with him the divination of a most pathetic, most signal fact, and
he repeated the last couplet again at our entreaty, glad to be entreated for it. I do not know whether all will agree with him concerning the relative importance of the lines, but I think all must feel the exquisite beauty of the picture to which they give the final touch.
He said a thousand witty and brilliant things that day, but his pleasure in this gave me the most pleasure, and I recall the passage distinctly out of the dimness that covers the rest. He chose to figure us younger men, in touching upon the literary circumstance of the past and present, as representative of modern feeling and thinking, and himself as no longer contemporary. We knew he did this to be contradicted, and we protested, affectionately, fervently, with all our hearts and minds; and indeed there were none of his generation who had lived more widely into ours. He was not a prophet like Emerson, nor ever a voice crying in the wilderness like Whittier or Lowell. His note was heard rather amid the sweet security of streets, but it was always for a finer and gentler civility. He imagined no new rule of life, and no philosophy or theory of life will be known by his name. He was not constructive; he was essentially observant, and in this he showed the scientific nature. He made his reader known to himself, first in the little, and then in the larger things. From first to last he was a censor, but a most winning and delightful censor, who could make us feel that our faults were other people's and who was not wont
written so intimately with so much dignity, and perhaps none has so endeared himself by saying just the thing for his reader that his reader could not say for himself. He sought the universal through himself in others, and he found to his delight and theirs that the most universal thing was often, if not always, the most personal thing.
In my later meetings with him I was struck more and more by his gentleness. I believe that men are apt to grow gentler as they grow older, unless they are of the curmudgeon type, which rusts and crusts with age, but with Dr. Holmes the gentleness was peculiarly marked. He seemed to shrink from all things that could provoke controversy, or even difference; he waived what might be a matter of dispute, and rather sought the things that he could agree with you upon. In the last talk I had with him he appeared to have no grudge left, except for the puritanic orthodoxy in which he had been bred as a child. This he was not able to forgive, though its tradition was interwoven with what was tenderest and dearest in his recollections of childhood. We spoke of puritanism, and I said I sometimes wondered what could be the mind of a man toward life who had not been reared in its awful shadow, say an English Churchman, or a Continental Catholic; and he said he could not imagine, and that he did not believe such a man could at all enter into our feelings; puritanism, he seemed to think, made an essential and ineradicable difference. I do not believe he had
To bait his homilies with his brother any of that false sentiment which
At one period he sat in the seat of the scorner, as far as Reform was concerned, or perhaps reformers, who are so often tedious and ridiculous; but he seemed to get a new heart with the new mind which came to him when he began to write the Autocrat papers, and the light mocker of former days became the serious and compassionate thinker, to whom most truly nothing that was human was alien. His readers trusted and loved him; few men have even
attributes virtue of character to severity of creed, while it owns the creed to be wrong.
From "Oliver Wendell Holmes."
From The Atlantic Monthly.
A middle-aged woman, fair-haired and stout, sat peeling potatoes in the top story of a tall tenement house. Between her and the sunset several
jagged lines of vari-colored clothes, comprising a neighbor's wash, fluttered slightly in the faint-stirring air. The sound of children's voices, raised at intervals to a shrill pandemonium at some crisis in their game, mounted from the yard and entered at the open window. It was summer, and the woman awaited the return of her husband and son from their work.
Her husband, she knew, would come, slowly, painfully climbing the steep stairway, after a day's perspiring toil in the oven-like basement where he worked. He was ten years older than she was, and he suffered from rheumatism. The boy would come in advance of his father. He was a lad of fifteen, mature for his years, serious, almost stolid, in disposition. He attended the public school during the winter, and worked in the summer vacation to add to the family income.
The family income! It had dwindled of late, despite the additional pair of hands at work to secure it. An illness of nearly three months had dissipated the man's savings, and hopes for the future had had to be renounced. The boy would not return to school in the autumn; his parents did not face it yet; they would not recognize the necessity for his labor, although both knew in their hearts that the man was no longer to be depended upon. Their son's education had been a superstition to these good people; it would be the last of their aspirations to be relinquished. The woman who sat peeling potatoes laid down the knife, and reflected sadly on what was already included in these renunciations. She was a sentimental German woman, and the tears came easily to her mild blue eyes.
Once in their early married life, when fortune smiled upon them-they had planned to visit the Fatherland together; he to show her the little farm in Holstein, where his aged parents were then living with the family of an elder brother; she to show him her home in the Pfalz, in the old city of Speyer, on the dear Rhine. It came back now to the eye of her imagina
tion,-the peaceful old town, the smiling country round intersected by pleasant roads with their borders of fruittrees, the broad acres of garden and pasture, and the simple, friendly people jogging slowly in their vehicles, or strolling by whole families in the Sunday sunshine. . . . Ah, she would have seen it all again so gern! But it was not to be. The advance in wages came too slowly; she had been ailing in those years; and then there was the boy's future to be looked to.
Again, they had looked forward to a country retreat in which to end their days. There were pleasant places on the outskirts of Brooklyn or in East New York; space enough for an arbor in which a man might light his pipe in the sultry summer evenings, with ground beside for a few beds of geranium and a rose-bush or two. So they had fondly imagined, and had pictured' the peace of existence, and the passing away from existence, in so sure a haven of tranquillity. But they never spoke of it now. Silently they abandoned the hope of ever quitting the stuffy little apartment in the top of the tall tenement. And the future of their boy was left them to meditate upon.
They plotted and schemed for his welfare, and watched him grow big and healthy and strong. They kept in a drawer of the kitchen table all his old copy-books and school exercises, and marvelled at the knowledge he was absorbing. Already he did all their writing for them; for the mother wrote only in the crabbed German Schrift, and the father unwillingly took a pen into his great rough hand. Sleeping and waking, their thoughts centred about the boy, and the goal of their lives became his education. This was not, in their sight, merely a tool to his advancement in life; it was desirable in and for itself, an unseen but ever present blessing, which bestowed upon its possessor an inestimable superiority.
Now this last and greatest of their ambitions was about to be abandoned Slowly they would accustom them
selves to the idea of its relinquishment. They would toil on for the rest of their days; the woman at her domestic work, together with what washing she could obtain to do; the man at his employment, so long as his failing health might permit him to retain his position; and the boy would be a toiler like themselves. Her soft mother's heart could not render this credible all at once to the woman's intelligence, but the shadow of it lay, darkening across her soul. She thought of her other renunciations, and none seemed so great as the one likely to be demanded of her. What she forgot was the calm their acceptance had brought her, and it would do the same again.
The boy and his father came home to their supper; the children ceased screaming in the yard; there was a lull in the activity of the whole vast human beehive. The woman placed two bowls of steaming soup on the white-laid kitchen table, and poured some tea into a saucer for herself. Her eyes dwelt alternately on her tired husband and the hungry lad, resting longest on her son. The man's brow relaxed under the influence of the cheering fare, and in his glance was legible the satisfaction of a day's work done. After supper, while she washed the dishes, he read aloud from the evening newspaper.
When the woman came back to the window, the last sunset colors languished in the western sky. The man had fallen asleep, extended at length on the horse-hair sofa; the boy's fair head was bent over a book, his expressionless profile softened by the shadow of the lamp. The woman turned from them to the gathering night. On her face was written contentment and the repose of a nature at peace with itself.
From "Landscapes with Figures." By J. K. Paulding.
From The Cosmopolitan. THE FORGETFULNESS OF AUTHORS. The best abused book of the year now ending (for “Jude the Obscure" belongs
chronologically to 1895) has been Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett's "Lady of Quality." The critics have pretty well dismembered and dissected it, from its moral theory down to its not always accurate archaisms. They have, in fact, done their work so thoroughly that it is surprising to find one amusing blunder still apparently unnoticed. This has to do with the lock of hair which Sir John Oxon surreptitiously cut from Clorinda's head and whose appearance at a critical moment in her life brought on the tragedy that forms the central motive of the novel. This remarkable raven tress at the time when it was cut off is described (page 106) as being five feet long, but when it afterward appears (page 225) it has lengthened out in some mysterious way to six feet! The inconsistencies of authors might be made the text of a long and curious discourse, for they are innumerable and seem to escape the attention of publishers, proofreaders, and critics alike; so that even in books that go through several editions they often remain unaltered for many years. Usually they are due to forgetfulness
and sometimes to absent-mindedness.
Thackeray's "Vanity Fair" is perhaps the most flagrant example of the former quality, for in the earlier editions the characters change their Christian names continually. Old Sedley is sometimes Joseph and sometimes John; Bute Crawley's wife is sometimes Martha and sometimes Jane; and so on. This Is perhaps to be explained by the fact that Thackeray's health broke down when
he had finished the first part of the novel, so that he came to the composi
tion of the second half after an interval that dulled his recollection of its details. Dickens does not blunder in names, but shows instances of forgetfulness as to some of the circumstances narrated in different parts of the same story. Most exasperating is it to a reader to find an author apparently forgetting in one part of a story the attributes ascribed in another part to particular characters. Thus, Charles Reade's "Hard Cash" introduces the American, Joshua Fullalove, as an educated gentleman; but