Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/287

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haunt the burial-places of the north African empires; and no invocation can break the death slumber of Asia Minor. Acorns perish in the Boil which once nourished the oaks of Bashan; outraged Nature refuses to be reconciled. With the glory of the Orbis Romanus the spring-time of our earth has departed, and what America mistakes for the prime of a new year is but the lingering mildness of an Indian summer.

The career whose swiftness is our national boast has led us upon a road which has never been far pursued with impunity; the rapidity of the destruction of our tree and game production is far more unparalleled than the growth of our cities; the misery of the Old World has not taught us to avoid its causes, and the history of its effects will not fail to repeat itself. On the frozen shores of Lake Winnipeg and the inaccessible heights of the central Rocky Mountains a few remnants of the old forests will probably survive; but the great East-American sylvania is already doomed; if we persist in our present course, our last timber-States, Maine, Michigan, and North Carolina, will be as bald as northern Italy in fifty years from now, and our last game will soon retreat to the festering swamps of southern Florida.

The temperate zone of America will soon be the treeless zone, with a single exception. In the sierras of southern Mexico large tracts of land still combine a generous climate with a rich arboreal vegetation. Mexico, like our own republic, has her backwoods States, but their security from the inroads of the destroyer is guaranteed by better safeguards than their remoteness from the great commercial centers. The ruggedness of the surrounding sierras, the supposed or real scarcity of precious metals, and the independent character of the aboriginal population, all conspire to make the alturas or mountain forests as unattractive to the imperious Spaniards as they are inviting to freedom loving visitors from the North.

To my rambles and adventures in these alturas, to their scenic charms, their strange fauna and vegetable wonders, I have devoted this volume; but I have rarely touched upon the mineral and agricultural resources of a region which should remain consecrate to the Hamadryads and their worshipers. The cities of the intervening "civilized" districts, too, I have only mentioned as wayside stations for the benefit of non-pedestrian tourists. New Spain makes no exception from the general rule that the nations of Europe have transformed their American dependencies after the image of their mother countries, and only he who leaves the cities far behind can forget that Mexico was colonized under the auspices of St. Jago and Ximenes.

This collection of "Summer-hand Sketches" is, therefore, neither a record of a pilgrimage to the shrines and cathedrals of Spanish America, nor a bid for the patronage of Southwestern land-agencies, but rather a guide-book to one of the few remaining regions of earth that may give us an idea of the tree-land eastward in Eden which the Creator intended for the abode of mankind. In the terrace-lands of western Colima and Oaxaca, near the head-waters of the Rio Lerma and the mountain-lakes of Jalisco, and in the lonely highlands of Vera Paz, we may yet see forests that have never been desecrated by an axe, and free fellow-creatures which have not yet learned to flee from man as from a fiend.

An Elementary Treatise on Analytical Geometry, embracing Plane Geometry AND AN Introduction to Geometry of Three Dimensions. By Edward A. Bowser. New York: D. Van Nostrand. 1880. Pp. 287.

Professor Bowser has produced a very excellent text-book, and has successfully accomplished his object of presenting his subject in a clear and concise manner, suited to the ready comprehension of the class of students for which it is designed. The demonstrations have been selected with regard to their being of recognized excellence, from all available sources, and when a line of proof could be simplified it has been done.

The Minor Arts. By Charles G. Leland. London: Macmillan & Co 1880. Pp. 148. Price 90 cents.

The regard in which decorative work of all kinds is at present held has given a commercial value to many of those minor arts which have been heretofore viewed only in the light of accomplishments, and pursued only as a pastime. A large field of remunerative and agreeable employment is thus opened up to numbers of persons who could in no other way use their time and abilities to such advantage. These arts are mostly simple, and can be learned sufficiently well to enable the student to do at least passable work with a fair amount of diligence and at an inconsiderable cost. With the object of presenting such practical instruction in the use of the materials and the kind of work that can be made from them as the novice needs, in a convenient and easily accessible form, Mr. Leland has prepared the present little manual. The volume opens with a consideration of leather-work, of which there are three kinds, that known as cuir bouilli, in which the leather is softened and then molded, stamped, or otherwise shaped; sewed leather, and sheet-leather ornaments, such as leaves, flowers, etc. Mr. Leland devotes his attention chiefly to the first kind, which he shows is capable of producing in