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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ENTERTAINING VARIETIES.
 

 

—— Charles Darwin—paid a splendid compliment to John Fiske in a letter he wrote him after reading the "Cosmic Philosophy." This is part of what he said: "You must allow me to thank you for the very great interest with which I have at last slowly read the whole of your work. I have long wished to read something about the views of the many great men whose doctrines you give. I never in my life read so lucid an expositor (and therefore thinker) as you are; and I think that I understand nearly the whole, though perhaps less clearly about cosmic theism and causation than other parts. It is hopeless to attempt out of so much to specify what has interested me most, and probably you would not care to hear. It pleased me to find that here and there I had arrived, from my own crude thoughts, at some of the same conclusions with you, though I could seldom or never have given my reasons for such conclusions." It was but natural that Mr. Fiske should feel that he owed something to the memory of his departed friend for this beautiful tribute to his own labors, and he has well repaid it in his article upon Charles Darwin in the June "Atlantic Monthly." This paper is not only a cordial and highly appreciative eulogy of the character of the great naturalist, but it is probably the most "lucid exposition" that has yet been given of the special doctrines that will in future be associated with the eminent name of Darwin.

—— The Word of a Khan.—Hulaku, the grandson of the great Genghis Khan, exceeded even the first Caliphs in religious respect for the sanctity of his word, and it is said that he invariably refused to make a promise "till the possibility of fulfilling it became absolutely indubitable." In the winter of 1257 he laid siege to the city of Bagdad, and, after planting his battering-rams, demanded an unconditional surrender, with the threat that both the Caliph and his subjects would be made to repent it if the gates were not opened before night. The defenders hesitated, but on the following day the Tartars erected a lofty gallows-tree, and the frightened Caliph preferred to come to terms. The magnificence of his gifts seemed to soften the heart of the conqueror, for the ominous scaffold was removed; but, after a private consultation with his captains, Hulaku concluded that, after all, something or other must be done to redeem his word. So, after enjoying the hospitality of the Caliph for a day or two, they marched him to headquarters, and, instead of hanging him, sewed him up in a leathern bag and dragged him across-lots till "every joint and bone in his body was pounded as in a mortar"; and, instead of burning the inhabitants with their city, they brained eight hundred thousand of them, and flung them into the Tigris, till the river was actually choked with corpses. Andrew Crichton ("History of Arabia," vol. ii, p. 45) adds that the number of the slain did not even include the victims of the neighboring villages!

—— Happiness.—"Happiness," says Leibnitz, "results from the attainment of any greatly desired or greatly needed object."—"Happiness is health," says Helvetius.—"And luck," adds Diderot.—The harmonious development of our mental and physical faculties: Spurzheim.—Peace with God: Eckart.—Nil admirari: Horace.—Moral freedom: Campanella.—Victory: Simonides.—A cheerful disposition: Pestalozzi.—Self-approval: Fichte.—The enjoyment of