Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/727

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

pared. Some simple and easily followed rules for observation are given. With these, the opera-glass, and his own good sense, the young observer is introduced by the aid of the pleasing descriptions to some seventy species. To these are added a table, which the author calls "pigeon-holes," for the classification of the birds, synopses of general family characteristics and of arbitrary classifications, and a list of books for reference.

"Up and Down the Brooks" is the story told in a similar spirit of the insect life in and upon the water. The specimens serving as types were collected in the brooks of one of the counties of California; but the author judges rightly that members of the same familles may be found by almost any brook East or West, and that her accounts will serve for all. These insects are such as every one sees dancing upon the water, swimming in it, or flying above it; but few have any real acquaintance with their nature, mode of growth, habits of life, or affiliations. To those who wish to know about them, this little series of sketches will be convenient and instructive as well as entertaining.

Days out of Doors. By Charles C. Abbott. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 323. Price, $1.50.

A book about Nature by Dr. Abbott by this time needs no special introduction to the readers of the "Monthly." They have all had a taste of the author's quality as an observer and describer of outdoor life, and know that he is capable of transmitting to any others who will listen to him or read him the variety and enjoyment that he finds there. As the

"ragged cliff
Has thousand faces in a thousand hours,"

Dr. Abbott finds the same to be "true of the tamest pasture, where not even the clover and buttercups of one side are the twins of the buttercups and clover of the other"; and where through the succeeding changes of the year objects of interest "never repeat themselves, or else I am daily a new creature. Nor sight nor sound but has the freshness of novelty, and one rambler, at least, in his maturer years is still a boy at heart." These changes by the month and season enter into the plan of the present book, which presents a kind of naturalist's calendar or diary of the months. The birds figure as the principal characters, though other objects of life are not unregarded, and the story of their coming and going, or sometimes staying, their working, sporting, cooing, nest-breeding, and initiation into the experiences of life, is recorded consecutively from January through the winter, spring, summer, and autumn months, till December closes the cycle and ends at the time when a new series is to begin. Other people find novelties and things of ever refreshing interest abroad. Dr. Abbott does not deny them the-pleasure, for he can do and has done the same; but he can find, too, all that is needed to make life worth living on the banks of his unpretending creek and modest river to which it is ever his pleasure to return. Therefore he holds "that one need not mope because he has to stay at home. Trees grow here as suggestively as in California, and the water of our river is very wet. Remember, too, if trees are not tall enough to suit your whim, to lie down beneath the branches of every one of them, and, as you look up, the topmost twig pierces the sky. There is not an oak but will become a gigantic Sequoia in this way. One need learn no magic to bring the antipodes home to him." This is, perhaps, the principal lesson taught in the book, and it is made extremely palatable by the spice of familiar illustration, incident, adventure, personal delineations, old lore of history and tradition, and pictures of the brook and fields and their incessantly changing life.

Physical Realism. By Thomas Case, M. A. London and New York: Longmans, Green & Co. One vol. 8vo. Pp. 387. Price, $5.

This is an able and scholarly work, well worthy the attention of those familiar with the course of philosophical thought and fond of philosophical discussion. The argument of the author is that we sensibly perceive an internal but physical world—physical objects of sense in the internal nervous system—from which we infer an external and physical world. This is "physical realism." It is opposed to intuitive or natural realism, which declares that we directly perceive an external physical world; and to cosmothetic idealism, which concludes that we are sen-