Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/285

This page has been validated.
271
SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE.

the heights about the town northwestward "over a most lovely stretch of river, with hillsides closely besetting it, and with a vegetation of most striking brilliancy and vigor," and of the eye turned southward, losing, in consequence of the different configuration of the ground, "all but the beautiful verdant slopes which still mark out the valley"; of the beholder being able for hours at a time to sit watching the beauty of the landscape; and of the difficulty of recommending to one endowed with a proper appreciation for the works of quiet Nature "a more enjoyable exercise than to take in a bit of this wonderful land of the North, and with it a mellow sunshine that is not to be found elsewhere." These pretty landscape pictures of the arctic summer are followed by accounts of society at the Klondike as the author found it, of the trail, steamboat travel, and the routes to the region; a description of the placers, their occurrence, and the methods of mining; observations on the physical history and geology of the gold fields; and a summary of the laws regulating mining. In the summary of his geological discussion the author expresses the opinion that it seems probable that "the Klondike gold region is merely a fractional part of a discontinuously continuous auriferous tract that extends in a westerly course into the heart of Alaska, and southward into British Columbia."

Mr. Bullen's Idylls of the Sea[1] comprises three groups of essays, each group being marked by distinct characteristics. The sketches in the first group, the designation of which gives the name to the book, answer approximately well to Mr. Strachey's estimation of the whole as "some of the most vivid things ever written about the sea," such as only a man who really knows the sea in all its humors, and "has heard all those multitudinous voices that echo along the waste spaces of the deep," could write. There is something weird about them, and they have the air of mystery and superstitious awe with which, according to tradition, the sailor regards the imperfectly understood features of the sea. They are short stories of curious or striking incidents of sea life. The essays of the second group are real natural-history sketches—accounts of some oceanic birds, the kraken, sharks, the devilfish, etc., by a man who is well and scientifically acquainted with them. The third group includes longer sketches of seafarers' life, rather more actual ones than those of the first group, and papers having a critical bearing on the present conditions of British seamanship.

The constant advance in the knowledge of dietetics makes it desirable that its results should be put in an accessible form, and this is particularly the case in regard to food for those in ill health, to whom it may be the means of restoring the normal condition. In her book on Diet in Illness and Convalescence[2] the author has endeavored to present the substance of Diet for the Sick, now out of print, together with recent thought on the subject, especially in the treatment of typhoid and malarial fevers, which we owe in such variety to the present war. An outline is given for suitable food in the more common forms of disease, suggestions for serving meals tastefully to an invalid, and numerous recipes for beverages, soups, dishes of meats, vegetables, and desserts. Some of these are taken from English and French treatises; others are contributions of American cooks, and include many novel and excellent ideas. From the preparation of koumiss and May wine to the manipulation of Dixie biscuit there is no want of explicitness, and one is tempted to covet the state of convalescence in which he could fare upon such attractive compounds as rose, violet, or amethyst jelly. A word of caution is inserted now and then. We are told "a fritter of any kind should never be mentioned in an invalid's book." Macaroni croquettes and soufflé of shad roe are, however, admissible. The beginning of the volume is devoted by the author to a brief consideration of the constituents of food and processes of digestion, with directions for the use of the pancreatic ferments. There are unfortunately many disputed points concerning a fit dietary


  1. Idylls of the Sea. By Frank T. Bullen. With an Introduction by J. St. Loe Strachey. New York: D. Appleton and Company. Price, $1.25.
  2. Diet in Illness and Convalescence. By Alice Worthington Winthrop. New York: Harper & Brothers. Pp. 286.