Open main menu

Popular Science Monthly/Volume 46/February 1895/Literary Notices


Woman's Share in Primitive Culture. By Otis Tufton Mason. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 295. Price, $1.75.

This is the first volume of an anthropological series under the editorial direction of Prof. Frederick Starr, of the University of Chicago; the works of which, intended to be of popular interest, will be in every case written by authorities who will keep scientific accuracy in the foreground. The present essay sets forth woman's share in the culture of the world by her works, and shows that her achievements have been in the past worthy of honor and imitation and have laid the foundation for arts of which all are now justly proud. The idea is rejected in the very beginning that women are treated with systematic cruelty or are degraded, in any nation, however savage; for "it is not reasonable to suppose that any species or variety of animals would survive in which the helpless maternal half is subjected to outrageous cruelty as a rule," and the taste and skill women show in the arts that fall to their province are against such a supposition. On the other hand, a division of duties generally prevails, which, though it may not accord with the artificial, conventional system of European society, is usually adapted to the circumstances of the tribe, and is not inequitable. In the list of spheres of work, woman is introduced first as the food-bringer, finding supplies in the stores of Nature, taking care of them and preparing them for consumption. In this field she set agoing a multiplicity of industries in prehistoric times, and became of necessity an inventor of experiments, tools, and processes. Next she appears as a weaver, making baskets and the native cloth and mats, and spinning, netting, braiding, sewing, and embroidering, and for each of these tasks having again to find material and to invent and fashion suit able tools. Having to deal with the game killed by the man and to apply all the material to the best use, she becomes a skin-dresser. A bewildering list is given of the animals whose skins native American women knew how to dress; and, "if aught in the heavens above or on the earth beneath, or in the waters, wore a skin, savage women were found on examination to have had a name for it, and to have succeeded in turning it into its primitive use for human clothing, and to have invented new uses undreamed of by its original owner." Here, again, were new tools to be invented. "Women were the first ceramic artisans, and developed all the technique, the forms, and the uses of pottery." In this work and in her textile fabrics woman has had opportunity to develop her faculties as an artist; and examples are given of the patterns that savage women in America have worked out, which for beauty and harmony of design are not more than equaled by the most exquisite specimens of Grecian work in the same lines. American Indian costumes are shown which may be compared with the most picturesque. While there were burden-bearers among the animals before, "the idea of modifying a natural object for the purpose of creating a carrying tool seems first to have occurred to the human female." It is not enough, in speaking of savage women, says the author, "to say that they, as a class, do this or that. It should be also asked how many of these are performed by one woman—in short, by every woman." This thought is introductory to a consideration of the diversity of occupations in which they must be proficient—to a chapter on "The Jack-at-all trades." Woman is further presented as "The Founder of Society," by virtue of her motherhood and what it implies, and as "The Patron of Religion." Finally, "in whatever actions the primitive women excelled—and the number is not small—they surely deserve the apotheosis they have received for their development of the maternal side of life. . . . For the highest ideals in civilization, in humanitarianism, in education, and government, the way was prepared in savagery by mothers and by the female clan groups, and the most commanding positions are at this moment in their possession." The book is good reading, and is abundantly and handsomely illustrated.

Hoofs, Claws, and Antlers of the Rocky Mountains by the Camera. With an Introduction by the Hon. Theodore Roosevelt. Denver, Col.: Frank S. Travis. Pp. 7, with 32 Plates.

This is a book of photographic reproductions from life of wild game—deer, antelope. Rocky Mountain goat, bighorn, puma, bison, bear, etc.—of the Rocky Mountains. Most of the pictures were taken by Mr. and Mrs. A. G. Wallihan, settlers in northwestern Colorado, accomplished sportsmen both, naturalists, and photographers. They were necessarily taken under great disadvantages; for a suitable position had to be secured of animals which would vanish at the least alarm, with favorable light-exposures. It is not wonderful, therefore, that the failures vastly outnumbered the successes. Only successes are given. In order to make the collection of wild animals found in the Rocky Mountains complete, a few photographs taken by others than Mr. and Mrs. Wallihan are used. The text gives sketches of the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Wallihan, by themselves, stories of their adventures among the animals, and incidents of the circumstances under which the several photographs were taken. There is no posing for positions in these pictures; the animals are represented truly as they were found, unwitting that anything was going on, or at the instant when they were startled by the first perception of the novel proceeding. Among them are a buck which has just noticed the photographic apparatus, with his doe still unconscious; a group of deer at the ford on a winter morning; two startled bucks just ready to jump; a doe swimming Bear River; a buck standing alone in his glen; a pair crossing a stream; three alarmed antelopes; herds and groups of antelopes in different attitudes; Rocky Mountain goats on their cliff; elks single and in groups; a puma on the lookout from a tree top, and a puma treed; bighorns startled, a wild cat, and buffalo; bears in the berry patch; beavers at work; sage hens, a wolf in search of breakfast, a jack-rabbit, a prairie-dog colony, listening deer, a rattlesnake coiled to strike, and game pictures. Mr. Roosevelt, who is acquainted with the game, speaks admiringly of the naturalness and accuracy of the attitudes, and believes that the book is "unique and of the utmost value." We think naturalists and artists will agree with him.

Tertiary Rhynchophorous Coleoptera of the United States. By Samuel Hubbard Scudder. Washington: Government Printing Office. Pp. 206, with Twelve Plates.

This work is published as Monograph XXI, of the United States Geological Survey. The author published in 1890 an account of all the Tertiary insects of the country known up to a few years, as far as regarded the lower orders; but the higher orders were nearly untouched. These furnished an immense amount of material, the elaboration of which was begun at once. The present work is a first installment toward a history of our fossil Coleoptera, or beetles, of which one hundred and ninety-three species are treated. Although it can not be supposed that more than a mere fragment of the vast host of insects entombed in the Tertiary rocks has been identified, such a variety and abundance of forms have been discovered as to make it clear that there has been but little important change in the insect fauna of the world since the beginning of the epoch to which they belong. In the earlier Tertiaries we have in profusion representatives of every one of the orders of insects; and every dominant type which exists to-day has been recognized. Even many of the families which have now but a meager representation have been discovered; and though many extinct genera have been recognized, no higher groups, with a single exception or two, have been founded on extinct forms. The parasitic groups are represented, and many of those which in the present time show peculiar modes of life.

Bulletins of the United States Geological Survey. Nos. 97 to 117. Washington: Government Printing Office.

No. 97 is a description of the Mesozoic Echinodermata of the United States, by W. B. Clark; No. 98, an Account of the Flora of the Outlying Carboniferous Basins of South-western Missouri, by David White; No. 99, a Record of North American Geology for 1891, by N. H. Darton; No. 100, a Bibliography and Index of the Publications of the Geological Survey, with the laws governing their printing and distribution, by P. C. Darton; No. 101, Insect Fauna of the Rhode Island Coal Field, by S. H. Scudder; No. 103, a Catalogue and Bibliography of North American Mesozoic Invertebrata, by C. B. Boyle; No. 103, High Temperature Work in Igneous Fusion and Ebullition, chiefly in relation to pressure, by Carl Harus; No. 104, The Glaciation of the Yellowstone Valley north of the Park, by W. H, Weed; No. 105, The Laramie and the overlying Livingston Formation in Montana, with map, by W. H. Weed (with report on Flora, by F. H. Knowlton); No. 106, The Colorado Formation and its Invertebrate Fauna, by T. W. Stanton; No. 107, The Trap Dykes of the Lake Champlain Region, by J. F. Kemp and V. H. Masters; No. 108, A Geological Reconnoissance in Central Washington, by J. C. Russell; No. 109, The Eruptive and Sedimentary Rocks at Pigeon Point, Minn., and their Contact Phenomena, by W. S. Bayley; No. 110, The Palaeozoic Section in the Vicmity of Three Forks, Montana, by G. P. Merrill; No. 111, Geology of the Big Stone Gap Coal Field of Virginia and Kentucky, by M. R. Campbell; No. 112, Earthquakes in California in 1892, by C. D. Perrine; No. 113, Report of Work done in the Division of Chemistry during the Fiscal Years 1891-'92 and 1892-'93, by F. W. Clarke; No. 114, Earthquakes in California in 1893, by C. D. Perrine; No. 115, a Geographic Dictionary of Rhode Island, by Henry Gannett; No. 116, a Geographic Dictionary of Massachusetts, by Henry Gannett; No. 117, a Geographic Dictionary of Connecticut, by Henry Gannett.

A History or the United States for Schools. By John Fiske, Litt. D., LL. D. With Topical Analysis, Suggestive Questions, and Directions for Teachers, by Frank Alpine Hill, Litt. D. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Pp. xxi  +  474. Price, $1 net.

It has been said that children's text-books should be written by the best authors, and the wisdom of the remark is evident from an examination of this treatise from the pen of the thoroughly equipped and facile author and lecturer, John Fiske. Prof. Fiske tells the story of America, from the voyages of the Norsemen down to the events of 1893, with such vividness that the pupil is not likely to neglect his history lesson (unless to read ahead), and with such regard for logical connection that he can not fail to gain from it a comprehensive view of the march of events. Indeed, the chief interest of this book from the scientific standpoint is that historical events are arranged in it so as to link them in natural sequence and to aid in teaching the great lesson that every effect has its cause and every cause must produce an effect. The illustrations are a striking and valuable feature of the book. Portraits are especially numerous; they include the bewigged and beruffled worthies of exploration and colonization times, British and American generals of the Revolution, our Presidents and other statesmen from Washington down, Union and Confederate commanders of the civil war, and the chief American authors and inventors. There are also views of ancient buildings, reproductions of ancient maps, and a variety of other illustrations showing objects of historic interest. The growth of the territory of the United States is shown in a number of small maps. Among the materials for reference appended to the volume are the Constitution of the United States, classified tables of the States, lists of books on the history of the several States and on successive epochs, a pronouncing vocabulary, and a note on the calendar. The first chapter of the book is an account of Indian life in America at the time of the discovery.

Biological Lectures and Addresses. By the late Arthur Milnes Marshall, D.Sc, F.R.S. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 363. Price, $2.

There are some scientific books that are dry and technical but have attractive titles, and others with technical titles that are eminently readable: this belongs in the latter class. The thirteen lectures and addresses of which it is made up comprise several delivered by Prof. Marshall as President of the Manchester Microscopical Society, others delivered before students' societies in Owens College and other organizations. Among the topics treated are the influence of environment on the structure and habits of animals, the theory of change of function, butterflies, inheritance, the shapes and sizes of animals, animal pedigrees, and death. Taken together they afford a general view of the recent progress of science in the field of biology. In all the addresses the language used can be comprehended readily, and the ideas presented can be grasped easily by every ordinarily well-read person.

General Lee. By Fitzhugh Lee. Great Commanders Series, edited by General James Grant Wilson. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 433. Price, $1.50.

Much aid in comprehending the course of events in the civil war, and especially in appreciating the reasons for the various movements on the Confederate side, is afforded by this extended history of Robert E. Lee's military career. But two chapters are given to the first fifty-four years of his life, more than half of which was passed in engineering and cavalry service in the army of the United States. Lee resigned his commission as lieutenant colonel April 20, 1861, and was immediately appointed major general and commander in chief of the State troops of Virginia. His relative and biographer expresses the regret of all students of American history that General Lee never wrote anything concerning his career and campaigns, for an account from his point of view would have settled very many conflicting opinions. He intended to write, not his personal memoirs, but a record of the deeds of his soldiers. He waited for a "convenient season," but as he lived only five years after the close of the war such a time never came. In this volume some of his testimony upon the great events in which he took such a prominent part is furnished by inserting extracts from his private letters, now first published. These letters, also, with others of the period before the war, show what manner of man he was, and nowhere now will it be denied that his character was one to be admired.

Lee was in Richmond hard at work organizing the Confederate forces when the first battle of Bull Run was fought. His own first campaign took place in what is now West Virginia, and was not successful. He was then sent south to apply his engineering skill in improving the defenses of Charleston and Savannah. It was on March 13, 1862, that President Davis appointed him commander of all the forces of the Confederacy. The battles on the Chickahominy in the latter part of June were fought under his orders. From that time to the end of the war most of the hard fighting took place between the northern and the southern capitals, where Lee was actively engaged. Here occurred the battles of Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville, and then Lee made his masterly advance that was checked at Gettysburg. After this he operated mainly on the defensive until the great surrender at Appomattox. Lee's phrase in his farewell to his soldiers—"The Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources" was no farfetched excuse for defeat. While this volume does not aim to provide data for a comparison of Lee's tactics with those of the successive commanders opposed to him, it does show that lack of food, clothing, and munitions of war had a large share in conquering his army. It was an expedition to acquire shoes that precipitated the contest at Gettysburg, and the verdict of a young Irishman, who served on Fitz Lee's staff, concerning the Confederates was, "I never saw men fight better, but they don't ate enough!"

After the war many honorable and lucrative positions were offered to General Lee, but he chose to accept the presidency of Washington College, on a salary of fifteen hundred dollars. In this position he died, and the name of the college was changed to Washington and Lee University in his honor.

A steel portrait by Hall is the frontispiece of this volume; there are also several maps and a notably good index.

Popular Astronomy. A General Description of the Heavens. By Camille Flammarion. Translated from the French by J. Ellard Gore. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 685. Price, $4.50.

This work, the author says, is written for those who wish to have an account of the things which surround them, and who would like to acquire, without hard work, an elementary and exact idea of the present condition of the universe. M. Flaramarion is one of that race of brilliant writers on scientific subjects which France has developed within the past few years, who, endowed with great powers of the imagination and possessed of admirable gifts of style, have the faculty of presenting the truths of their special branches in the most vivid and picturesque language. He is not addicted to the faults, with which some of his school are chargeable, of indulging in exaggeration, and of seeking effect ac the expense of exactness. While he falls below none of them in vigor of description and power of interest, he is true to science, and not inaccurate. The present work has had a circulation at home probably unequaled among scientific books, and has received a distinguished reward of merit from the French Academy of Sciences; besides which the author has been given various other honors. The present edition of the Popular Astronomy has been translated, with the author's sanction, by J. Ellard Gore, author of other popular astronomical works, who has also edited it so as to incorporate the results of the discoveries that have been made since the French edition went to press, and has reduced the figures given by the author to English measures. M. Flammarion begins his picture with a presentation of the earth as a body in the sky, and as that one whose position and motions controlled the ideas of the ancients respecting the universe, which, in the ignorance then existing of the relation of the earth to the other bodies, were infected with many errors; and he describes the slow process by which these errors were corrected. The question. How was the earth formed? suggests an outline of the nebular hypothesis, which is given. From this planet the reader is taken to the moon, the nearest body to it, of which are given its astronomical elements and a physical description; then to the planets, in the order of their distances from the sun, with consideration of their apparent and real motions. In connection with the account of Uranus—besides our being told the mortifying fact that the existence of the earth and all its great men and great enterprises is and must always remain unknown to the people thereof—a discussion of the question of life in other worlds is given, with the conclusion that though the conditions in them are not compatible with the life of such beings as we know, we have no right to deny that there may be other beings adapted to those conditions. The discussion is continued in the chapter on Neptune, where the author declares that such a thing as a sterile and uninhabited desert world is contrary to the acts and views of Nature as we know her. The nature and orbits of comets are discussed. Are they really composed of carbon—diamonds of the sky? "Their importance would be much greater still if they should be found to carry in them the first combinations of carbon, for it is probable that it was by, these combinations that vegetable and animal life commenced on the earth and the other planets, and thus these vagrant bodies might be the sources of life on all the worlds." From another point of view the author gives reasons for supposing that comets' tails—considering the immense velocities at which they are carried, forty thousand miles a second in the perihelion of the comet of 1843—may be not substantial, but merely representative of a state of ether set in a particular undulating motion by the influence of the comet. The origin of comets may be various—from solar or planetary explosions; from explosions in distant stars, or from the scattered matter in space—any or all of these. Meteoric stones, meteoric showers, and cosmic dust are considered, and an equal variety of possible origins is supposed for them. The sidereal system comes next under review, in the several categories of the constellations, the positions of the stars in the sky, their magnitude or brightness, the measurement of celestial distances, the light of the stars, changes observed in the heavens, double, multiple, and colored stars, the proper motions of the stars, and the structure of the visible universe. A hopeless effort is made to convey a conception of the magnitude of the universe. We might sail forever through it with the velocity of light, and still be only at the beginning of our journey. The last chapter gives a simple lesson in home astronomy—a fitting introduction to Mr. Serviss's Astronomy with an Opera-Glass.

The Life and Inventions of Thomas Alva Edison. By W. K. L. Dickson and Antonia Dickson. New York: Thomas G. Crowell & Co. Pp. 362. Price, $4.50.

This biography, the authors claim, has been prepared "under unique facilities for procuring fullness and accuracy of fact, and thence for creating a living and sympathetic picture of the man. The materials have been obtained from the observations of a close business and friendly association of the authors with their subject for a period of thirteen years, and from the verbal and written data which Mr. Edison has most freely and kindly supplied. To this should be added manuscripts from the leading members of the Edison staff and the inventor's private files of periodicals, covering over thirty years, and embracing the best work of American and transatlantic journalism." Having made careful and discriminating use of this material, the authors believe they have given the first full, accurate, and, to Edison, satisfactory life of the inventor. Besides the matter conventionally appropriate to a biography and the accounts of Edison's numerous and valuable inventions, the book abounds in anecdotes, lively sketches, dramatic passages, and little incidents illustrating the vicissitudes of the subject's career, his peculiar turns of mind, his skill in adaptation and manipulation of already existing mechanism to give effect to his new ideas, and the ever-consistent bent of his genius. The account of his work with the electric light is varied with the descriptions of the journeys of his agents in South America and Asia in search of the best fiber for lamps, occupying two chapters. There are given us here the stories and descriptions of Edison's many experiments and improvements in telegraphy, his vote-recorder, his phonograph and allied instruments, his work in electric railroading, the kinetoscope, and the other applications. The laboratories at Menlo Park and Orange, and the various shops, are noticed in such a way as to give a current view of the development of the electric industry from its modest and doubtful beginnings to its present triumphant prosperity. The tone of the biography is one of enthusiastic admiration, and the book is profusely illustrated.

Defective Speech and Deafness. By Lillie Eginton Warren. New York: Edgar S. Werner, 108 East 16th St. Pp. 116.

This book is written primarily with reference to children, especially in schools, who have a deficient sense of hearing, but whose teachers and even their parents may not be aware of the fact. "Yet the deafness may be serious enough to interfere with progress in their studies. Such children are frequently considered dull and inattentive pupils. Many suffer from catarrhal affections and thereby present a variability of hearing, which makes them appear to better advantage on some days than on others. Thus they add to the teachers difficulty in distinguishing them from the willfully disobedient. If one ear is defective and the other not, there will be times when the child hears well, and soon after, having turned his head, he fails to understand and becomes indifferent." The number of children troubled with defects in hearing has been found much larger in the schools of several different countries than any one at first thought would be likely to suppose; and the census returns give surprising accounts of the number of totally deaf persons, it being about 300,000 in the United States. There are further those who are somewhat deaf in one ear, those who are obliged to take a forward seat in the church and the public hall, and those who are conscious of a gradual failing of the hearing sense; also children and adults who receive sounds slowly because they lack quick perception, and persons who fail to distinguish particular shades of sound. With these affections the author couples defects of speech, such as stammering, stuttering, lisping, mumbling, and mouthing, as mostly originating in some organic fault. The object of her little book is to show that fluent speech may be obtained and understood by all who suffer from the different phases of deafness and the different degrees of imperfect utterance. In it she considers the cases of the Deaf Mute and the Stammerer; the Very Young Deaf Child; Signs, Finger-spelling, and Speech; Teaching the Dumb to Speak; the Child suddenly Deaf and the Child growing Deaf slowly; the improvement and development of hearing; How the Hard-of-hearing Adult may enjoy Conversation; Dull Pupils; Invented or "Pathological" Language, Lisping, Careless Speech, Stuttering, Stammering, and Cleft Palates. The author has a full understanding of her subject, presents it in a clear and earnest way, and urges the need for its more careful consideration by parents, and educators generally.

Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission, Vol. XII for 1892. Marshall McDonald, Commissioner. Washington: Government Printing Office. Pp. 478, with One Hundred and Eighteen Plates.

The bulletins are issued under a joint resolution of Congress authorizing the publication, from time to time, for distribution in parts and collection in annual volumes not exceeding five hundred pages each, of any matter furnished by the Fish Commission, relative to new observations, discoveries, and applications connected with fish culture and the fisheries. The present volume contains a bibliography of the salmon of Alaska and adjacent regions, and a life history of the salmon, by Tarleton H. Bean; a paper on the viviparous fishes of the Pacific Coast of North America, by C. H. Eigenman; an account of the fishes of Texas and the Rio Grande Basin, considered chiefly with reference to their geographical distribution, by B. W. Evermann and W. C. Kendall; a report on the salmon fisheries of Alaska, by Marshall McDonald; a summary of the fishery investigations of the Albatross, 1882-'92, by Richard Rathbun; a report on the fyke net fisheries of the United States, and Notes on Fishes of the Northern Coast of New Jersey, by H. M. Smith; an account of the oyster industry of Maryland, by C. H. Stevenson; and two or three papers of more special interest.

Aërial Navigation. By J. G. W. Fijnje van Salverda. Translated from the Dutch by George E. Waring, Jr. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 209. Price, $1.25

There seems to be good reason for believing that the next great triumph of science will be in the field of aerial navigation. The number and ability of the investigators who are now at work upon this subject, the encouraging results and the widespread interest that their efforts have secured, furnish substantial ground for this belief. After a historical introduction and a discussion of the military importance of aerial navigation, Mr. Fijnje considers the obstacles in the way of navigating balloons, stating the practical results already reached. He then passes to the flight of birds, from the several varieties of which——rowing, hovering, and sailing—the principles of flying machines proper are derived. Three kinds of machines of the "heavier than air" class are described in a brief chapter. Although MM. Renard and Krebs in 1885 succeeded in driving an elongated balloon at the rate of fourteen miles an hour, the author is convinced that balloons must give place to flying machines. Among his conclusions concerning the latter are that a flying machine must be supported by a large and strong aëroplane, which must not be utilized to give forward motion. There must be an independent motor, working continuously, and operating through propelling screws or other device. Some later matter published by the author separately from the foregoing gives the results of investigations by Prof. S. P. Langley, of the Smithsonian Institution, and by Hiram S. Maxim, the English inventor. Colonel Waring has supplemented bis translation of Fijnje's book with abstracts of two still later announcements of results by Prof. Langley, and some extracts and illustrations from a study of a practical air ship contributed by Mr. John P. Holland to Cassier's Magazine. The reader may obtain from this volume an understanding of the problems that have to be solved before the air can be navigated, and a knowledge of lines along which these problems are being approached.

A Bird-lover in the West. By Olive Thorne Miller. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Pp. 278. Price, $1.25.

Of old the poet Horace warned us that "black Care sits behind the horseman and does not withdraw from the ship," but Mrs. Miller assures us that the way to truly recreate is to leave our hurries and worries behind us and seek some unfamiliar spot where we may commune with Nature. Even with her explicit directions this may not be easily accomplished. Her example is, however, of more practical value than her advice.

It is not the going away, nor change of scene, nor yet strength of will, that dismisses the dark follower, but the substitution of a greater interest for our own petty concerns. If we can not journey to Cheyenne Mountain, there are new worlds to be discovered about us, and this book shows such loving study of bird life that some may be tempted to begin it at home.

Wherever the author finds herself—at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, beside Great Salt Lake, or in "the middle country"—her first inquiries are for her winged neighbors. In the forest and in the cañon she spends days observing the manners and habits of the wren, chat, or blue jay. Incidentally she notes that poets take too much license with the traits of her feathered friends. "The voiceless swallow," "forgetful thrush," and "mourning dove" are base misnomers. The coo of the dove "has a rich, far-off sound. . . . expressing a happiness beyond words," and not one of the swallow tribe can be called mute.

In the arid country the author comes upon a housewife who cooks outdoors. The stove is under an oak tree, while the pots and pans hang outside the house. This is so nearly akin to the ways of the winged fraternity that place is given to a regret that the woman is not a bird to be studied!

In spite of her zeal for bird acquaintance, the flowers do not go unobserved; two chapters are devoted to their changing glories in the wild garden of Colorado. Not only do these surpass the eastern flora in size, color, and fragrance, but also in abundance and variety. In one locality a hundred differing kinds are found in a month, and of these only half a dozen are recognized as old friends.

Altogether, a most inviting field, according to the author, awaits the naturalist in the west.

The Friendship of Nature. By Mabel Osgood Wright. New York and London: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 238. Price, 75 cents.

This little volume depicts a series of New England landscapes. They are rendered with words instead of colors, but an artist would have little difficulty in reproducing them by any medium he might choose. Foreground, background, sky, atmosphere, and foliage are delineated by the faithful eye that neglects no detail.

With the scenic descriptions are given bits of botany, ornithology, and philosophy, quaint legend, and flower lore.

Although employing a prose form, the author delights in rhythmical expression, and many sentences are as easily scanned as the following: "Down from the village runs the dusty road"; "The flush of morning comes upon the sea." Figures are lavishly scattered about; some of these are fresh and effective. Mushrooms are pictured as the gypsy race of plant-land that rears its fungus encampment. Occasionally this love of imagery betrays the author; she writes in regard to the blue gentian: "One dreams that the sky, once molting, dropped its soft-edged feathers on the grass, and earth twined them into flowers." The vision of the vaultless blue shaped like some huge fowl shedding its feathers is too incongruous to be entertained, and we dismiss it to the company of that distressing simile, "And like a lobster boiled, the morn from black to red began to turn."

The author holds that if all were scientists the world would be badly off; spirit would be dried out by system. This is the time-worn libel upon science—science, that breathes a soul into rocks, reads the romance of flower shapes, and gets color and fragrance from a lump of coal!

Even though repudiated, science has informed much of the book with beauty, and it may be commended to country lovers as a dainty calendar of the seasons.


Alexander Winchell's Walks and Talks in the Geological Field has been adopted by the Chautauqua Circle as one of its textbooks, and a special edition of the book has been made for this purpose (Flood, $1) It has been revised and edited by Prof. Frederick Starr, of the University of Chicago who has aimed to retain all the geological material of the original edition, and in the author's own words. Marginal comment has been introduced as a convenience to the reader, and a few footnotes have been added. The editor speaks of this book as intended by its author to hold a position between text books and books of light reading. It is written in an easy, conversational style, and is free from unnecessary technicalities. Although its forty-nine chapters have independent and picturesque titles, their scope and arrangment is such that the editor is able to group them under these general heads: surface geology, strata, igneous agencies, economic geology, fossils, beginnings of the earth, and history of life and the growth of the continent. A number of illustrations have been introduced.

A very handsome book is Cheiro's Language of the Hand (the author, 432 Fifth Avenue, New York, $2). It is in square octavo form, with many illustrations, and is printed with large type and wide margins. It begins with a defense, which is followed by definitions of the square, conic, and various other shapes of hands, definitions of various kinds of fingers, of the "mounts" of the hand, etc. Then follow the meanings that the author assigns to the lines, stars, and other markings on the hand. There are a number of plates at the end, showing impressions of the hands of celebrated persons, and an appendix of testimonials from persons who have had their fortunes told by the author.

The first volume of The Tannins, issued three or four years ago by Prof. Henry Trimble, has now been followed by a second (Lippincott, $2). It is devoted to the results of investigation by the author on the astringent principles from nine species of oaks and one species each of mangrove, canaigre, and chestnut. The oak barks include a species from England and one from India. A bibliography is appended, which, with that in Volume I, makes up a total of nearly one thousand titles. There are thirty-three illustrations, showing leaves, acorns, and apparatus.

The First Lessons in Reading of Elizabeth H. Fundenberg (American Book Company, 25 cents) is based on the principle that the first teaching should connect the words already known to the ear with their written or printed forms, leaving the letters and the sounds they represent to a future step. Accordingly, the sentence or word method has been adopted, to give way to the phonic-word method when the child has become familiar with the printed and written forms of a considerable number of the words which are in his oral vocabulary. The Teachers' Edition (50 cents) comprises a manual in which each lesson is developed, together with outlines for slate and board work; also full instructions on phonetics and rules for pronunciation and spelling.

A second edition of Introductory Lessons in English Grammar, by the same author, is also published by the American Book Company. This is designed for intermediate grades, and will serve better when used to supplement the preceding than if offered by itself as a first course in grammar. Although well arranged, clear, and complete, it savors enough of technicality to arouse perhaps that unreasoning distaste for grammatical study which it is better the young student should never possess.

The Conversational Method in French of M. J. Victor Plotton is the fruit of an experience of many years, and is a system in which successful results have been obtained by those who have used it. Its aim is to teach speaking rather than reading, and it proceeds by carefully graduated lessons to take the pupil along unconsciously, as it were, to him, till he is expected to express himself easily in the language. The present volume is a second part, being preceded by one of a more elementary character. The lessons are arranged each to illustrate some special grammatical form, and include a passage to be read, analyzed, and questioned upon, with exercises in adapting various words to the form; and, further along, extracts from French classical authors. (Halifax, Nova Scotia, $1.)

The Daughter of the Nez Percés is a story of Indian life strictly founded on fact, by Arthur Paterson. Without desiring to take,ides in the questions concerning the troubles in which the Nez Percés have been involved, the author's object has been to describe with what vividness he could certain scenes in the life of a chief—Joseph, still living—"who, whether right or wrong, is unquestionably one of the most remarkable men his race has ever produced." Liberties are taken with the details of Joseph's family life and some incidents not historical are admitted, but, in the main, the true course of events has been followed. Mr. Paterson's endeavor has been to present Joseph as the man he was, and not as a mere ideal of what he should have been. We have found the story very interesting. (Published by George Gottsberger Peck, New York.)

The Epitome magazine (Washington, J. B. Lockwood, manager; M. Sewell Roy, editor; monthly, $2 a year) is the outgi-owth of the literary club life of Washington, and is expected to perpetuate the best of the essays read at the meetings. It is, however, something else than' simply a club magazine, and opens its columns to discussions on all subjects of general interest. The articles in the number before us are varied, fresh, and interesting.

An excellent manual for primary schools is the First Book in English, by W. H. Maxwell. The method is inductive, the lessons short and novel in character. By observation and comparison of models the pupil learns to recognize and construct the simple sentence. Later he is taught in the same manner to identify the principal parts of speech. Practice is given in drawing and dictation as well as in composition, and with the varied drill afforded there seems no reason why a child should not easily acquire a thorough knowledge of elementary grammar and writing in even less time than the specified three years which allows for very deliberate work in a volume of 172 pages.

The New Science Review is the name of a quarterly periodical undertaken by the Transatlantic Publishing Company, Philadelphia, as a miscellany of modern thought and discovery. In outer appearance it is all that could be asked. In its "announcement" it declares that it will differ from all the scientific periodicals, not attempting to supersede the older and more conservative periodicals, but to supplement them, addressing itself not to specialists but to the public at large, presenting matter of scientific value in popular style; not assuming that the reader has an esoteric acquaintance with the matter in hand, but giving him a preliminary acquaintance with it, explaining before it demonstrates. The first number starts off with an effort of Major-General A. W. Drayson to solve the mystery of the ice age, in which he presents his theory of a second revolution of the pole under the operation of a displacement of the earth's center of gravity, under which the polar circles may be periodically brought down as low as 54º of latitude. The Problem of the Pole—that is, the present status of the attempt to reach it—is lucidly set forth by Charles Morris. Mrs. Bloomfield Moore is allowed to describe the propeller of the Keely air ship, and to glorify its projector in an article entitled The Newton of the Mind; Julian Hawthorne in another article tells how great a man Mr. Keely is; and a long and laudatory notice is given in the second number of the review of Mrs. Moore's book on Keely and his discoveries. Among other articles in the two numbers that deserve or will attract attention are Major Ricarde leaver's Diamonds and Gold—a description of the South African mines; Lieutenant Patten's account of the eminent electrician, Nikola Tesla, and his works; a summary of Prof. Dewar's lecture on Fluorescence and Phosphorescence; the presentation by W. G. Jordan of "Mental Training—a Remedy for Education;" the Rev. John Andrews's description of the pendulograph and its curious work; symposiumlike discussions of the causes of success of certain works of fiction, the nature of electricity, and What is Science? a summary of Charles Barnard's American Association paper on The Battles of Science; and a number of selected articles. A summary of current scientific discussion is contributed to each number by Prof. Angelo Heilprin.

The second part of the text-book on Plane Trigonometry, by S. L. Loney, deals with analytical trigonometry (Macmillan, $1). Among the topics treated in this part are exponential and logarithmic series, various operations with complex quantities, Gregory's series, and the principle of proportional parts. A list of the principal formulae in trigonometry is prefixed to the volume, and the answers to problems are given at the end.

A treatise on Amphioxus and the Ancestry of the Vertebrates, by Arthur Willey, B. Sc, has been issued as the second volume of the Columbia University Biological Series (Macmillan, $2.50 net). The editor of the series, Prof. Henry F. Osborn, says in the preface that he suggested the course of lectures in which this volume originated, and deems it important that the author should bring within the reach of students and of specialists among other groups his extensive observations upon Amphioxus and other remote ancestors of the vertebrates, as well as the general literature upon this group.

The year ending with September, 1893, is covered by the Eighteenth Year-Book of the New York State Reformatory. The book contains the reports of the board of managers, the superintendent, Z. R. Brockway, the technological and military instructors, the superintendent of schools, and the physician. Instruction in thirty-four trades was imparted during the year to a total of eighteen hundred and four inmates. The trades range in character from such laborious occupations as bricklaying, iron-forging, and stone-cutting to such light and intellectual work as frescoing, music, photography, stenography, and typewriting. The year-book itself is a very creditable exhibit of the work of inmates in type-setting, illustrating, and binding. In the schools the instruction ranges from the elements of reading and arithmetic given to illiterates up to lectures in history, science, ethics, political economy, etc. For military drill the inmates constitute a regiment of sixteen companies, with a band. Appended to the reports are a chapter on dietary, one of anthropological observations with illustrations, and an account of innovations made during the year. The board of managers state that much misrepresentation of the system of the institution was made "by a sensational newspaper," and the superintendent reports that his plans for progress were much retarded by a diversion of time and attention to the investigation which followed this attack.

David T. Day's Tenth Annual Report of the Mineral Resources of the United States presents a statement of the mineral products during the calendar year 1893, the industrial conditions affecting those products, and the recent additions to the knowledge of the mineral deposits in this country. Its scope is thus similar to that of the preceding volumes, with the addition of more than the usual references to the condition of mineral industries in foreign countries. It appears from it that the total value of our mineral products in 1893 was the smallest since 1889. It represented $609,821,670, compared with $688,616,954 in 1892—a decline of 11·44 per cent. The decline in value was most conspicuous in pig iron and structural materials, but many other minerals also declined in the amount and the value of the product, the exceptions being gold, anthracite coal, aluminum, phosphate rock, and gypsum. A few other products increased in quantity but declined in value.

The thirty-fifth volume of Annals of the Astronomical Observatory of Harvard College contains the first part of the Journal of Observations made by Prof. William A. Rogers, at the observatory, to determine the places of stars in the zone between the limits of north declination 49º 50' and 55º 10'. The catalogue resulting from these observations has already been published in the fifteenth volume of the Annals, and the discussion of proper motions derived from the work forms the twenty-fifth volume of the same series.

The report of the Observations made at the Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory, Massachusetts, in 1893, mentions as among the investigations that were carried on during the year the comparisons by Mr. S. P. Fergusson of anemometers of different types, and Mr. H. Helm Clayton's studies of the upper air around cyclones and anticyclones, as shown by cloud observations. Curious wavelike oscillations of the barograph records at this and other stations are discussed by Mr. Clayton in the report. Connected with the observatory are a base station four hundred and forty feet below it, and a valley station six hundred feet below it. The whole of the Blue Hill has been taken by the State as a public reservation; but it is not supposed that the operations of the observatory will be interfered with by the act.

The Celestial Writing, or the Normal Script Phonetic Writing by W. H. Barlow, is an abbreviated script phonetic mode of writing the English language, founded on a modified form of the consonant alphabet of Gabelsberger. It is introduced as a laborsaving device for the penman, and is derived from our common handwriting, from which the extraneous superfluities are cut off. Thus M is written with one stroke instead of three, and so on. It is claimed that the art of writing it can be acquired by a person of ordinary capacity within a week.