Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/251

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239
LITERARY NOTICES.

may print an author's work, by paying him a small percentage, to be determined by the politicians. That department of Government in England which is specially charged with the administration of copyrights is the Board of Trade, and its secretary, Mr. T. H. Farrer, was a member of the commission, and came forward as the chief champion of the royalty scheme. lie took the ground that the existing copyright is a monopoly which it is for the interest of society to destroy, and that the royalty system is called for by the principles of free trade. His main coadjutors in managing the case were Sir Henry Drummond Wolff and Sir Louis Mallet, whose position on the subject of copyright was commented upon in the September Monthly. It is a credit to the authorities by whom the commission was constituted, that it was made so broad as to bring out the opponents of copyright in all their strength, and give them every chance to make the best case possible; and that their report embodied sound and conservative recommendations is no doubt largely owing to the ability of such testimony as that herewith published from Prof. Huxley. We shall next month give the interesting evidence of Herbert Spencer before the commission.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

All around the House; or, How to make Homes happy. By Mrs. H. W. Beecher. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 461. Price, $1.50.

Mrs. Beecher's new book, as its title happily imports, is devoted to the general interests of the household, and not to any one of its specialties. It is a result of the writer's observation and experience, which have been very considerable, and it may be said to correspond to those important books put forth by physicians of large opportunities under the title of "Practice;" so that, as we have Fergusson's "Practice of Surgery," we may bo also said to have Mrs. Beecher's "Domestic Practice." She speaks as a working housekeeper who has had varied trial in the administration of home affairs, and her book is full of useful instruction and wise common-sense, which cannot fail to be valuable to those of her sex who are entering upon the duties and responsibilities of family management, and who have any solicitude about doing their work well. We are glad to see that Mrs. Beecher is thoroughly imbued with the true spirit of her subject. She has an elevated ideal of what a home should be; she understands that it cannot be realized without effort, capacity, and preparation, and keenly realizes how little there is done in any thorough or comprehensive way to qualify woman for intelligent or efficient activity in the domestic sphere.

It is certainly a painful reflection that of all the vocations which human beings pursue, in these times of abounding education, none are entered upon so lightly, so carelessly, and with such an utter absence of all adequate qualification, as that of housekeeping, or, as Mrs. Beecher significantly puts it, of "home-making;" while, of all the sources of human misery, there is none that yields a more copious measure of wretchedness than the incapacity of woman to take judicious and intelligent charge of household affairs. Everything else must be prepared for, but "home-making" is thought to need no serious preparation. Yet the interests involved are to the last degree varied, complex, and delicate, requiring knowledge, tact, judgment, patience, in fact the highest accomplishments of character. The interests of the office, the counting-house, the school, are simplicity itself compared with those of the household, where diet, clothing, health, the management of children, the control of servants, the duties of hospitality, and the direction of many stubborn elements, demand intellectual and moral attributes of the highest order on the part of the heads of the house, and in a sphere which mainly belongs to woman. And yet this is the one and almost the only department of our social activity for which no preliminary training is provided in any systematic way. The doctor, the lawyer, the clergyman, the miner, the farmer, and even