Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/774

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

me to revert to this question, but they must be very strong. I would only warn my readers against the assumption that, if I do not reply to further attack, I am unable to reply to it. The present rejoinder furnishes sufficient proof of the doubtfulness of such a conclusion. There is one darkly-expressed passage in the "Life of Principal Forbes" which may cover something requiring notice. "We are informed that he preserved and carefully docketed all letters written to him, and that he retained copies of all his own. It is with regard to this correspondence that his biographer writes thus:" Many extracts, and even entire letters, may be selected which are free from controversy, yet in general these would give but an imperfect notion of the import of the whole. Others again cannot be published at present, because the writers supply him with details of that mysterious wire-pulling which seems to be inseparable from every transaction involving honors (scientific, in common with all others, it is humiliating to confess). The value of this unique series is, however, so great, and its preservation so complete, that it is to be hoped it may be safely deposited (under seal) in the care of some scientific society or institution, to be opened only when all the actors have passed from the scene."

These undignified allusions to "wire-pulling" are perfectly dark tome; but if the letter addressed to Mr. Wills may be taken as a specimen of the entire "series," here referred to, then I agree with the biographer in pronouncing it "unique." Would it not, however, be a manlier course, and a fairer one to those who, writing without arrière-pensée retain no copies of what they write, to let them know, while they are here to take care of themselves, how their reputations are affected by these letters of Principal Forbes? For my own personal part I am prepared to challenge the production of this correspondence now.—Contemporary Review.

 
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THE MOON.[1]

OUR satellite holds a somewhat anomalous position in the literature of astronomy. The most beautiful object in the heavens, the orb which telescopists study under the most favorable conditions, and the planet—for a planet she is—which has afforded the most important information respecting the economy of the universe, she nevertheless has not received that attention from descriptive writers which she really merits. The cause is, perhaps, not far to seek. The beauty of the moon can scarcely be described in words, and cannot be pict-

  1. "The Moon: her Motions, Aspect, Scenery, and Physical Condition." By Richard A. Proctor, B. A., Cambridge (England), Honorary Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society of London: author of the "Sun," "Saturn," "Other Worlds," etc. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Price, $4.50.