Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/43

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33
THE CONVICT-ISLAND OF BRAZIL.

sources, and the skill of many hands and brains has united to bring them into suitable community. The functions of artist and artisan have been fulfilled. Now they give place to the office of the critic.

The result of this co-operative labor is much more than mere decoration. It is a work of art whose capacity for deep and beautiful expression we are only beginning to realize. Standing before such a picture-window, one feels anew the spiritual element in all beauty. The thought that has fastened itself to a sunbeam seems singularly alive and pervasive.

To one who is familiar only with the chromatic efforts of the "glass sinners" this praise may seem extravagant; but, as we love painting in spite of some pretty poor chromos, and statuary in the face of popular domestic groups turned out by the gross, so is it possible to warmly admire the window of real merit while we deplore its unhappy imitator. At its best one can imagine few objects more beautiful. The varying light and the purity of color in art work of this character are a source of lively pleasure. They appeal to a sentiment which, when present at all, is apt to be a dominant one. Those who entertain it turn away regretfully from so beautiful and so luminous a picture.


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THE CONVICT-ISLAND OF BRAZIL — FERNANDO DE NORONHA

By JOHN C. BRANNER, Ph.D.

THE island of Fernando de Noronha[1] is in the South Atlantic Ocean, two hundred and fifty miles south of the equator, about two hundred miles northeast of Cape St. Roque, and near the track of vessels plying between European ports and those of South America lying south of the cape. It belongs to Brazil, and has long been used by that Government for a penal colony. In 1876, when a member of the Imperial Geological Survey of Brazil, I visited this island for the purpose of studying its natural history and mapping it. It was no part of my official duty to criticise the administration of the affairs of the island as a prison, yet it was but natural that I should take a deep interest in this administration, and should inform myself, whenever occasion offered, regarding the methods employed in dealing with a class of persons so new to me. The commandant and other officers spoke freely whenever they addressed me in regard to administrative meas-

  1. The name is also erroneously written — Fernam de Loronha, Fernão de Noronha, Fernando Noronha, Ferdinando Noronha, Fernand de la Rogne, etc.