Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/284

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

£3 17s. l0½d., and that is the price of an ounce of gold. This is as much as to say that if you send a cask of beer to the bottler and he fills one hundred bottles with the contents, the one hundred bottles is the price of the cask of beer. Of course, the gold and the beer before and after coining and bottling respectively are the same, and the £3 17s. l0½d. is an ounce of gold and not the price of it, just as the contents of one hundred bottles are the beer that was in the cask and not the price of it. I need hardly add that this talk of a mint price is the old and time-worn talk of the currency faddists who believe in inconvertible paper."

It is a great pity that books like this of Mr. Giffen can not find their way into the hands and minds of those smitten with the silver mania, and who have been brought to regard the much-abused metal, as they term it, with emotions akin to those excited by contemplation of the forlorn and oppressed.

The Speech of Monkeys. By R. L. Garner. :8vo, pp. 217. New York: Charles L. :Webster & Co. Price, $1.

In the title of this book lies the potency which has prompted the acceptance of Mr. Garner's various essays on the subject by the leading reviews. The honest enthusiasm of the author and his positiveness have given a charm and virility to his writings, and made them attractive reading.

The initiatory impulse which has impelled Mr. Garner with unparalleled persistency arose in early childhood, from a superstition, common to all children and savages, that animals talk among themselves. This belief, instead of being outgrown by Mr. Garner, became the dominating impulse of his life — has animated him to the most painstaking efforts, and to the most sanguine utterances. The book abounds in surmises to be answered in only one way; no effort is made to even suggest any other conclusion than the one which supports his thesis. On the very first page, for instance, he wonders how it has occurred to man to whistle to a horse and dog instead of using some sound more like their own. He says, "I am at a loss to know how such a sound has ever become a fixed means of calling these animals." The simple answer should have occurred to Mr. Garner that a whistle is easier to utter, is heard farther, and is not only the universal call for dogs but for boys and men. The whistle of the boatswain, postman, policeman, and car-shifter shows the simple utility of this kind of a sound as a call or a signal note.

His experiments with monkeys are very interesting and amusing; his explanations, however, can often bear a different interpretation; thus, on page 76, he describes an experiment with a glove to which he had attached a string by which he drags the glove slowly toward him across the floor. The monkey, on first seeing it at a distance, gives a low note of warning, and as the glove approaches she makes a louder note. He says, in regard to these subdued notes of warning, "Her purpose was to warn me of the approaching danger without alarming the object against which the warning was intended to prepare me." It may be observed, however, that all emotional sounds made by animals increase in loudness just in proportion to the excitement occasioned by the cause.

Mr. Garner's interpretation of the gesture for negation seems quite reasonable. His experiments with the phonograph inspire him to further efforts "to find out the fountain-head from which flows out the great river of human speech." Mr. Garner should know that if he is to go to the fountain-head he is not to run out to the extreme tip of one of the twigs which branched off in the Tertiaries, but rather to study the half-apes and the lemurs if he is to get the remotest light on the subject.

A preparation for the work Mr. Garner is engaged in should have been prefaced by an exhaustive study of the emotional sounds emitted by man — sounds quite distinct from articulate utterances which form words and sentences. As an illustration of these sounds, let one witness a base-ball game and observe the different cries which go up from the audience at different points of the play. A few years ago there was a gate-keeper at the Brooklyn base-ball grounds who, though far out of sight of the game, could tell by the kinds of sounds emitted by the multitude precisely what was happening on the field. With unerring certainty he could say, "There's a hot ball caught from the bat," or "man put out at first," "home-run," "caught on the fly," "rank decision," etc. And yet these