Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 48.djvu/140

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130
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ing in touch with their guide when they have attempted to regulate their conduct by religion. Perhaps they may be able to do so in the future, but we think the evolutionary process which Mr. Kelly believes is ended must go on some time longer before man can afford to dispense with the aid which the scientific method gives him.

The bird-loving amateur need be at no loss for guidance. Three manuals adapted to his wants have come to us recently, the latest being a charmingly attractive one entitled Birdcraft[1] Emerson's query, "Hast thou named all the birds without a gun?" is its motto, and any one who will identify half the species it describes, or verify half it tells about their general appearance, habits, and song, will have occupation enough for several seasons without paying attention to the matters that can be learned only from the dead bird. The sprightliness of the smaller birds makes them delightful subjects of study, their elusiveness adds zest to their pursuit, while the various mental and moral traits indicated by the actions of all kinds well deserve the attention of the psychologist. This instance of the extreme politeness ascribed to the cedar waxwing was observed by the author: "A stout green worm (for they eat animal as well as vegetable food) was passed up and down a row of eight birds; once, twice it went the rounds, until halfway on its third trip it became a wreck and dropped to the ground, so that no one enjoyed it — a commentary, in general, upon useless ceremony," Much pains is taken to represent the songs of the birds described; thus the song of the red-eyed vireo is given in the words of Wilson Flagg as "You see it! you know it! do you hear me? do you believe it?" The bluebird seems to murmur, "Dear, dear, think of it, think of it!" The Carolina wren cries joyfully, "Sweetheart, sweetheart, sweet!" while there are several versions of the bobolink's rippling song to choose from, and any one may make another to suit his fancy. The song birds by no means monopolize the volume; birds of prey, game birds, shore birds, and waterfowl are all represented by species to be seen in southern New England. Fifteen double-page plates, each bearing from seven to twenty figures of birds in their natural colours, greatly enhance the value of the hook.



GENERAL NOTICES.

In Dr. Kerner's Natural History of PlantsThe Natural History of Plants. From the German of Anton Kerner von Marilaun. By F. W. Oliver. New York: Henry Holt & Co. Half Volumes I and II. Pp. 777. Price, $7.50. London: Blackie & Son. Price, 35s. net. all the features of the growth, structure, and metamorphoses of vegetation are examined in their relations to one another. Interest was first excited in plants, we are told, by the question of their uses. Other avenues to botanical knowledge have been man's sense of beauty and the impulse to investigate structural differences even down to their most minute characteristics. This has brought the science to its present condition. In addition to these steps, the passion for collecting has been developed. In the later stages of the growth of botany observers have become convinced that every plant undergoes a continuous transformation which follows a definite course, and every species is constructed on a plan fixed within general limits and exhibiting variation in externals only. The systematic arrangement that has grown out of the application of these principles starts with the idea that rather than by similarity between adult forms the relationships of different plants are more correctly indicated by the fact of their exhibiting the same laws of growth

  1. Birdcraft. By Mabel Osgood Wright. Illustrated. New York and London: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 317, small 8vo. Price, $3 net.