Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 51.djvu/429
But in the highest class of certain goods, such as furs, linens, tailor-made gowns and suits, diamonds and jewelry, porcelain and furniture, the small dealer may be expected to control the retail trade. He alone will possess the high degree of special knowledge and be able to give the personal attention that his business requires. He alone will find it worth his while to cater to the few but wealthy customers that want the best to be had. The department store will find it more profitable, as indeed it does now, to cater to the larger class of customers that care more for cheapness than great excellence. Because of this fact, it is already noticeable, particularly in the inland cities, that specialists have begun to establish themselves, usually taking modest apartments in some large commercial building. Thus, in spite of the department store and without the aid of the "new" social reformer, there will be preserved to the world this class of people with all their "manhood" and "independence," thought to be so important to civilization.
Among the many manuals of architecture Mr. Mathews's book takes a distinct place. It is a concise history of architectural development through all the various phases of civilization, showing the important modifications produced by location and national life.
Beginning with the time when man longed for something more than mere shelter and strove to make his habitation pleasing to the eye, the author traces the art of construction as it was unfolded in Egypt and. Nubia, India and Java, China and Japan. Then, crossing to the Western hemisphere, which is never reached by some writers, he gives an outline of its evolution among the Toltecs, Aztecs, and Incas. Returning to the Old World, he takes up the record of the ruins in western Asia, Chaldea, Assyria, and Persia. Thence the transition is easily made to Greece, Etruria, and Rome; for, although there is an early period of classical architecture—the Pelasgic, whose Cyclopean masonry andvaulting betray no foreign influence—the efflorescence of Greek art took place many centuries after the Dorian invasion and subsequent to the Persian conquest, when the Greeks had come into contact with many nations and had assimilated whatever was of worth. They borrowed the fluted pillar and molded lintel from the tombs of the Egyptians, but they increased the proportional height of the column until it formed the stately Doric. The colorettes of Nineveh and the Persian capitals possibly suggested the Ionic order; the Greek architect, however, gave it graceful proportion. So, with all the ideas that may be traced to outside sources, the beauty of the transforming touch is clearly recognized, and it is readily acknowledged that for nobility of purpose and an exquisite sense of harmony the architecture of Athens is still unrivaled. "The artist bowed himself to his task with all the unselfishness attendant on an act of worship. To look at Nature, see
- The Story of Architecture. By Charles Thompson Mathews, M. A. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 468. Price, $3.