Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/145

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135
LITERARY NOTICES.

ton. "It is impossible," the compiler remarks, "to look over the columns of a daily journal, especially during the progress of a spirited political campaign, without encountering numerous expressions and phrases, the meaning of which can not be learned from any dictionary, but which, to one who is familiar with the current argot of the period, are often quite as vigorously expressive as the most picturesque slang of the street." Mr. Norton's attempt is to explain most of these expressions. Without claiming to be exhaustive, he has included a number of phrases which, he says, can be found in no other compilation. Some have passed out of current use, others are still living. The definitions are studiously uncolored.

Prof. J. Howard Gore, in a paper on The Decimal System of Measures of the Seventeenth Century, presents the claims of the priest, Gabriel Mouton, of Lyons, to be regarded as the originator of the decimal system. As early as 1665 he proposed a scheme of measures by tens, the unit of which was derived from a minute of the arc of the terrestrial great circle, and which embodied the essential features of the scale proposed by the official commission in 1799.

W. M. Griswold, the industrious index-maker, has prepared and publishes, at Cambridge, Mass., in a pamphlet of fifty-two pages, A Descriptive List of Novels and Tales dealing with American Country Life. Its purpose is to direct readers, having a taste for books of the kind, to a number of novels, easily obtainable, but which may have become forgotten in the rush of other novels coming after them. Many of these books are typical, or have a historical value; some of them are of the first quality of excellence, and should not be allowed to perish at least in the present age; and all are worthy of the place given them. Descriptive notices are appended to each of the titles, which have usually been selected from reviews in the standard critical journals. Other lists of kindred character are promised.

The Indiana College Association was formed in 1878 for the mutual improvement of its members and the consideration of college instruction and management, and now includes representatives of fourteen institutions. It has held meetings every year, but no publications were made of the proceedings of its meetings from 1884 to 1888. The full publication of the Proceedings and Addresses of the thirteenth session, December, 1890, is accompanied by abstracts of the proceedings of these five sessions. The principal addresses at the meeting of 1889 were on The Religious Sentiment in it3 Relation to Scholarship, President J. J. Mills; Relations of Mathematics to Metaphysics, Prof. A. S. Hunter; The Function of the Laboratory in Technical Schools, Prof. Thomas Gray; The Study of Man through Language and Literature, Prof. Hoffman; Word Color, Prof. E. B. T. Spencer; and Mathematics in the Preparatory Schools, Prof. R. J. Aley.

A strange volume is that entitled A Secret Institution, written by Clarissa C. Lathrop (Bryant Publishing Co.), to describe the events that led to her incarceration in the Utica Insane Asylum from 1880 to 1882, her treatment there, and the way she obtained her release. Its purpose is to call attention to the injustice which many persons have suffered through being committed to asylums and kept there when perfectly sane. The writer draws a dark picture of asylum life, and her story shows what terrible abuses are possible where the light of investigation can not penetrate.

A novel in which a representation of one of the current forms of socialism is given has been written by Albion W. Tourgee, under the title Murvale Eastman, Christian Socialist (Fords, $1.50). The social doctrines are applied in the dealings of a street railway company with its employés. The story is more than a mere vehicle for the doctrines, being rich in plot and incident.

A number of geological monographs of much interest have recently been published by Prof. Warren Upham. First on the list in the amount of labor it represents is the author's Report of Exploration of the Glacial Lake Agassiz in Manitoba, which appears in connection with the report of the geological survey of Canada. Lake Agassiz was a lake, the result of the damming of the waters by ice in glacial times, which existed in the Red River Valley in Dakota and Minnesota, and thence toward the north across Manitoba into Saskatchewan, covering an area (about 110,000 square miles) greater