Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/725

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707
LITERARY NOTICES.

displaying much skill in construction and development, claim our attention. What's bred in the Bone (Benjamin R. Tucker, publisher, Boston) is a story of certain aspects of English social life by an author well known to our readers, Grant Allen. The story is told in a terse, vigorous style, without padding by expansion or episodes; the intricacies and complexities of the plot are tangled and untangled as by the hand of a master at the business; and an intense interest is wrought out. The name of the story seems to relate to a singular power of fascination which the heroine inherits from a gypsy ancestor, and to the persistency with which the gentle birth of the hero and his brother, made by circumstances friendless waifs on the surface of society, is declared in their acts and manners.

In Juggernaut (Fords, Howard & Hulbert) a chapter of American life and experience is handled with great power and truth to the reality by George Cary Eggleston and Dolores Marbourg. The Juggernaut is the idol ambition, or the car worldly success, under which an American starting as a young man with pure and noble intentions, and the purpose to maintain his character, is cast, with his wife, who has had simple and as pure beginnings, to be crushed. The story is one of the ruin of character that is so common in our financial and political life. The young editor, who has been honest and free, and is determined to continue so, is unwittingly drawn into the power of a schemer on whom he is for the time dependent, and is compelled to prostitute his paper for the furtherance of a single design of the other. He is determined to get the better of his master, and does it; becoming in his turn a speculator, financial operator, senator, and political schemer; making his wife, who was designed for the best things, his lobbyist, till she revolts at her fate, and ruin overtakes the pair. The story furnishes an instructive illustration of the fatal tendency of what are two conspicuous features of our national life.

A third story, by J. Van Lennep, translated from the French by Mrs. Clara Bell, The Story of an Abduction in the Seventeenth Century, is based on history. The foundation narrative is related in the fifth volume of Aitzema's Affairs of State and War, and concerns the carrying away from her friends by Johan Diederick de Mortaigne of a Dutch young lady, Catharine d'Orleans, and the pursuit of them, with divers political and diplomatic complications which the event evolved.

Our Language is the name of a modest journal of eight pages, devoted to preserving and improving the English speech, which is edited and published monthly by Mr. Frederik A. Fernald in this city (1778 Topping Street, fifty cents a year). The editor is an experienced journalist of literary taste and acquirements, and is an earnest advocate of a rational reform in spelling. That subject, the derivation and right use of words, and proper constructions are the chief topics discussed in its pages, and the spirit of the discussions is candid and catholic. Eccentric notions are not tolerated; and, while Our Language favors further reforms in spelling, it practically uses those changes only which have been agreed upon by all the reformers. The editor is in personal communication with the leaders in the reform movement, and enjoys their co-operation in his enterprise.

Science of Every-day Life and Science applied to Work (Cassell) are two convenient and useful treatises prepared by John A. Bower, the former for the Young People's and the other for the Artisan section of the National Home Reading Union. The chapters in Science of Every-day Life treat of some of the most common things, and the reasons for their existence: matter, weight, motion, air, combustion, and water; and furnish a few simple, rudimentary experiments. Science applied to Work is intended to be a useful introduction to the Science of Practical Mechanics, free from mathematical formulas, and to furnish hints for making mechanical experiments with simple contrivances. Both works aim to be clear and accurate in all their statements.

Having been, as an analytical and consulting chemist, frequently called upon to give information on the subject of water in its relations to disease, and having had much to do with the subject in connection with the Iowa State Board of Health, Dr. Floyd Davis has been happily prompted to prepare An Elementary Handbook on Potable Water, which is published by Silver, Burdett & Co.