Popular Science Monthly/Volume 38/February 1891/Literary Notices

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Outings at Odd Times. By Charles C. Abbott, M.D. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 282. Price, $1.50.

It is a pleasant task to review one of Dr. Abbott's books. The contrast implied in the title of his preface to this volume—"Nature and Books about it"—is reduced to the lowest point in his writings. The genial doctor has a happy faculty for transferring the charm of Nature to the printed page, that is the more valuable for its rarity. It might seem a mistake on the part of the author to put as the first of his four groups of essays the one headed "In Winter," for Nature in that season is by many regarded as wholly uncommunicative, if not frigidly forbidding. But Dr. Abbott does not find it so. Coming to an ice-fringed brook, in one of his winter outings, he quickly detects in the water "dainty little frogs—the peeping hylodes—squatted on dead leaves and yellow pebbles, and so spotted, splotched, and wrinkled were they that it took sharp eyes to find them. . . . The spirit of exploration seized me now," he says, "and I brushed the shallow waters with a cedar branch. Lazy mud minnows were whipped from their retreats, and a beautiful red salamander that I sent whizzing through the air wriggled among the brown leaves upon the ground. It was only after a hard chase that I captured it, and, holding it in my hand until rested, I endeavored to induce it to squeak, for it is one of a very few that has a voice; but it was not to be coaxed. It suffered many indignities in silence, and so shamed me by its patience that I gently placed it in the brook. Soon black, shining whirligigs—the gyrinus—suddenly appeared; and a turtle, as if wondering what might be the cause of the commotion, thrust its head in the air, stared angrily at me, and returned to its hidden home. There was no dearth of life in the brook, yet this is a winter day." Equally numerous does he find the birds in winter, and, in the right places, growing plants, with an occasional flower, if the season happens to be open. He sees, too, the meadow mice, skurrying back and forth in their grass-walled, ice-roofed runways. In spring, Nature's drama becomes more varied. Under the name of this season, Dr. Abbott discourses of the April moon, of small owls, of apple blossoms, etc., and even draws entertainment from such an unpromising place as a meadow mud-hole. In summer, and again in autumn, the scene changes, but all under such delightful leadership is intensely fascinating. Sprinkled through these pages are bits of reminiscence of boy life, not without its pranks, in a Quaker farmer's family; and digressions upon such topics as old almanacs, weathercocks, "skeleton-lifting," and fossil man in the Delaware Valley, occur here and there. The material form of the volume, with its narrow page and wide margins, and its tastefully designed cover, admirably fits the character of the matter within.

The Pre-Columbian Discovery of America by the Northmen, with Translations from the Icelandic Sagas. By B. F. De Costa. Albany, N. Y.: Joel Munson's Sons. Pp. 196. Price, $3.

A scholarly and entertaining work is this upon the Northmen and their Western voyages. The author was doubtless instrumental in arousing interest in regard to the Icelandic chronicles and literature by the publication of the first edition of this book in 1870, and he must view with satisfaction the progress made since that time, which has been emphasized in the erection of two statues to Leif Ericsson.

Fairly and candidly the author treats all evidence bearing upon the earliest knowledge of the American continent, even admitting that many facts point toward the Irish as the first to cross the Atlantic. Beginning with references found in Greek and Latin authors to "a vast island lying far in the West and peopled by strange races," he comments upon the exploits of Tyrian and Phoenician navigators. Cadiz, in Spain, was settled by Tyrian traders 1200 b. c.; in the ninth century there were colonies upon the western coast of Africa; and three hundred years later the continent was circumnavigated by the Phœnicians. A chart of the Canary Isles was made by Sebosus, 63 b. c., and a description of King Juba's expedition is furnished by Pliny. It is regarded as a possibility that the Phœnicians made transatlantic discoveries: "From the Canaries to the coast of Florida is a short voyage, and the bold sailors of the Mediterranean, after touching at the Canaries, need only spread their sails before the steady-breathing monsoon, to find themselves wafted safely to the western shore."

The first chronicle of any voyage to America is found in the Icelandic tongue. This language was spoken by the Northmen who settled in Denmark and the Scandinavian countries, but were at length oppressed in Norway by King Harold. Too proud to brook any curtailment of their power, the jarls sailed away to the frozen shores of Iceland. Here, in 868, they found Christian monks who would not affiliate with the pagan new-comers, but promptly gave up their icy retreat and "left behind them Irish books, bells, and croziers, from which it could be seen that they were Irishmen." In 982 Eric the Red, banished from Iceland, sought refuge in Greenland. Colonies were soon established here, and only eight years elapsed before Leif, the son of Eric, made his first voyage to Vinland. The Ericssons were a family of explorers. Thorvald and Thorstein, brothers of Leif, and Freydis, a sister, each undertook an expedition to the new land. The most important voyage was made by Thorfinn Karlsefne, an Icelander of famous lineage, who, with three vessels and one hundred and sixty men, visited Vinland and remained three years. Had it not been for the observant habits of the Icelanders, who were taught to study "the divisions of time and movements of the heavenly bodies," the location of Vinland might be a matter of doubt; but it is fixed not only by their description of the coast and character of the country, but by the account of Leif and his comrades, that "on the shortest day the sun was in the sky between Eyktarstad and Dagmalastad," periods corresponding to 4.30 p. m. and half-past 7 a. m., making the latitude 41· 43' 10", nearly that of Mount Hope Bay. Ancient vessels that have been exhumed in Denmark, as well as measurements found in the Sagas, prove that the ships of the Northmen were able to bear them across the Atlantic. That no enduring structure marks their occupation of New England is not astonishing; according to the story of their sojourn, they lived in wooden booths.

The literature and general knowledge of the Icelanders were much in advance of the rest of Europe during the twelfth century, so that it is altogether credible that they wrote the Sagas and performed the voyages recorded. A corroboration of the Icelandic writings is also found in early English annals, which contain statements and dates that exactly agree. The manuscript from which the Sagas are taken is the Codex Flatöensis, "a work that was finished in 1395 at the latest, . . . and now preserved in the archives of Copenhagen."

The latter part of Dr. De Costa's work is devoted to translations from these writings, relative to the pre-Columbian voyages. Extracts are given from the Landanama,'the doomsday-book of Iceland; from the Sagas of Eric, composed in Greenland; and from the Saga of Thorfinn, of Icelandic origin. Following these are minor narratives taken from the Eyrbyggia Saga, and two geographical fragments that mention Vinland. Although the volume possesses an index, it has the unusual distinction of being a book without chapters.

Dust and its Dangers. By T. Mitchell Prudden, M. D. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 111. Price, 75 cents.

The author of this book does not discuss purely inorganic dust of any sort, not even the specially injurious kinds resulting from processes of manufacture, but in a simple and attractive way tells of the common dust that is dangerous—that which contains micro-organisms hurtful to man. He describes the classes of germs that can be identified, and explains how biological analyses of the air are made by the "filtration" and the easier "plate method." Comparison of averages obtained in various cities and in different localities in New York show that the number of bacteria in a given volume of air varies chiefly according to condition, the process of street-cleaning summoning the greatest number of germs, 5,810 to a disk 33/4inches in diameter. Indoor air is, however, the main subject of investigation, and experiments prove that ventilation which completely changes the atmosphere three times an hour will not appreciably affect the number of bacteria in an apartment, as the intruders cling obstinately to the carpets and upholstery. Only violent currents of air dislodge these, and the sweeping and cleansing which result in removing, not redistributing the dust. Ordinarily we are liable to take in with every twenty breaths from eleven to eight hundred and seventy-six organisms.

Among the disease-breeding bacteria Dr. Prudden selects for study the one numbering most victims, the Bacillus tuberculosis. He points out that prolonged drying does not kill it; that it does not exist in the air exhaled from consumptive lungs, but in the sputa that is ignorantly allowed to become part of the dust. It results that "the way to most efficiently stop this distinctly preventable disease is to see that the sputum of consumptives is properly disposed of."

One of the most instructive chapters is that in which the action of the cilia, of the lymph-filters, and of the wandering white cells, is described. A number of illustrations and an index accompany the book, which is published in uniform style with The Story of the Bacteria, by the same author.

Races and Peoples. By Daniel G. Brinton, M. D. New York: N. D. C. Hodges. Pp. 513. Price, $1.75.

A series of lectures, delivered at the Academy of Natural Sciences, in Philadelphia, during the early months of 1890, forms the basis of this book. In the first two lectures are given respectively the physical and the mental characteristics of races, upon which ethnography is based. The third lecture discusses the beginnings and subdivisions of races, locating the birthplace of the species in a region comprising southern Europe, the bed of the Mediterranean, and northern Africa, which in early Quaternary times was one connected body of land. In succeeding chapters the probable course of the early migrations of the various races, and the formation of subdivisions, are traced. The author places the first home of the white race—which he calls Eurafrican—in the region just mentioned, and regards its migrations as having taken place toward the east in two divisions. The early history of the black and yellow races, and of certain insular and littoral peoples, is then taken up. In his review of the American race, Dr. Brinton does not take up the question where the Indians came from, having stated fully elsewhere his reasons for believing that America was peopled from Europe, by way of a former land connection across the north Atlantic. A concluding lecture is devoted to discussing the destiny of races, and certain ethnographic problems, as acclimation, amalgamation, and civilization. An index of authors quoted and one of subjects are appended.

Our Government: How it grew, what it does, and how it does it. By Jesse Macy, A. M., Professor of Constitutional History and Political Economy in Iowa College. Revised edition. Boston: Ginn & Co. Pp. xii + 296.

Prof. Macy is to be congratulated on having produced in the work above mentioned an extremely valuable treatise upon the system of government under which we live. One of the encouraging signs of the times is the attention which is beginning to be bestowed in our schools and colleges—upon the laws and institutions of the land upon American politics in the wider and better sense. Foreigners are under a general impression that all American citizens able to read and write have the Constitution of their country at their fingers' ends, and that no one here needs much special preparation to enter on a political career. We could wish the impression had more foundation in truth than it has. The fact is, that ignorance in regard to the whole field of political knowledge is wide-spread among the electorate, and is in danger of becoming more so from year to year. The efforts, therefore, that are now being put forth to foster such knowledge are most timely; and we welcome the appearance of a manual like the present, which brings home to the mind of the student or general reader what kind of a country this is in a political sense; what the rights and duties of each citizen are, and what powers and responsibilities are invested in the different grades or species of government by law established. There are great advantages in a healthy and vigorous development of local institutions as with us; but, as everything good has some drawback, so this, on the whole, fortunate circumstance has the drawback of somewhat enfeebling the individual citizen's consciousness of participation in the life of the nation. We need to awaken and stimulate this consciousness, and the way to do it is undoubtedly to bring the facts of national life home to each mind by careful instruction. We do not hesitate to say that a knowledge of the facts contained in the work before us could scarcely fail to create in any ordinary mind a respectful interest in national and State politics, and would thus tend to rescue the individual citizen and voter from the hands of mere intriguing party managers. The amount of information in regard to local, municipal, State, and Federal Government that Prof. Macy has managed to pack into the present manual is surprising. There is not a single page which any student who desires to be thoroughly well informed in United States politics can afford to skip. Comparing the present work with Mr. Fiske's recent book, we may say that Prof. Macy's is the more complete hand-book of the two, while Mr. Fiske's is perhaps better adapted to bring home powerfully to the mind of the reader a limited number of carefully chosen facts and ideas. A valuable division of Prof. Macy's book is Part III, on The Administration of Justice, in which a large amount of information is given in regard to State and Federal courts and their respective jurisdictions and modes of procedure. The different departments of the Federal Government are well described in Part IV, as well as the methods followed by the two Houses of Congress in the dispatch of business. Part V deals particularly with Constitutions—chiefly, of course, State and Federal. The idea that may be derived from the résumé of State Constitutions here given is that much might yet be done to bring some of these into a more rational and business-like form. We are strongly reminded how many things with us are yet in the experimental stage, and the thought is not very far in the background that much of our experimenting has been somewhat crudely done.

Prof. Macy has abstained from all criticism of institutions. Even in pointing out the differences between British cabinet government and the system established here, he does not venture on any hint as to which on the whole is the better, or as to which is the better even from any partial point of view. He does not hesitate, however, to condemn the "spoils system," giving in detail his reasons for regarding it as one of the plague-spots of our political life. We think that perhaps a few words more than he has actually given might have been devoted to the Civil-Service Bill at present in force; and it might not have been amiss to show how difficult both political parties seem to find it to carry out their pledges in favor of civil-service reform. Take it all in all, however, as a hand-book of the political institutions of the United States, Prof. Macy's little work is deserving of high praise for completeness, accuracy, and good sense. We hope it will come into wide use.

A Manual of Public Health. By A. Wynter Blyth, M. R. C. S., etc. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 653. Price, $5.25.

This work is a comprehensive and authoritative text-book for officers of public health departments. Its first section, of three chapters, is devoted to vital statistics, giving methods of recording the data, and of calculating birth and death rates, life tables, etc., and describing certain calculating machines. The next section deals with air, ventilation, and warming, taking up the general character of air, with methods of analyzing it, the principles and methods of ventilating and warming, and including a chapter on measuring cubic space and reporting on ventilation. Two short chapters describe the common instruments used for meteorological observations. A section on water supply tells the usual sources of water, and gives microscopical, biological, and both qualitative and quantitative chemical processes for water analysis. There is also a chapter describing the supplies of the various companies furnishing water in the city of London. The section on sewerage describes the construction of house drains and of sewers, the arrangements for certain special systems of sewerage, and various methods for the disposal of sewage. The sewering of London is also described, with a map. Under the head of nuisances, the processes employed in a large number of manufactures yielding offensive waste products are given.

The section on disinfecting contains experimental methods for testing the value of a disinfectant, an account of various apparatuses for disinfection by heat and of the general process, and information concerning chemical disinfectants, giving especial prominence to the halogens. About two hundred pages are devoted to zymotic diseases, in which the modern general theory of microparasites is first given, and then the special character and course of each disease of this class. Single chapters deal with the construction of isolation hospitals, the general principles of diet, and the duties of sanitary officers aa prescribed by English statutes. Inspection of food is the subject of the closing section, and this gives the characteristics of unfit vegetable and animal foods, and describes diseases of animals which make their flesh unwholesome. There are sixty-five cuts and plates, and an index.

English Fairy Tales. Collected by Joseph Jacobs, Editor of Folk-Lore. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 253.

"Who," the editor asks, "says that English folk have no fairy tales of their own? The present volume contains only a selection out of some one hundred and forty, of which I have found traces in this country [England]. It is probable that many more exist." A quarter of the tales in the volume have been collected during the last ten years or so, and some of them have not been hitherto published. The name Fairy Tales is given to the collection, though few of the stories speak of fairies. Yet they are what the little ones mean when they call for fairy tales. They do not call for "folk tales" or "nursery tales," and this is the only name we can give them. The term fairy tales must be extended a little to include tales in which something "fairy," or extraordinary, like fairies, giants, dwarfs, or speaking animals, occurs; and also to cover tales in which the extraordinary thing is the stupidity of some of the actors. The question of nationality, too, is one to which it is hard to assign limits. Some of the stories were found among the descendants of English immigrants in America, some in Australia, some among the Lowland Scotch; and one of the best was taken down from the mouth of an English gypsy. Some of them exist in the form of ballads. Writing for children, the author has considered it expedient to take a few liberties with the text, translating sometimes from dialect or introducing or changing an incident; but mention of the fact is always made in the notes. He has felt authorized to do this amount of adaptation because he expects on some future occasion to treat the subject of the English folk-lore tale in a critical manner, when the originals will be reproduced with literal accuracy.

The Myology of the Raven. By R. W. Shufeldt. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 343. Price, $4.

The author has prepared this treatise in the belief that a work fully and practically illustrated and devoted to a complete account of the muscles of any species of bird is wanting; and that such a work would be of service to persons engaged in the general morphology of vertebrates as well as to special students. Birds are among the most easily procurable subjects for the use of the demonstrator and the student, and of these none are more convenient than those of the raven kind, which represent a numerous and cosmopolitan family, including the crows, jays, orioles, and very many others. As, according to the author, the student's investigations in the myology of birds advance, three lines of improvement in knowledge of their muscular system will force themselves upon him. "In the first place, we still remain very ignorant of the details of this system in a great many important types of birds; secondly, an ever-pressing demand is evident to fix the homologies of muscles in the vcrtebrata, and, consequently, to bring so far-reaching a knowledge of this department of research to our assistance as to be able to give the same name to the same muscles accurately throughout the vertebrate series; and, finally, a simple, scientific, and euphonious nomenclature is very much to be desired. As an index of our present status with respect to our knowledge of the muscles of birds, it is hoped that the volume here offered will faithfully represent it; but its writer trusts that in future works he may lend his assistance to the improvement of all the lines above indicated."

A Practical Delsarte Primer. By Mrs. Anna Randall-Diehl. Syracuse, N. Y.: C. W. Bardeen. Pp. 66.

If the only aim of this little book had been to serve as a guide in making the body flexible and responsive, one third of the contents might have been omitted with nothing to regret.

The first chapter suggests an excellent drill to gain bodily control. Exercises are given for the fingers, hands, shoulders, head, and trunk; also directions for various movements, including stage-falls. In the closing chapter it is shown how the acquired suppleness may be utilized in representing mental and emotional states. The laws of expression in relation to each organ are defined, and a quotation is made from Duchenne's Human Physiognomy, confirming the method delineated.

The intermediate part of the book is taken up with an outline of the philosophy of Delsarte, which is said to depend upon "the triune nature of man." A trinity is defined as "the union of three things necessarily coexistent in time, copenetrative in space, co-operative in motion." Accordingly, the human organization is split up into ternary combinations, and nothing is allowed to overflow the trinitarian mold. There is the "essential trinity" and the "dynamic trinity"; the "nervous," the "circulatory," and the "visceral trinity."

The triple classification into moral, mental, and vital, differentiates our unoffending members in a remarkable manner. The bones are vital, the skin mental, and the flesh moral. The pupil of the eye expresses intellect, but the iris has a leaning toward righteousness. The tip of the nose is also virtuously distinguished from the nostrils. Why the epigastric organs should be moral while the thoracic are mental is another philosophic mystery.

Not less perplexing than this tripartition is the use made of the word thermometer. We learn that there are six physical thermometers the larynx, wrist, shoulder, elbow, eyebrow, and thumb. The eyebrow is the thermometer of the mind, from which we might infer that Shakespeare wrote in all seriousness of "a woful ballad" to that important feature. However, judgment is declared to be "the lowest form of intellectuality," and in the dim light above it, or without it, little incongruities, such as have been noticed, may not appear.

In a sketch of François Delsarte, prefixed to this work, it is expressly stated that he died in 1871. Were it not for this, we might conclude that he nourished some seven hundred years earlier, and that we had stumbled upon a manual of the old scholastics, who tortured facts into accordance with arbitrary symbols and "ground the air in metaphysic mills."

Are the Effects of Use and Disuse inherited? By William P. Ball. Nature Series. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp.156. Price, $1.

This is obviously and avowedly a controversial book. The author takes the negative side of his question, in opposition to Darwin and Spencer, and argues it with much ability and in an admirably courteous tone. He is not, however, alone in his position, for he is able to name Weismann, Wallace, Poulton, Ray Lankester, and Francis Galton as disagreeing in greater or less measure from the two great leaders just named. The author examines in detail the examples of Spencer and those of Darwin cited on the affirmative side of this question and replies to them. He next discusses the inheritance of injuries, and then passes to certain miscellaneous considerations. In conclusion, he affirms that useinheritance is supported by insufficient evidence, while "the adverse facts and considerations are almost strong enough to prove the actual non-existence of such a law or tendency." But, he says, "It will be enough to ask that the Lamarckian factor of use-inheritance shall be removed from the category of accredited factors of evolution to that of unnecessary and improbable hypotheses. The main explanation or source of the fallacy may be found in the fact that natural selection frequently imitates some of the more obvious effects of use and disuse. . . . As depicted by its defenders, use-inheritance transmits evils far more powerfully and promptly than benefits." It is to natural selection, without the doubtful aid (as he deems it) of use-inheritance, that he trusts to save the race as a whole from degeneration.

Astronomy: Sun, Moon, Stars, etc. By William Durham, F. R. S. E. Edinburgh: Adam & Charles Black, Pp.133. Price, 50 cents.

The character of this book is indicated by the name of the series in which it is the second volume—Science in Plain Language. The author states that it is not a treatise on astronomy, but that it "merely describes in plain language some of the more interesting facts and speculations connected with that science." The divisions of the subject which he makes are, the sun and moon; the earth; stars, nebulæ, etc.; planets; astronomical speculations as to the formation of the heavenly bodies, and the contents of space; the tides, etc. The various topics are treated in an attractive style, free from mathematics, but in such a way as to impart as full a knowledge of astronomy as most cultivated people require.

Derivation of Practical Electrical Units. By Lieutenant F. B. Badt and Prof. H. S. Carhart. Chicago: Electrician Publishing Company. Pp. 56. Price, 75 cents.

How did certain electrical units come to be called ampère, ohm, farad, etc.? must have been asked by many persons, knowing more or less of electrical science. To answer this question is the task that Mr. Badt undertakes in the little volume before us. He gives in an introductory chapter the general reasons for adopting the system of practical units now in use, with a table showing the names and symbols of the several units, the quantity to be measured by each, comparative values, remarks, etc. This is followed by biographical sketches and portraits of the eminent electricians whose names have been given to these units. The list includes Weber, Gauss, Ampère, Volta, Ohm, Faraday, Watt, Joule, Dr. Werner von Siemens, Sir William Siemens, Daniell, and Von Jacobi. A sketch of Coulomb is also given, without a portrait, and the author doubts if one is extant. In each sketch is told how and when the name of the subject was adopted for an electrical unit. A chapter by Prof. H. S. Carhart on Modifications of the Practical Electrical Units, is added, in which it is pointed out that, since there are three units of resistance in use, there are accordingly three modifications of all units depend ing upon this.

Psychological investigators will be interested in Prof. Joseph Jastrow's essay on The Time-Relations of Mental Phenomena, published in the series of Fact and Theory Papers (Hodges, 50 cents). The paper defines and analyzes simple and complex reactions, describes the methods of experimentation that have been devised by a number of investigators, and gives two tables—one of simple, the other of complex reaction times—from the observations of Cattell, Berger, Münsterberg, Kries and Auerbach, Merkel, and others. Various conditions affecting the times of simple reactions, and such as affect distinction, choice, association, and other elements of complex reactions, are discussed, and a classified bibliography is appended.

A little manual on Maps and Map-Drawing, by William A. Elderton, has been issued in Macmillan's Geographical Series (Macmillan, 35 cents). It describes briefly various modes of surveying, and tells some of the things that can be learned from globes—among them the explanation of great-circle sailing. In the chapter on mapdrawing the several projections are described; contouring, hachuring, and mezzotint shading are taken up; and a few directions for the use of maps are given. A short chapter on copying maps is included; but the author does not deem this as important as the drawing of memory maps. The latter subject he, accordingly, treats more fully, giving directions for drawing a memory map roughly, taking France as an example; also for doing more careful work, using England and Wales as the subject; and for a rough map of the world on Mercator's projection.

An address on The Future of Agriculture in the United Stales, by Dr. Peter Collier, of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, is devoted to the exhortation of farmers to study and put more intelligence into their work, and to the enforcement of the thesis that "we have not yet begun to approach the limit of even profitable production upon our lands."

A new monthly periodical, called the Educational Review, is to be begun in January, to be published by Henry Holt & Co. Prof. Nicholas Murray Butler, of Columbia College, President of the New York College for the Training of Teachers, will be its editor, and will have as his associates head-master E. H. Cook, of Rutgers Preparatory School, New Brunswick, N. J.; Dr. William H. Maxwell and Dr. A. B. Poland, superintendents of schools in Brooklyn and in Jersey City. The University, the Preparatory School, and the public schools will thus be represented in its editing. The enterprise starts with the approval, attached to its prospectus, of some hundred leading educators.

Poet Lore, a monthly magazine, devoted to Shakespeare, Browning, and the comparative study of literature (Poet Lore Co, 1602 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia), Charlotte Porter and Helen A. Clarke, editors, is a literary periodical of the highest order. Besides the two authors specially named, recent numbers have contained studies of the Provençal poets, by Miss M. L. Elmendorf; English and German Literature in the Eighteenth Century, by Prof. Oswald Leidensticker; Shelley; the Alkestis; Dante; The Russian Drama, by Nathan Haskel Dole; and other papers, which define the scope of the publication as a sufficiently broad one to make it acceptable to all cultivated readers. The November number contains a study of Browning's "Childe Roland." Next year, in lieu of the July and August numbers, double numbers will be published in June and September, each containing a foreign work of the first order, little known, but destined to awaken strong interest. The contents will be increasingly in the direction of comparative criticism. Price, 25 cents a number; $2.50 a year.

G. P. Putnam's Sons publish, in the Story of the Nations Series, Switzerland, prepared by Lina Hug and Richard Stead. Due stress is laid upon the interest of the story, which is attractive to American readers by its association with the other features of the country—"the playground of Europe"—as well as by the long, arduous, and faithful struggles for liberty which it records. Most of the existing accounts of Swiss history in the English language go no further back than a. d. 1291, the date of the earliest Swiss league, and of the beginning of modern Swiss nationality. The authors in the present volume have gone beyond this, and have included the previous history of the men who founded the league, with the changes which the country has undergone, in being overrun by different barbarous tribes; accounts of Cæsar's Helvetians; and of the lake-dwellers. The lesson of the history of the country is enforced by the citation of the maxim that "it teaches us, all the way through, that Swiss liberty has been won by a close union of many small states."

Biblia, a monthly magazine devoted to biblical archæology, furnishes a current record of what is accomplished in the survey and exploration, particularly of the monuments, of the extremely ancient centers of civilization, gives reviews of literature on the subject, and assists the purposes of the Palestine and Egypt exploration funds and other societies engaged in Oriental investigation. The subscription price is one dollar a year. The publication office for New York is with B. Westermann & Co.

The third of the Manuals of Religious Instruction, Doctrinal Series, published by the New Church Board of Publication, is a series of Descriptions of the Spiritual World, for use with children, from the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. The works chiefly represented are the Heaven and Hell, Conjugal Love, and the True Christian Religion.