Puslapio vaizdai

sole themselves with the fact that they are in the majority, for we certainly believe they are; and it must be admitted that Mr. Collins has many quali ties that give him a right to a large audience-a great honor, if size were everything. He has a clear, precise style; always knows exactly what he means to say, and says it in a way to produce the effect he wishes to produce. He has considerable skill in devising intricate and teasing plots, and in keeping up their intricacy and their teasingness to the last possible moment; and he can sometimes draw a human character-that is, make live for us a man or woman who might have lived, and moved, and had being in this world, though, for the most part, the reason why his people are not human beings is that the world they live in is not our world at all. Here, then, we touch the secret of our little pleasure in Mr. Wilkie Collins. We cannot live for ever in a fantoccini world. We could, perhaps, if we were children, but we are not, and if we were, Mr. Collins writes not for children but for grown men and women. And men and women ask something more from an artist, or from one who pretends to be an artist, than the creation of puppets who are to be jerked by dexterous wires into impossible attitudes suited to the impossible world in which they play. In his later works, Mr. Collins begins to feel the Nemesis of his sins against Truthfulness and his degradation of Art. He cannot now be truthful when he would, and the poor puppet he has made to serve him in his caricatures of humanity has turned against him, and strive as he may, he must paint puppets to the end.

Harper & Brothers are now republishing Wilkie Collins's writings in an authorized uniform edition. One of the last volumes issued is "The Queen of Hearts"-a collection of short stories tied together by one of the clumsiest and most unreasonable artifices we remember. Artifices to connect unrelated stories are common enough, but they are seldom reasonable. The best that ever was devised is the one which Chaucer invented for

his "Canterbury Tales." Boccaccio's and the one used by the author of the "Arabian Nights" are far from being good, but it may be said in excuse that the stories are so interesting we do not care whether there be any connecting thread or not. In the case of "The Queen of Hearts," however, the thread is made of much importance, and we are obliged to think of it whether we will or no, and its absurdity and artifice are made offensively conspicuous. Mr. Dickens hurt Mr. Collins not a little, and in his latest books the results of his study of his father-in-law's tricks and manners is painfully apparent. For an illustration of what we mean, we ask the reader to turn to the chapter in "Man and Wife" called "The Owls." This has almost all Mr. Dickens's faults in it, and reads like an intentional parody on the great man's style at those times when he tried to make words and a good many of them take the place of ideas. Where all VOL. VIII.-48

are so feeble, yet so full of pretence, it is hard to say which is the worst or which is the best of these stories grouped together under the general title of "The Queen of Hearts." If the story of Mr. Fauntleroy be a true one, it is, at least, worth printing, and the "Parson's Scruple " is well told, though it is not pleasant to read, a verdict which we fear must be too often passed upon this writer's tales. Indeed, it is too constant a trick of his to work his reader up to fever heat about nothing at all, giving him good reason to suspect that the author took infinite pains with every part of his plot but the untying it, and that he has always in his mind the persuasion he can cut the knot, if he can't untie it.

We confess we have often felt ashamed for Mr. Collins in reading this sorry stuff, ashamed that so clever a workman should have no more respect for his craft; ashamed that a man in his position should have done so little to keep the novel up to its high-water English mark. Who that has ever read through one of Mr. Collins's books,-" The Dead Secret" excepted,-would ever care to take it up again? Yet a good novel ought to be a thing of joy for ever, and the ambition of the novelist should be to take a place, however humble, in that circle where sit the writers whom age cannot wither nor custom stale; who are sought out and loved when found by generation after generation-the circle of Chaucer and Boccaccio, and Scott and Fielding, the beloved masters who sit by the fountain of youth

"Who always find us young And always keep us so."

"John Andross."*

THERE is a class of novels which invites the same censure that French criticism brings against English painting-that it is employed to point a moral more than to display an art. Of the American writers who use the weapon of fiction to attack an evil or defend a theory no one succeeds better than Mrs. Davis in combining a special object with simplicity of plan and naturalness of character. Most of them set up some abstraction, some ideal embodiment of right or wrong, controlling the persons it concerns like puppets. With her, human nature in its exposure to temptation or its efforts at duty is the chief study, and moral generalities do not usurp the first place. She does not describe institutions or abuses as making or unmaking human beings, nor men and woman as colorless, bloodless images through which a principle acts. We sympathize with her heroes of either sex, because they display natural wills and natural weaknesses, neither erring by rule nor right upon system.

"Waiting for the Verdict," for instance, was written to combat a prejudice. But the prejudice

* John Andross. By Rebecca Harding Davis. New York: Orange Judd Company.

turns out to be an instinct, and, in spite of herself a strife of emotion, and repulsion, and sadness gathers about it which makes the novel a thoroughly human lesson instead of the Civil Rights essay which it probably set out to be. So the story of John Andross involves the scheme of a tract against legislative corruption, yet the least important of the thoughts its suggestive pages excite is the fact that an enormous evil of the sort exists, and deserves attack. This is far from being a failure on the author's part. It only proves that she is greater than her subject, and that her power of analyzing mental operations and portraying shades of feeling carries her far beyond and above the narrow limits of didactics.

The scene of a story upon such a subject is naturally laid in Pennsylvania, and the people who move its machinery are the ordinary judges, and speculators, and officials of that region. Among these there descend, as if from another sphere, one or two persons of very different order, to vex and thwart their combinations. Intrigue of the coarsest kind, stimulated by mere vulgar greed of money, is guided by the intellect of Laird, officially and respectably a banker, a charitable church member, and a dilettante in art. According to poetic justice in the usual novel upon theory, he should have perished in jail, detected, and poor. But in real life, except in signal instances (and in the State of New York) the evil spirit of intellect takes better care of his clever children, and Laird escapes exposure, and prospers after his kind. Among his instruments, Anna Maddox is a cleverly drawn compound of tinsel sentiment and mean art. Andross, at first his victim and legislative tool, breaks away at length from his net, votes against his patron's bill, and resigns his seat in a burst of manly virtue that waits to become historic in our Capitols. The interest of the novel is concentrated upon his wavering course in life, and the struggle of uncertain impulses in his poetic nature among the practical villainies into which he suffers himself to be drawn, is finely conceived and skillfully depicted. There is a journalist, of a kind not agreeable to be familiar with, who seems from his consistency with himself to be a correctly described specimen, but the clubmen and the club interiors are quite out of drawing. In Braddock and Isabella the author repeats a kind of character which is a favorite with her, and very true to nature-a character profound but narrow, silent with strong emotions, and deserving a happier lot in life than it often wins. If any fault is to be found with the denouement of the story, it is a fault that is to be found with real life, suggesting the regret that even in appearance the coarse and commonplace should prosper, worthless as their prosperity is, while more ethereal natures seek satisfaction in vain through suffering. But the author leaves us in no doubt as to the truth that some kinds of failure are better worth achieving than some kinds of success.


It is not easy to decide whether the domestic or the public element predominates in this novel. Influences and events in the national history are so linked with family growth and fortunes that the author seems to waver between asking sympathy for a story of home life, and deserving admiration for a serious political tract. One trait at least is common to all the leading characters, whether in their relations of kinship or their wider range of duty as citizens-that of a high and intelligent morality.

By choosing to tell his story as an autobiography, Waldfried gains a central position that gives clearness and uniformity to his interpretation of family changes and passing events. The wife he worships and mourns, the prince he serves and judges, are strongly individualized by his own knowledge of them, which gives a curious feeling of truth and intimacy to the reader thus taken into his confidence. The life-story seems to be confessed far more than composed, and the narrator with delicate art shows himself to be guided quite as much as he guides others, and wins respect from the very frankness of his weaknesses. Everywhere the sense of some outward control over the course both of public events and of the quiet lives they disturb and mould is implied rather than defined. This unseen rule is not accepted as a mournful decree of fate, nor welcomed as religion welcomes the idea of Providence. It leaves on the reader the impression that the narrator feels himself to be, like all other human beings, whether single actors or combined into nations, only a helpless unit in a general resistless movement. The feeling haunts the domestic story as it haunts the pages of "Wilhelm Meister," and inspires the history of public events as Schiller's fine poetic sense breathes it into the lines of " Don Carlos."

It is with the newest politics of his fatherland that the author deals, almost approaching the jourWaldfried nalist's region of to-day's occurrences. is old enough to have been an actor in the futile revolutions of '48, and to have followed German development through the Austrian war down to the conquest of France, and the consolidation of the Empire. He paints the early struggle for nationality defeated by the powers that were. He describes the agglomeration of states about two hostile centers as the first step towards their combination under one head. And he exults in the establishment of German unity without foreboding as to the effect upon true freedom of the blood and iron cement that holds it together. That unity once attained, he inquires no further into its permanence. As if the jealousies and hatreds of the race were all extinguished at the goal, he forecasts no evil from the dissidences of North and South, liberal and absolute, Protestant and Catholic, which he knows how to describe as so flagrant and deadly, while the

*Waldfried. A Novel by Berthold Auerbach. New York: Henry Holt & Co.

contest for union was going on. A foreign war fused them all for the time, and we should gather no hint from Waldfried that they were not composed in permanent peace. If he is silent upon the conflict between latent communism and traditional mediævalism, it may be because it is easier to explain than to predict the leadings of the unknown And if the strife now power that guides events. raging between Protestantism and Catholicism passes unmentioned, it is because he regards it only as an incident of progress—a stage in the contest to which alone he gives seriousness in these pages between theology and morality.

In the connection of his own family circle with these great movements of public interests, Waldfried finds an ample field for illustrating the opposing work of principle and of passion. Active heroism and simple goodness, the eagerness of selfishness, the punishment of ungoverned passion, the acquiescence of commonplace people, and the baseness of ignoble ones, all find their part to play on the greater stage of political development. There is a singular distinctness in the chief characters, and in the subordinate ones no little humor and freshness. The touch of German peculiarities clearly marks the localities, and manners, and the modifications of these in the members of the family who came into it from a foreign stock, or return to it with foreign experience, are nicely shaded. One of these at least, Martella, is the picture of an original never before drawn-a wildling of nature, springing up among settled and trim surroundings, and in her outright vehemence and frank sacrifice of everything to self, a true savage, only tamed by the love that she follows as a thing of course, to her death on the battlefield, where she finds and joins at last her lost lover.

rative that gives such stereoscopic completeness to the whole. His work is never hazy nor raveled about the edges. He has mastered the art of making fiction appear like recorded fact; it is by turning his attention to the reproduction of what the painters call "the accessories." He describes like a botanist. His stories of adventure with wild animals read like a page of Buffon. Indeed, the only wearisome part of Jules Verne's books is that in which he lets the encyclopedia get the better of his fancy. So long as he gives his imagination full play he is delightful reading; we yawn only when we strike the evidences of his "cramming."

Jules Verne.

A WRITER who follows Daniel De Foe or Dean Swift in the invention of realistic fiction must be bold indeed. To produce anything that shall be as life-like as "Robinson Crusoe," or as ingeniously deceptive as "Gulliver's Travels," seems now impossible. Nevertheless, M. Jules Verne has admirably succeeded in beguiling the reading world with his skillful and amusing tales of travel and adventure. Few writers of modern times are comparable with him for fertility of resource, ingenuity and versatility. His inventive powers seem inexhaustible; his pen is as prolific as his fancy. Verne's peculiar vein is that of the improbable-probable. Given, a locality of which we know nothing, Verne fills it with living, breathing figures, clothes it with vivid natural characteristics, and presents it to us with all the minute detail of a photograph, and with the color of an accomplished artist.

This apparent fidelity to detail, which is only a conscientious attention to all the elements of deception, is the chief charm of Verne's work. It is his care for seemingly irrelevant points in the nar

Verne has evidently selected several branches of science for illustration. In his "Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea," for example, he professes to explore the wonders of the deep. His submarine machine is a possibility of mechanical science; but he fills his tale with marvels of marine monsters, with phenomena and mystery of the sea. In his "Around the World in Eighty Days," he invades geography, making time-tables and steam-lines minister to the requirements of his eccentric Englishman, who wins a wager and puts a girdle around the world inside of the prescribed eighty days. It is easy to see how the commonplaces of travel may be made romantic by the novelty of the adventure, and the imminence of failure. And the vraisemblance is possible when the story-teller has absorbed the impressions of men who have gone upon the same route, and have published their own story. African adventure and travel form the basis of another deceptive fiction in "Meridiana," (published by Scribner, Armstrong & Co.) In this book we have the story of three Englishmen and three Russians, who, measuring an arc of meridian in South Africa, bring us vivid souvenirs of various travelers from the time of Bruce to that of Schweinfurth. Of course, there is enough astronomy and mathematics thrown in to relieve the book of a superfluity of geography. Chemistry has unique illustration in "Dr. Ox" (published by J. R. Osgood & Co.), a story of an experimenter who introduced oxygen into a phlegmatic Dutch town, on pretence of furnishing a cheap gas for illumination. The effects of an excess of oxygen on human, animal and vegetable life are only exaggerated enough to make an amusing sketch.

Science and researches therein form the staples of "A Journey to the Center of the Earth," and "From the Earth to the Moon;" but in "The Mysterious Island," now in process of publication in this magazine, the author evidently proposes to gather up the results of a great variety of scientific observation. He has begun with erostatics, meterology and geography, with a slight dash of natural history. It is evident that he proposes to show how a party of men may live happily on a desert island, destitute of the appliances of civilized life, by making use of mechanical and scientific knowledge.

It is, probable, that as the story develops, it will continue more fascinating than it now appears.

Naturally critics are asking if semi-scientific stories like these of Verne's are of real value. It may be said that the fictitious element destroys the science, which is nothing if not accurate; and that the airing of so much erudition is a bore where one seeks amusement in story-reading. There is some justice in this criticism. It must be confessed that Verne's geography is sometimes shaky, as, for example, when he gives his travelers a snow-storm where one was never possibly known; and his facts do sometimes hitch loosely to his imagination, which runs far ahead of the verities. Nevertheless the great popularity of Verne's works is sufficient answer to any who may urge that these objections are fatal to the interest at least. His "Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea" was a new revelation to the book-devouring boy of the period. Its first editions were exhausted as soon as issued ; and from the time of its appearance until now the demand for Verne's works has steadily increased. And if, to take an extreme illustration,-certain of those who have the interests of literature at heart are

content to let Sylvanus Cobb serve as a steppingstone for "the masses" to Thackeray; why may not some such a view hold good in science?

Lange on the Minor Prophets.

THE volume of Lange's commentary which is devoted to the Minor Prophets (and which is the latest contribution of the publishers toward the completion of their great enterprise), is made especially valuable by a general introduction by Professor Elliot, of Chicago, in which the subject of prophecy is discussed with much learning and ability, and in a spirit of candor and fairness which will command general respect. The commentary is marked by the same general characteristics which have secured for this series of volumes such wide

spread popularity and usefulness. It is to be remarked, however, that the commentary on the books of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi is not a

The Pressure of Sap in Plants.

A REPORT on this matter by Prof. W. S. Clarke, of Amherst, presents points of great interest from an agricultural point of view. From it we make the following extracts:

translation from the German, but the direct and independent work of Dr. Schaff's accomplished assistants, Mr. McCurdy, of Princeton, Dr. Chambers, of New York, and Dr. Packard, of Alexandria, Va.

A mercurial pressure gauge was attached to a sugar-maple, March 31st, which was three days after the maximum flow of sap for this species. Of the record made, the following facts are especially

Thackeray and Dickens.

THE second volume in the ''Bric-a-Brac Series" of Scribner, Armstrong and Co., is devoted to "Anecdote Biographies of Thackeray and Dickens." It is not less interesting than the first of the series; perhaps, indeed, the interest is greater, because the two heroes are nearer and more familiar to us. The two heroes, we say, yet the reader will feel that Thackeray is the real hero of the book. There is much more about him here than about the other; and if we should judge merely from this collection of ana, we should judge his to be the more subtile, refined, frank and noble nature of the two. It was, we suppose, difficult to obtain fresh material concerning Dickens, and so the reader is not kept long enough in his company to know how good it is; to understand fully the potent charm of his hand-pressure and fellowship. If the enthusiast charge Stoddard, the editor, with partiality, he should acknowledge that Stoddard, the poet, has done equal justice. At any rate, there is suggestive criticism in the two poems by him, preserved among the memorial verses of this collection. The ghost of Thackeray is greeted to the sacred place where the greatest dead abide-grand old Homer, the awful Florentine, sweet Cervantes, quaint Montaigne, Goethe, the only Shakespeare. But in the 'Gad's Hill" "In Memoriam," when the shade of Dickens reaches that sacred place, we do not see Homer or Dante move to welcome him. Shakespeare makes room for him, indeed; but it is Shakespeare, the humorist.

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"Nay, Shakespeare's self was not his peer
In that humane and happy art
To wake at once the smile and tear,
And captive hold the heart!

Make room, then, Shakespeare, this is he Hath taken the throne of mirth from thee."

interesting: First, the mercury was subject to constant and singular oscillations, standing usually in the morning below zero, which indicated a powerful suction into the tree. With the rise of the sun this changed to a pressure in the opposite direction, which after a time sustained a column of water many feet in height. Thus, at 7 A. M., April 21st, there was a suction into the tree sufficient to raise a column of water nearly twenty-six feet. As soon as the morning sun began to shine on the tree, the mercury

bank from the sun. A root was then followed from the trunk to the distance of ten feet, where it was carefully cut off one foot below the surface. The end of the root thus entirely detached from the tree, and lying in a horizontal position at the depth of one foot, in the cold, damp earth, unreached by the sunshine, and, for the most part, unaffected by the temperature of the atmosphere, measured about one inch in diameter. To this a mercurial gauge was carefully attached April 26th. The pressure at once became evident, and rose constantly with very slight fluctuations, until, at noon on the 30th of April, it had attained the unequalled height of 85.80 feet of water.

suddenly began to rise, and at 9.15 A. M. the pressure outward was enough to sustain a column of water over eighteen feet high, a change represented by more than forty-four feet of water. On the morning of April 22d the change was still greater, requiring for its representation over forty-seven feet of water. These extraordinary fluctuations were not attended by any peculiar state of the weather, and happened twelve days before there were any indications of growth to be detected in the buds.

The maximum was over thirty-one feet on April 11. After April 29th the mercury remained constantly below zero both day and night. During May there was a uniform suction equal to about eight feet of water, and the unaccountable feature of this fact is, that though apparently produced by exhalation from the expanding leaves, it remained the same, day and night, for several weeks. In June the suction gradually lessened, and finally disappeared, the mercury standing steadily at zero.

On the 20th April, two gauges were attached to a large black birch, one at the ground, and the other thirty feet higher. The next morning, at six o'clock, the lower gauge indicated the astonishing pressure of 56 65 feet of water, and the upper one of 26'74 feet. The difference between the indications of the two guages was 29.92 feet, while the actual distance between them was 30.20 feet. The upper gauge was then raised twelve feet higher, with the effect of changing the difference in the indications of the two gauges, exactly the same amount. On April 21st, a hole was bored into the tree on the side opposite to the lower gauge, and at the same level. Both gauges at once began to show diminished pressure, while sap issued freely from the orifice. In fifteen minutes, one pound of sap having escaped, it was found that both gauges had fallen equal to 19:27 feet of water. Upon closing the hole the gauges rose in ten minutes to their previous level, showing that the rootlets had re-absorbed in that brief period the sap which had escaped from the tree, nothwithstanding the enormous pressure already existing.

"To make my story intelligible, I would first state that I am partial owner of some property on the Oregon coast, on which a saw-mill had been placed, but which, owing to various causes, has never been in operation. On this property was a dwellinghouse for the hands, in which, on work being discontinued, were stored a quantity of stuff, tools, packing for the engine, six or seven kegs of large spikes; in the closets, knives, forks, spoons, &c. A large cooking-stove was left in one of the rooms.


A stop cock was then inserted into the lower hole, when it was found that the communication between it and the two gauges was almost instantaneous, which proves that the tree was entirely filled with sap, exerting its pressure in all directions as freely as if standing in a cylindrical vessel more than sixty feet in height. The sap pressure continued to increase, until on the 11th day of May it represented a column of water nearly eighty-five feet in height. The buds now began to expand, the pressure of the sap to diminish, and first the upper and afterwards the lower gauge gradually approached the zero point.


This house was left uninhabited for two years, and being at some distance from the little settlement, it was frequently broken into by tramps who sought a shelter for the night. When I entered this house I was astonished to see an immense rat's nest on the empty stove. On examining this nest, which was about five feet in height, and occupied the whole top of the stove (a large range), I found the outside was composed entirely of spikes, all laid with symmetry, so as to present the points of the nails outwards. In the center of this mass was the nest, composed of finely divided fibres of the hemp packing. Interlaced with the spikes, we found the following: About three dozen knives, forks and spoons, all the butcher knives, three in number, a large carving knife, fork and steel, several large plugs of tobacco; the outside casing of a silver

To determine whether any other force than the vital action of the roots was necessary to produce the extraordinary phenomena described, a gauge was attached to the root of a black birch, as follows: The tree stood in moist ground, at the foot of the south slope of a ravine, in such a situation that the earth around it was shaded by the overhanging

The California Wood-Rat.

IN a letter to Prof. Silliman, Mr. A. W. Chase, Assistant U. S. Coast Survey, gives the following account of a singular habit of this creature: "It is a little larger than an ordinary Norway rat, dark brown in color, with large, lustrous eyes, and a tail covered with thin hairs. I should call it intermediate between the squirrel and the rat. This creature builds its nest in the woods, sometimes on the ground, more frequently in the lower branches of It accumulates a surprising quantity of dried twigs, which are interlaced to form a domeshaped structure, often ten or twelve feet high and six or eight feet in diameter.



Openings in the mass lead to the center, where the nest is found, consisting of the finely-divided inner bark of trees, dried grass, &c. But it is to a peculiar thievish propensity of this little creature that I wish to call attention.

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