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Mallock's "Romance of the Nineteenth
MR. MALLOCK has but one theme. He goes about among the men of his generation as if he felt that a burden for them had been laid upon him, and he proposed to let no sense of his limitations as a prophet, or his purblindness as a seer, interfere with its delivery. What he has to say reaches a very numerous class of readers, not solely on account of his style and the better qualities of his thought, but also because his range of suggestion, if not wide, is at least very long, going dangerously near the lowest depths which decent thought and speech can touch on one hand, and appealing on the other to that longing for the highest which, in one shape or another, lives in us all. To make life endurable, he says, it must be made to yield an adequate personal satisfaction: but such a satisfaction is unattainable in the present state of things, when reason has eaten away the foundations of faith for the reasonable, and poverty and unreason have so far felt the solvents of unbelief that they no longer suffer with patience, because they no longer suffer with undoubting hope. Without a downright faith in God, based on revelation and upheld by dogma, life is empty-emptier by far to those who have leisure and wealth and intellect sufficient to let them test fully its entire range of substitutes for God than it can possibly be to others. Mr. Mallock was not the first to feel this-it was a genius and a poet of the fourth century, and not of the nineteenth, who after a youth of pleasure gave utterance to that famous cry: "Thou hast made us, O God, for thyself, and our hearts are unrestful till they find repose in thee!" But the longing for God is all that Mr. Mallock finds words for. When he has told us that pleasure is deceitful, and beauty is vain, and that the woman who does not fear the Lord is not to be praised, he has nothing to add except that, although he thinks he knows in what direction God might be sought for, yet he has himself utterly failed to find him there, and has a bitter suspicion that he has no existence. On the whole, we doubt whether the good in this nineteenth century romance compensates for its lack of art, its incongruity, and occasional grossness. One disagreeable peculiarity of Mr. Mallock's-hiş apparent inability even to imagine a woman who shall be entirely free from impure suggestion, if not in herself at least in her speech-has never, we believe, been so openly displayed as in this volume. Cynthia we find a quite incredible monstrosity.
Poynter's "Among the Hills." f
THIS is a thoroughly well told and interesting story of English rural life, but it is not altogether a pleasant one. It is the history, as its author tells us in the outset, "of one who, with keen sensibilities and some capacity for greatness, found
A Romance of the Nineteenth Century. By W. H. Mallock, author of "Is Life Worth Living?" "The New Republic," etc. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.
Among the Hills. By E. Frances Poynter, author of "My Little Lady." Leisure-hour series. New York: Henry Holt & Co.
herself imprisoned in a narrow and untoward lot, out of which it seemed exceptionally hard to struggle into freedom and light." Hetty is the badly deformed apprentice of a village milliner, endowed with a passionate heart and great suscepti bility to beauty, and, naturally, doomed to suffer all the more keenly through the possession of such gifts. The story of her thwarted love, of her great miseries and small compensations, of her mad attempt to end her troubles by suicide, and the final meager happiness which comes from no higher consideration than that this attempt has, by making her bedridden, at least succeeded in hiding her deformity, the story of all this is, to say the least of it, not cheerful reading. There are, nevertheless, some very attractive scenes and characters in the book-pretty, modest, self-respecting Jenny and her wise mother being especially well drawn. At the same time, when the main purpose of a work of modern art seems to be the delineation of hopeless suffering, unrelieved by the lights emanating from that source which has made the modern world, one is forced to reflect that the old pagan way of putting suffering out of sight, and counting poverty of all sorts a disgrace, was not without its wisdom.
Marion Harland's "Handicapped."
THIS is a collection of stories already familiar to magazine readers in their separate form. They are all characterized by their author's usual shrewd and kindly common sense, and, though entirely distinct in other respects, possess an identity of purpose which makes the title selected for the series equally appropriate to each member of it. The one sketch entitled "The Heart of John Stewart" shows that the conclusion is not absolutely inevitable, but, putting that aside, we should infer that the result of Marion Harland's long study of human nature was the sad conviction that in the race of life it is invariably her own sex which carries the heavy weights. Selfish husbands, heartless and faithless lovers, patient but worn-out wives, and self-sacrificing maid. ens abound in her pages until the result, if it cannot be denied verisimilitude, must also be acknowledged as depressing. The tales are so evenly meritorious that it is not easy to discriminate between them, but "One Old Maid" is, to our thinking, the pleasantest of the series, and "Nurse Brown's Story" the least agreeable. But there is none of them which, taken singly, will not give the reader of it a pleasant and suggestive half-hour.
Lucy Larcom's "Wild Roses of Cape Ann, and Other Poems."t
THERE is nothing very distinctive about these sweet and pure little poems. They are thoroughly feminine in their refinement, and have the New England conscientiousness. That gentle, religious melancholy which is the latest and most womanly
*Handicapped. By Marion Harland. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1881.
Wild Roses of Cape Ann, and Other Poems. By Lucy Larcom. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
form of inherited Puritanism, seems to have been deepened in this case by an early bereavement,-the death of a sister or friend,-to which frequent allusion is made in the poems.
The piece which gives its name to the volume is a sea-side idyl in the manner of Whittier's "The Tent
on the Beach." The blank verse is the blank verse of a Sigourney, and the pools of reflection into which the poem spreads are very placid indeed. But some of the interspersed songs are pretty, and notably the one entitled "The Old Hymns," in which the author celebrates
"The psalm-tunes of the Puritan ;
Down shuddering through the abyss of man,
The long, quaint words, the humdrum rhyme,
Than modern childhood knows."
The local flavor is that of the Massachusetts coast in the neighborhood of Beverly,—a level landscape of woods, salt-marshes, creeks, and magnolia swamps. Miss Larcom has not the same intimate sympathy with the sea that Celia Thaxter's poems exhibit; possibly because the latter lives on an island, while the former has the inland country at her back. "I do not love the sea," she writes,
"I love the west wind's breath, That softly wandereth
Out of the forest fragrance deep."
"The Lady Arbella," "Mistress Hale of Beverly," and "A Gambrel Roof," are bits of history or legend from old colony days, in which the tone is taken from Longfellow and Whittier, and in which those now familiar figures, Endicott, Winthrop, the Salem witches, etc., re-appear perhaps with rather less than their wonted freshness. "A Strip of Blue" and "A Prairie Nest are among the more imaginative of the short poems. But the strongest emotion appealed to in the book is the religious sentiment, and upon the whole, we like the religious pieces best; particularly “Winter Midnight," beginning:
"Speak to us out of midnight's heart,
And "Yet Onward," from which we give a single
"At friendly shores, at peaceful isles,
I touch, but may not long delay; Where Thy flushed East with mystery smiles,
I steer into the unrisen day."
Miss Larcom's poetry will come home to that large class of readers-mainly women-who seek in poetry a sympathetic expression of certain of their own moods, rather than a satisfaction of their æsthetic instincts, or a stimulus to their imaginations.
THE WORLD'S WORK.
Recent Progress in Telephony. SCIENTIFIC discoveries that may in any way become useful in the arts, in manufactures, and business are now regarded with universal attention, and, if they have real merits, find an immediate application upon a commercial scale, and almost invariably prove of profit both to the inventor and the public. This tends greatly to the advantage of science, because the commercial value of any discovery gives a new impulse to research. The announcement of a new invention is followed by renewed research on a wider scale by many investigators. The telephone is an illustration of this, for it was not only at once adopted in business, but the labors of a large number of experimenters led to new discoveries and improvements. Among the latest inventions in this field is a telephonic system that differs radically from any of those now in use.
Electricity is best described as being a manifestation of energy. In the school-book experiment of rubbing a glass rod and then bringing it near some loose bits of paper, we have the familiar frictional electricity as a manifestation of the energy spent in rubbing the glass rod. The manifestation appears in the actual work of raising the bits of paper. The source of energy may be a battery, and the work performed may be the movement of a vibrating plate. Another familiar electrical apparatus is the induction coil. A few feet of stout copper wire is insulated and wound around a bundle of soft-iron wires. This coil is inclosed
within a second coil of much longer and finer insulated wire. If an electrical current is sent from a battery through the first, or primary, coil, a second and much more intense current is produced by induction in the second coil. These currents are called the primary and secondary currents. In the Reis telephone, the vibrations of a diaphragm set in motion by the sonorous vibrations of the voice may be used to alter the resistance in an electrical circuit, or, in other words, may change the force of an electrical current flowing through it. It is with these familiar appliances that the new telephone has been constructed.
Figure 1 is an ideal representation of the principal parts of the telephone. At T is the transmitter in the small circuit formed by the battery B, the R
first coil, and the two wires connecting them. second coil is shown in connection with the first, and is supposed to cover it completely. L is the line-wire and R is the receiver. At E and E are the earth connections with the coil and the receiver. Figure 2 gives the details of the receiver. Two diaphragms are inclosed in the holder that is conven
iently arranged for the hand, the first being fastened rigidly in place and connected with the line-wire through the handle. The second diaphragm is fastened only at the edges, and is free to vibrate. There is a small air-space between the diaphragms, and a ring of insulating material at the edges to keep them apart. The wire in practice enters the handle and the edge instead of the back, and the earth-wire may be omitted, as the hand and arm of the person holding the receiver seem to answer the same purpose.
From these figures we may get an idea of the method of operating the telephone. The energy obtained from the battery sets up a current in the primary circuit of the induction coil, and this by induction creates the secondary current that, passing over the line-wire, affects the diaphragm in the receiver. This at once attracts or pulls the outer diaphragm toward it, and the air outside follows it. If the current is cut off or reduced in force, the attraction between the diaphragms is lessened or destroyed, and the outer diaphragm springs back, driving the air before it. In the Reis telephone, a thin diaphragm is placed over an opening in a small wooden box. At the center of this is placed a small piece of platinum, and resting lightly on this is a
piece of bent wire that forms LINE part of the primary electrical circuit. A second opening is made in the side of the box, and the person using the transmitter speaks at this opening. The vibrations set up by the voice cause the diaphragm to move in unison with it, and this movement is exactly reproduced in the primary circuit, and reproduced again in the secondary circuit. This system is both novel and very simple, the apparatus is easily made, and, as far as can be learned, is readily kept in working order. It works with very small expenditure of power in the battery, and is free from all extraneous sounds. In addition to this, any number of receivers may be attached to one main line, and words spoken in a single transmitter may be heard equally well in all. In the telephone examined, the speech came quite as clearly and distinctly as in the common forms of telephone, and, with the exception of the slight click at the beginning and end of each message, the receiver was absolutely silent when not in use. The form of the transmitter is somewhat different from the Reis instrument from which it was taken, and all parts of the apparatus appear to be admirably designed for convenience in use. This form of telephone is the invention of Professor A. E. Dolbear, and reflects great credit upon his own labors and upon American science.
IN the November, 1879, number of this magazine, the editor of this department ventured the opinion that the time was not far distant when the people, and particularly householders, would demand a gas fuel to replace the use of wood and coal
in shops and dwellings. On page 413, volume XIV., some description was given in this department of a method of making a water-gas that would be suitable for fuel. This water-gas process has been extensively adopted in this country for making illuminating gas, and more recently it has been joined to another and allied process, and gas fuel for domestic and business purposes is now made on a large scale in the city of Yonkers, New York. The predictions concerning gaseous fuel seem to be abundantly fulfilled. The new gas fuel is used by tailors to heat their irons, by jewelers as a blowpipe flame, without the aid of any extra pres. sure (thus dispensing with the blow-pipe), and by tinsmiths in heating their soldering-irons. In the case of the tailor's goose and the soldering-iron, the gas is burned directly in the tools, and they may be used continuously, without the delay of heating in a furnace. In the manufacture of hats, the gas fuel is used to heat irons and embossing tools of all kinds, replacing charcoal fires and the use of illuminating gas. The new gas is clean and intensely hot, leaves no deposit of soot, and does not stain nor injure white fabrics. For domestic use, both in heating and cooking, the new fuel has been received with the utmost favor by all classes, and is being rapidly introduced into a large number of dwellings. The price is fifty cents per thousand feet, and a little less to large consumers. At this rate, a range used in a restaurant for eighteen hours a day consumes about six cents' worth of gas. A domestic stove for a small family will consume about two cents' worth. The heating of a tailor's goose for six hours is given at two and a half cents, and the cost of a jeweler's blow-pipe for fuel in ten hours is about one cent. The gas is being applied to smiths' forges and for tempering steel. For power it is being used in gas-engines, the Ottor motor being preferred. It is thought to be better to do this than to burn the gas under a boiler in making steam. The prospect for cheap gas fuel seems now to be fully assured. The demand for the gas in Yonkers appears to be active, and steps are being taken to introduce this most val uable fuel into several of our large cities. All that was here claimed for a gaseous fuel appears to be fully realized in actual daily practice on a commercial scale.
Experiments in Crossing Wheat.
THE peculiar manner of flowering displayed by the common wheat-plant makes it appear quite unlikely that varieties of wheat are, except in very rare instances, the result of crossing. The pistils and stamens are inclosed in a casing or leafy sheath, and there is no movement of pollen from one plant to another, as seen' in the squash, in corn, and many other plants. The varieties of wheat, it is thought, originated chiefly from the influence of their surroundings. The soil, the aspect, and atmosphere in time change the character of the plant and impress on it new characteristics, and these become fixed by continual repetition. Efforts have from time to time been made to produce new
varieties of wheat by crossing, but with comparatively limited results. The most recent experiments in this direction were made in the Agricultural Experiment station connected with the "Rural NewYorker" in July of this year, and from an examination of the plants that had been treated, made after the seeds had begun to ripen, success seems to have been secured. The operation was long and very delicate, and consisted in gently bending back the leafy casing surrounding the largest and best buds in a head of wheat before they flowered, carefully cutting out the unripe stamens, and putting in their place stamens from the buds of another variety. The pistils, it may be remarked, were then ripe and in a condition to receive the pollen. The leaflets were then allowed to spring back into place, inclosing the new stamens with the pistils, and a worsted thread was carefully wound around the bud to prevent it from opening. The work of fertilizing the best buds in a head of wheat required more than two hours, as the operation was a most delicate and tedious one. The head of wheat was then tied to a stake, to protect it from the wind and birds. The result, so far, proved most successful, for a large number of the flowers perfected their fruit, and enough ripe seeds were obtained to make a fair trial in planting. The fact that each stamen when operated on was in an immature state, and was entirely removed, shows that a true cross was obtained. Whether the new plants that may spring from the seed will exhibit the characteristics of both parents remains to be seen, but good seeds were obtained by the operation described, and this is regarded as a valuable addition to our knowledge of the wheat-plant.
Preservation of Iron Surfaces.
IN 1876, a new process for covering iron and steel surfaces, to protect them from rusting, was announced, and attracted much attention. It was known as the "Barff process," and aimed to protect the metals by covering them with a film of magnetic oxide. The results obtained were very promising, and the process was soon followed by a second, known as the " Bower process," that aimed at the same thing by a different method. Both processes were duly described in this department. While neither method ever became generally useful, the experiments were continued, and both processes have now been united, and, in a greatly improved form, have been introduced on a commercial scale. In the first of these processes, the iron articles were placed in a small retort or muffle, and brought to a high temperature by external heating of the muffle, and then admitting super-heated steam. The iron took up the oxygen, and became coated with a film of magnetic oxide that would effectually resist exposure to air or water. The other process reached the same end by means of highly heated air applied in the same manner; but both processes proved too expensive to be of general use. In the later methods used, a large chamber of fire-brick is built, and connected with it are several gas-producers. The gas, as fast as made,
is mixed with highly heated air and burned, and the product of combustion, added to a little free air, is admitted to the chamber. The articles are heated by contact with the hot carbonic acid and air, and take the oxygen from both. The result is a film of magnetic oxide adhering to the articles, and covered with an outer film of sesqui-oxide. This takes about half an hour, when the air is shut off and carbonic oxide is led into the chamber, which serves to reduce this upper film to magnetic oxide. This process is repeated, alternately oxidizing and deoxidizing, till a film of sufficient thickness is secured. The process admits of the use of any iron, however rusty the surface, only a rough cleaning being necessary before the articles are put in the apparatus to be treated. The Barff process is said to be best for wrought. iron, and the Bower for cast-iron. In the latest form of appatatus both air and steam are used, and the two processes are united. Any size or shape of iron articles or materials can be treated, and at much cheaper rates than by either of the old methods. The color of the film is said to be excellent, varying between a French gray and black. Careful experiments with steel coated with the magnetic oxide film show that the strength or character of the metal was in no wise injured by the process.
Disposal of Kitchen Refuse.
THE difficulties attending the disposal of kitchen refuse in thickly settled parts of New York City has led to the custom of burning the waste in the range. This is always attended with some difficulty, as the material consists largely of water, and does not readily burn, unless it is first dried. To enable the housekeeper, limited to the narrow quarters of a city flat, to dispose of the refuse in a quick and cleanly manner, a small cremator, or destructor, has been introduced, that certainly has the merit of cheapness and simplicity. From an inspection of the apparatus, it would appear to be a useful addition to the kitchen utensils. It consists of a strong zinc pail, having a gutter, or rim, around the top, that may be filled with water. A cover fits over the pail, dipping into the water in the deep rim, and thus making a water-sealed cap that will be perfectly air-tight. The bottom of the pail has an opening in the center, of the same size as the holes in the top of the stove, this opening being surrounded by a raised rim. Inside this pail is a smaller pail of zinc, open at the bottom and perforated with holes around the sides. Just under this is a double trap-door, that may be opened or closed by means of a handle on the out. side of the apparatus. In use, the kitchen refuse is placed in the inner pail, with the trap closed. Water is placed in the rim, to seal the cover, and the whole is placed over an open fire-hole on the range or stove. A very short time answers to dry the material, when the handle is turned and it is allowed to drop into the fire, where it is quickly destroyed. There is no escape of odors, and the liquid waste is evaporated and passes into the fire as steam, without doing any harm. The apparatus is well worth examination and trial by householders.
At Long Branch.
THE waltzes were over at Leland's,
For I own to you, Nell, I was choking,
Now Tom, as you know, is too handsome
Yes, I honestly own I had flirted,
But only a little, in fun,
And 'twas clear she was trying to catch him,
I felt in my bones 'twas all over,-
I cannot describe my emotions,
The occasion, you know, proves the hero,
"Would I walk on the breezy veranda?"
'Oh, thank you "-now, Nell, you can guess
How it all came around, and imagine
That moment of choking distress
When I said, seeing Tom through the window, Indeed, sir, you-that is-why-y-es."
So it's all coming off in October;
I am having my trousseau from Worth.
But, somehow-that is-well, I don't know-
Aphorisms from the Quarters.
Grubbin' a stump is a good way to whet up your 'ligion.
Heap o' people rickerlec' favors by markin' 'em down in de snow.
Always drink pure water: many a man gits
drunk fum breakin' dis rule.
A smart man aint gwine to buck 'gin a mud-hole; he walks 'round it eb'ry time.
De sparrer-hawk would like to git a persition to 'tend to de chicken-yard an' keep off de minks.
De smoke-'ouse is safes' in de blackberry season. Rain-drops can't tell broadcloth fum jeans. De black gum laughs at de red oak when de wood-cutter comes 'round.
Waitin' on de table is a pow'ful way to git up a appetite.
De hen dat hatches out ducks is gwine to lose her chillun mighty quick.
Dar's nuffin' 'bout thinnin' corn in de spellin'. book.
Smart folks don't feel de teef ob a live squ'el. De black-snake keeps up wid de family secrets ob de settin' hens.
De fox wants to know how de rabbit's gittin' on. 'Taint much diffunce 'twix' a hornit an' a yaller. jacket when dey bofe git under your clo'es.
Some niggers got so much 'ligion dey want to hab Sunday eb'ry day.
It don't make much diffunce 'bout what sort o' plow you use, ef you jes' hab de right sort o' mule in front an' de right sort o' nigger behin'.
It puts you in a good humor to git hold ob a fat pig-specially right arter it's been bobbykewed. De cotton-patch don't keer which way you vote. You can't hurry up good times by waitin' for 'em.
IN a garb that was guiltless of colors
The folds of her garment fell round her,
From the hem of her robe peeped one sandal-
Impressed by her limpness and languor,
Some praises I next tried to mutter
And waved it with languishing grace.
I then, in a strain quite poetic,
Her lovely face, lit by the splendor
"Oh, tell me," I cried, growing bolder,