Puslapio vaizdai

ber of The Annals of Psychical Science Dr. Arnaldo Cervesato has a paper on "Destiny," in which he relates an experience of his own in the operation of what he thinks are certain guiding forces outside himself. He was in Berlin on September 26th, 1908, and was about to enter the underground railway to go to a luncheon-party, when a sudden sense of "a strange well-being" induced him to wheel round and return to his hotel to finish some, important letters which he had reluctantly left a minute before merely because he was too tired to continue writing. "I returned to my work," he says; "and it was whilst I was finishing my correspondence that--on the same line I had been about to travel over-between 1 and 1.30 there occurred that terrible disaster which the English readers of The Annals may still remember; for the disaster of the 26th September last was, after that of the Metropolitan in Paris, two years ago, the most terrible railway catastrophe which has taken place since this system of traction has existed in European cities." We could wish that Dr. Arnaldo Cervesato were accurate in all things. The Paris accident happened nearly six years ago, on August 10th, 1903. Inaccuracy in him, however, does not affect the possibility of what he calls indications or rapports interceding between man and his destiny. He perceives that he may have been saved only by a piece of good luck which had no ordered place in the scheme of his life or of the world, but he prefers to offer this confession of faith:-"In the first place, the further the study of the laws of Nature is carried, the further she seems from yielding any place in the chain of conclusions to the intervention of that unknown but extremely convenient personage, Chance; in the second place, the multiplicity of examples of this kind grows much too important each

day to permit of denying to a whole collectivity of phenomena that right to investigation which one has perhaps exceptionally the option of denying to a few sporadic facts without precedent or sequent." He imagines the guiding "Force" as acting coherently and in accordance with a great natural law,-it makes "the least possible effort in order to produce the greatest possible result." Thus, if he had finished his letters and had no obvious reason for returning to his hotel, the Force would have had to exert a much greater effort to interpose some singular obstacle to deter him from taking the journey on which his mind was immediately bent. The thought of the persons who were not deterred from taking the journey, and did perish in the accident, will cause some readers to stick at the egoism which is implicit in this argument. Dr. Cervesato thinks the Force capable of absolute and final intervention when necessary by acting by inhibition on the centre of the faculty of the will. We are not troubled by his suggestion that the Force may "function in the reverse," and impel a man unsuspectingly to his doom; but the difficulty we have mentioned before remains with us, that the "Force" often acts on people without any justification. We should like to know the proportion between real and false alarms. He says nothing of this, and of course the matter is of its nature extremely difficult to investigate.

Is it material for poets and mystics alone, this "mysterious selection," as Maeterlinck has called it, which is at work for months or years, or perhaps only for moments, among those who propose to themselves what will be (or would be if they undertook it) a fatal journey? Maeterlinck believes in the reality of the guidance, whatever it may be. In a passage quoted by Dr. Cervesato he says:

It is a remarkable and constant fact that great catastrophes claim infinitely fewer victims than the most reasonable probabilities might have led one to suppose. At the last moment a fortuitous or exceptional circumstance is almost always found to have kept away half, and sometimes two-thirds, of the persons who were threatened by the still invisible danger. A steamer that goes to the bottom has generally fewer passengers on board than would have been the case had she not been destined to go down. Two trains that collide, an express that falls over a precipice, etc., carry less travellers than they would on a day when nothing is going to happen. Should a bridge collapse, the accident will generally be found to occur, in defiance of all probability, at the moment the crowd has just left it. In the case of fires in theatres and other public places, things unfortunately happen otherwise. But there, as we know, the principal danger does not lie in the fire, but in the panic of the terror-stricken crowd. Again, a fire-damp explosion will usually occur at a time when the number of miners inside the mine is appreciably inferior to the number that would habitually be there. Similarly, when a powder factory is blown up, the majority of the workmen, who would otherwise all have perished, will be found to have left the mill for some trifling, but providential, reason. So true is this, that the almost unvarying remark, that we read every day in the papers, has become familiar and hackneyed, as: "A catastrophe which might have assumed terrible proportions was fortunately confined, thanks to such and such a circumstance," etc., etc.; or, "One shudders to think what might have happened had the accident occurred a moment sooner, when all the workmen, all the passengers," etc. Is this the clemency of Chance? are becoming ever less inclined to credit it with a personality, with design or intelligence. There is more The Spectator.


reason in the supposition that something in man has defined the disaster; that an obscure but unfailing instinct has preserved a great number of people from a danger that was on the point of taking shape, of assuming the imminent and imperious form of the inevitable; and that their unconsciousness, taking alarm, is seized with hidden panic, which manifests itself outwardly in a caprice, a whim, some puerile and inconsistent incident, that is yet irresistible and becomes the means of salvation.

Is that evidence of a more "legal" kind than we have in Wordsworth's lines on "Presentiments"?

How oft from you, derided Powers!
Comes Faith that in auspicious hours
Builds castles, not of air;
Bodings unsanctioned by the will
Flow from your visionary skill,
And teach us to beware.

Yet Wordsworth seems genuinely to have believed in presentiments as having much more than a poetic value, otherwise would he have written the. following verse?—

God, who instructs the brutes to scent All changes of the element,

Whose wisdom fixed the scale By higher, sometimes humbler, guides, Of natures, for our wants provides When lights of reason fail.

Those who would documenter this subject would do well, we should think, to collect the evidence on such a terrific event as the earthquake at Messina and Reggio. What percentage of genuine warnings can they discover among the persons who were accidentally kept away from those doomed cities?


Dr. L. D. Barnett's "The Golden Town" is his translation of a very small part of Soma-deva's "Ocean of Romance Rivers" written in the latter half of the eleventh century, and adapted from the "Great Romance" written at least five centuries earlier and possibly eight. The volume contains but three tales, "The Golden Town," "Sundura Luna and Mandaravati" and "Mriganka's Quest," but each tale is like a Chinese nest of boxes with other tales enclosed, and with these enclosing yet others. They abound in proverbial sayings and it seems as if the editor spoke truthfully when he wrote that "This little book of fiction may convey to its readers more vividly than learned and veracious treatises the spirit of India in the brave days of old." One certainly gathers many hints as to the manners, customs and ideals of the Hindu, and · English speaking folk cannot know too much of him now, when the daily papers cheerfully confound him with the Mohammedan and quote "a learned Parsi merchant" as authority regarding both. E. P. Dutton & Co.

"The Infamous John Friend," is a title to turn aside all but the most determined of novel readers, for the "infamous" of the twentieth century means something disgusting in more than in mere aberration from righteousness; but the time of the story is about a hundred years ago, and the tale is comparatively clean, touching very little upon anything worse than high treason made possible by persistent falsehood and unscrupulous deceit, spiced with the occasional shedding of blood. John Friend, supposed by Pitt to be his own secret agent, is really a

spy of Bonaparte and at one time also an agent of the French Royalists and their English friends. The author, Mrs. R. S. Garnett, first introduces him in his character of a husband so loving, so tender, and so unselfish that he revives his wife when science has abandoned her to death; so patient and gentle that his adopted daughter worships him; so true in friendship that he is beloved by nearly all who know him and disliked only by one whose hatred is flattery. His wife, with whom piety amounts to genius, is no more than worthy of him in his private character as a husband and she dies from pure inability to endure complete knowledge of his public wickedness. The lovers of the story are but sketched in comparison with these two, but the sketches are adequate, and the adventures of the pair are sufficiently novel to have made an commonly interesting tale had they been unsupported. The chorus, the flock of smugglers, the family groups scattered through Sussex are completely described and definite, and England in a panic is excellently sketched. She is less interesting by necessity than she is at this moment, because steam and electricity did not combine to renew her shivers of affright, and many classes now hysterical with dangerous little learning were ignorantly stolid; but she was interesting at that time with her views of the great enemy across the Channel, and her half-faith in her own great sons, and Mrs. Garnett with few words sets her forth most vividly. If this be a first book it is wonderful; if it has had predecessors, why are they not as famous as this soon must be? Henry Holt & Co.


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Saleh: A Sequel. Chapters XXV, XXVI and XXVII

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(Conclusion.) By Hugh Clifford. BLACK WOOD'S MAGAZINE Swinburne's Lyrical Poetry. By Alice Meynell DUBLIN REVIEW The Hotel on the Landscape. By Arnold Bennett

Other Kingdom. By E. M. Forster

Professor Simon Newcomb.

Vanishing Navies.

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Country Dancing.

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The Approaching Opposition of Mars.

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