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ment, the subtilty of its analysis, and the inexhaustible fertility of its illustrations drawn from all departments of knowledge. In grasp of thought and extent and variety of information it is generally conceded that Mr. Spencer has no equal among living philosophers; and these qualities, as well as his sin gularly nervous, vigorous, and lucid style, have never been more strikingly exhibited than in “The Data of Ethics."
THOUGH undeniably piquant and entertaining, the "Life and Letters of Madame Bonaparte" is a painful book-painful because it reveals human nature in one of its most repellent aspects. Rumor has had much to say about the talent and wit of Madame Bonaparte, and Mr. Didier repeats and enlarges upon the story; but candor compels us to say that the only thing which redeems the letters here published from absolute commonplaceness is their cynical and boastful selfishness, their sordid greed, their shallow conceit and levity, and their malicious ill-nature. Their preëminence in all these respects would be admitted, no matter to whom they were addressed, but the fact that the great majority of them were written to her father accentuates and emphasizes their deliberate malevolence. Mr. Patterson was in nearly everything the exact antithesis of his daughter; and while his own letters to her are dignified, considerate, and even kindly in tone, it is only too evident that one of her chief sources of satisfaction in writing to him was derived from the consciousness that her letters must annoy, irritate, and wound him. At the very time when to other correspondents she was complaining of her ennui at the artificial routine of society in Europe, she would write to him in the most enthusiastic terms of her brilliant social successes and enjoyments, interlarding her self-gratulations with the bitterest gibes and sneers at whatever occurred to her as distinctively American. Many of these gibes could hardly fail, and were doubtless intended, to be applied by her father to himself personally, since he was one of the most conspicuous members of that class of “tradesmen upon which she poured out her most withering scorn, while constantly envying them their money.
Mr. Didier expresses the opinion that Napoleon made a grievous blunder when he refused to recognize Madame Bonaparte as his brother's wife, and forbade her appearance in France, and intimates that she would have made a suitable match for the Emperor himself. It may be so, but there certainly is nothing in Mr. Didier's book to justify that impression. On the contrary, while conceding that Jerome acted a most dishonorable and cowardly part, the reader will be apt to feel that he had a happy escape, and that his brother did well, from a prudential point of view, in rescuing him from the consequences of his youthful escapade. It is perfectly evident
The Life and Letters of Madame Bonaparte. By Eugène L. Didier. With a Portrait. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 16m0, pp. 276.
that such disappointment as Madame Bonaparte felt at the abortive result of her marriage was a disappointment of ambition, not of love; and the woman whom not even the tender cares of maternity could soften, who never had a serious thought but of selfinterest and self-aggrandizement, and who saw in love, duty, honor, and the nobler sentiments, only subjects to jeer at—such a woman is not of the type which we could wish, either for her own good or that of others, to see exalted to the high places of the earth.
Of the qualities which we have mentioned as characteristic of Madame Bonaparte's letters, only copious extracts could give an adequate idea, and the few for which we are able to find room can do no more than convey a hint. We shall string together some specimen passages, however, culled almost at random, if for nothing else, to justify the strictures which we have felt compelled to make. And first let us see how she regards the " domesticities" of family life:
I hope he [her son] will reward by his success all my cares, and I rejoice that I have no more children to toil after, never having envied any one the honor of being a mother of a family, which is generally a thankless position.-(Page 56.)
Bo [her son] feels the propriety of doing what I please on the subject of the marriage [proposed between himself, then sixteen, and his cousin, the daughter of Joseph Bonaparte], and has no foolish ideas of disposing of himself in the way young people do in America.
If the marriage is offered I mean to accept it, and, as things go in the generalities of families, shall esteem myself fortunate in being able to dispose of my son according to my views, instead of his choosing before his judgment is matured, and probably encumbering himself for life with a poor wife and clamorous offspring. Marriage ought never to be entered into for any other purpose than comfort, and there is none without consequence and fortune; without these it is more prudent to live single.-(Page 83.)
There is, I hope, no danger of his [her son's] forming an imprudent matrimonial connection; if he can not marry suitably-and in America he could not (with one exception, and that I fear is out of the question)— he can live single. Marriage offers no such comforts as to induce rational beings to give up their independence without some return of advantage. I am at times not happy on the subject of his falling in love, recollecting the extreme folly and great simplicity of the people he sees, who, without giving a single thought to prudence or the future, marry some poor young woman from the insipid society and the torment of bringing up a family caprice of the moment, and consign themselves to her of children. It may be patriotic to sacrifice one's time in this way, but it is not charitable to one's self, and charity well understood begins at home. I hope you, dear sir, will inculcate to him privately the nonsense and absurdity of such marriages, which are unknown beyond the New World.-(Page 123.)
The land of romance is now only to be found on the other side of the Atlantic [she is writing from Geneva, Switzerland]. People on this side know the exact value
of everything, and turn existence to its best account. Love in a cottage is out of fashion even in novels. I should consider an amiable, prolific daughter-in-law a very poor compensation for all the trouble and anxiety I have had with that boy, and most sincerely hope the amiable, scheming (for even in America the women know their own interest, and look as sharply after matches as they do here) young ladies will select some other unsuspecting dupe. Women in all countries have wonderful cunning in their intercourse with men; they
succeed better in America because the men there are a century behind them in knowledge of human nature and instinct for their true interest.—(Page 147.)
I observe what you say of my partiality for Europe, and am only surprised that you should wonder at my resembling every woman who has left America. I never heard of one who wanted to return there, not excepting Mrs. Gallatin; besides, I think it is quite as rational to go to balls and dinners as to get children, which people must do in Baltimore to kill time. I should prefer a child of mine going to court and dancing every evening in the week in good company to his or her marrying beggars and bringing children into the world to deplore existence. In America there are no resources except marriage, and, as there was no one there for me to marry, I very naturally sought to quit a place where I was not
pleased. (Page 202.)
When at length it was announced to her that her son had engaged himself to marry a respectable and wealthy young lady of Baltimore her rage knew no bounds, and in its expression verged closely upon insanity. In a letter to her father she says:
I wrote, in answer to your letters announcing the proposed marriage of my son, exactly what I felt at the time. I have endeavored to instill into him, from the hour of his birth, the opinion that he was much too high in birth and connection ever to marry an American woman. I hated and loathed a residence in Baltimore so much that when I thought I was to spend my life there I tried to screw my courage up to the point of committing suicide. My cowardice, and only my cowardice, prevented my exchanging Baltimore for the grave. No consideration could have induced me to marry any one there after having married the brother of an emperor, and I believe that to this proud feeling I owe much of the respect and consideration shown me both in America and in Europe. After having married a person of the high rank I did, it became impossible for me ever to bend my spirit to marry any one who had been my equal before my marriage, and it became impossible for me ever to be contented in a country where there exists no nobility, and where the society is unsuitable in every respect to my tastes. . . . I tried to give my son all my ideas and
tastes, and in the first weeks after hearing that he meant to marry an American woman I was in despair. I think that I did my duty in trying to elevate his ideas above marrying in America, and you well know that I left nothing undone to effect this. I have considered now that it is unreasonable to expect him to place his happiness in the only things which can make me happy. (My happiness can never be separated from rank and Europe.) He has neither my pride, my ambition, nor my love of good company; therefore I no longer oppose his marriage. . . . As the woman has money, I shall not forbid a marriage which I never would have advised. I now repeat what I said in my last letter-that I
would as soon have gone to Botany Bay to look for a husband as to have married any man in Baltimore; but that, if my son thinks it possible for him to live there, and does not feel any of my repugnance to such a connection, I no longer oppose it.-(Page 218.)
The foregoing are fair examples of Madame Bonaparte's opinions on the subjects which far more than any others fill her letters. Here is a specimen of her cynical frankness on more general matters:
There is a son of Sir Robert and Lady Wilmot going out with the British ambassador. . . . I know his mother and father, to whom I gave the letter here, not knowing the young man. If you should be giving a family dinner, you might invite him; but I do not advise people to take any trouble about strangers, as they are very ungrateful in general, and their acquaintance of no great advantage unless one has daughters to get rid of.-(Page 65.)
Mr. Didier's share in the work is confined to preparing a brief sketch of Madame Bonaparte's life prior to her marriage and the swift-following desertion by her husband, to furnishing explanatory notes to the letters, and to linking the latter together by a slender chain of narrative. The manner in which he has performed it would be deserving of unqualified praise but for his most irritating practice of summarizing the contents of the letters just before the letters themselves are given in full. practice is the more objectionable, because its only reason seems to be a desire on the part of the author to keep himself before the reader.
WHAT Dr. Warren has attempted to do in his "Recreations in Astronomy" is to make the conclusions of science acceptable to the orthodox, by intermingling his expositions with texts of Scripture, and insisting upon the theistic interpretation to all the phenomena which astronomy presents. He knows, doubtless, that there are many who are repelled from scientific studies, by the attitude of doubt or agnosticism which the secular savant is apt to assume, and he secures the attention of these by showing that a knowledge of astronomy is perfectly compatible with the most literal and rigorous acceptance of the Christian dogmas. As for Dr. Warren himself, he is not in the slightest degree mystified or baffled by the stupendous phenomena of the sidereal heavens. He knows the motive, the method, and the purpose of each manifestation, and he is equally certain of the lesson which each was designed to inculcate. Other astronomers may grope for a solution, and peer inquiringly into that "dark backward and abysm of time" which their researches seem to open to them; but to Dr. Warren everything is plain, and his pronouncements have none of the ambiguity of the ancient oracles.
* Recreations in Astronomy, with Directions for Practical Experiments and Telescopic Work. By Henry White Warren, D. D. New York: Harper & Brothers. 12m0, pp. 284.
As a general thing, Dr. Warren's selection of topics is excellent, and so is his method of exposition, though the style is somewhat superfluously exuberant. The facts and relations with which astronomy has to deal are so stupendous that the simplest possible statement of them is generally the most impressive, and any attempt to heighten the effect by words is certain to defeat itself. It is in failing to appreciate this that Dr. Warren makes his chief mistake as a writer on science, but he fairly compensates for it by the remarkable appositeness and suggestiveness of his illustrations. A still graver defect, as touching his bona fides, is exemplified by the following paragraph from the opening of the chapter on the nebular hypothesis:
The method by which the solar system came into its present form was sketched in vast outline by Moses. He
gave us the fundamental idea of the nebular hypothesis.
Swedenborg, that prodigal dreamer of vagaries, in 1743 threw out some conjectures of the way in which the outlines were to be filled up; Buffon followed him closely in 1749; Kant sought to give it an ideal philosophical completeness, as he said, "not as the result of observation and computation," but as evolved out of his own consciousness; and Laplace sought to settle it on a mathematical basis.
Now, the alternative here is obvious. If the author really believes this to be even an approximately accurate account of the origin and history of the nebular hypothesis, then a very serious objection lies against his competency to the task he has undertaken. If, on the other hand, he does not believe it to be an accurate summary, then the ground of objection is more serious still. A better illustration of the maze of complexities in which such a writer as Dr. Warren is liable to entangle himself could hardly be found than is afforded by the entire chapter from which the foregoing extract was taken. Of course the author's object in claiming for Moses the "fundamental idea" of the nebular hypothesis was to secure for the Biblical narrative whatever credit attaches to what has been called "the grandest generalization of the human mind"; yet the reader will be amazed to find that the purport of the whole remainder of the chapter is to disprove or discredit the nebular theory. The dilemma in which the author places himself is this: From the beginning to the end of his book he asserts or implies that the germs of all that is true in modern astronomical knowledge may be found in the Bible, and this is, to a certain extent, his test of truth. Applying this test, he finds that the fundamental idea of the nebular theory was first proclaimed by Moses, and is therefore true, or Moses was mistaken, like any other ancient constructor of a cosmogony. Notwithstanding this, he proceeds to argue and cite proofs that the nebular theory is not true!
What is good in Dr. Warren's book, as we have said, is the interest of the topics selected for treatment, and the freshness and appositeness of the analogies by which the exposition is helped along. Very useful, too, are the directions appended to each
chapter for practical experiments and telescopic work; and the pictorial illustrations are numerous and beautifully executed, including some exquisitely colored diagrams of the spectra, of the starry heavens, and of the more important constellations.
A SERIES which would seem on a cursory inspection to enter into direct competition with “English Men of Letters" is that begun under the editorship of Mr. John Richard Green, and entitled "Classical Writers." While there are certain points of resemblance between them, however, a closer comparison will show that in plan and scope they are quite distinct, and that they will be complements rather Letters" is to meet the wants of that large and busy than competitors. The aim of "English Men of class of general readers whose leisure is too scanty to admit of their reading voluminous works of literary biography; and the widest latitude is allowed to the writers of the several volumes in expressing their individual views and sentiments. The object of the series of "Classical Writers," on the other hand, is strictly educational, and will include a number of small volumes upon the principal Classical and English writers whose works form subjects of study in our colleges, or which are read by the genture for its own sake. The information sought to eral public interested in Classical and English literabe imparted will be presented in a concise and systematized form, with a view to its use in the classroom; and, while each volume will be the work of the scholar best adapted by his special studies to do justice to its subject, the views offered will, in general, be such only as have already passed the ordeal of criticism, or are little likely to provoke contro
"have too long been regarded as mere instruments "Classical authors," says the prospectus, for teaching pupils the principles of grammar and language, while the personality of the men them
selves and the circumstances under which they wrote have been kept in the background. Against such an irrational and one-sided method of education, the present series is a protest."
The initial volume on Milton is by the Rev. Stopford A. Brooke, and at once elevates the standard of the series to the highest possible level. The entire competence of Mr. Brooke to such a task has been abundantly proved by his "Primer of English Literature," and this monograph on Milton possesses all the characteristic qualities of that admirable work. Its plan is eminently practical and simple; its style is luminously clear, exact, and animated; it gives all the facts essential to a complete understanding of Milton's long and varied career; its portraiture is singularly vivid and lifelike, though unpretentious; and it abounds in profound, sympathetic, interpretive criticism. The analysis of "Paradise Lost," which
* Classical Writers. Edited by John Richard Green. Milton. By Rev. Stopford A. Brooke. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 16m0, pp. 168.
occupies the larger half of the volume, is one of the most masterly things of the kind in critical literature, and the remarks on the shorter poems are full of helpful suggestion. The middle-aged reader who recollects the conditions under which he first approached the great English epic can hardly avoid envying those who will hereafter enjoy the kindly and sympathetic guidance of Mr. Brooke; and students of all ages will extend a cordial welcome to a series which promises in some degree to open a royal highway to knowledge.
In attempting to explain wherein lies the charm of Mr. Stevenson's "Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes," the reader will probably be surprised to find how exclusively he has to insist upon the manner or style of the author in comparison with the matter or substance of the book. The "travels' only covered a period of twelve days, and were as nearly destitute of what is commonly called incident and adventure as would be a walk down Broadway; but one does not become conscious of this while reading the book, but only when he comes subsequently to analyze or define its charm. He then perceives, what the author has been much too skillful to obtrude upon his attention, that with Mr. Stevenson manner is everything and matter comparatively unimportant, that he is a stylist, or what Mr. Leslie Stephen calls an artist in words. It is not, however, toward rhetoric, or word-painting, or elaborate verbal artifice, that Mr. Stevenson leans. This is, in general, quite the reverse of charming, and Mr. Stevenson's primary object is not to perplex, or astonish, or dazzle, but to please. His style has a quaint simplicity about it which is very apt to betray one into underrating the nicety and refinement of the art which it reveals rather than displays, and it offers a marked contrast to the more labored and artificial prose of the Victorian era. It is a return to or revival of the style of the age of Anne, and the author of whom it most frequently reminds one is Addison, some of the turns of phrase being evidently taken from the "Spectator." It should be said, however, to avoid misconception on this point, that there is no semblance of conscious imitation. Mr. Stevenson's style has a flexibility and robustness which prove it to be the natural expression of an original mind; and one is almost tempted to hope that it indicates a returning taste for simpler and more direct forms of literary language than have characterized our later literature.
The Cévennes is an obscure mountain district of France. Its natural features are almost unknown to us save through Mr. Stevenson's book, and we do not gather from it that the scenery is either grand, or picturesque, or especially pleasing. It is rugged and barren in the extreme, and we infer from the author's account that the people are quite as in
Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes. By Robert Louis Stevenson. Boston: Roberts Brothers. 16mo, PP. 235.
tractable and repellent as the country which they inhabit. The only incident in connection with it which gives it anything of general interest is the revolt of the Camisards in the seventeenth century, of which it was the arena, and the fact, a resultant of the revolt, that it is the one overwhelmingly Protestant district in one of the greatest Roman Catholic countries of Europe. Mr. Stevenson gives many interesting and suggestive details concerning the revolt-contriving at once to enlist our sympathies for the persecuted Protestants goaded into insurrection, and giving the world a lesson and an example of the highest heroism, and at the same time bringing to bear upon the entire question which once aroused such furious passions the impartial judgment of the present age.
Much information of various kinds, sage and acute remarks on men and things, bits of neat and vivid description-all these are ingeniously woven by Mr. Stevenson into his narrative; but, whether taken separately or in the aggregate, these do not quite account for its charm. If what we have already said does not account for it—as we fear it does not-we shall content ourselves with saying in general terms that the book is delightful to read, and that it indicates on the part of the author wide knowledge of men and books, a keen instinct for felicities of style, and a hearty objective love of na
A COMPLETE outline, almost too comprehensive to be called a résumé, of the science of anthropology is furnished by the elaborate work on "The Human Species," which M. de Quatrefages has contributed to the "International Scientific Series."* Beginning with the theory of the unity of the human species, of which the author is perhaps the most distinguished champion, it discusses in succession "The Origin of the Human Species,' ," "The Antiquity of the Human Species," "The Original Localization of the Human Species," "The Peopling of the Globe," The Acclimatization of the Human Species," "Fossil Human Races," and "Present Human Races," as to both their physical and psychological characters. The argument for the unity of the human species (the author, it may be remarked, draws a radical line between race and species) is strong if not conclusive, and places the reasons for and against it in very clear and intelligible form. In regard to the origin of man, M. de Quatrefages takes direct issue with Darwin and the evolutionists, holding that man's religious and moral faculties lift him entirely above the order of animals, and entitle him to be ranked in a kingdom by himself. He attacks very powerfully those weak points of the theory of Natural Selection which Darwin himself admits, and points out other difficulties which evolutionists in general have either overlooked or ignored. As to the antiquity of man, he adopts advanced views,
*The Human Species. By A. de Quatrefages. International Scientific Series. Volume xxvii. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 12m0, pp. 498.
holding it to be proved that man lived in the Pliocene epoch, and probably in the Miocene, and that he has consequently seen and survived at least two of those great geological periods which mark the past history of the earth. The other topics enumerated are discussed with a rare amplitude of knowledge and a still rarer candor of tone; and the book as a whole is one of the most instructive and interesting that has yet appeared in the series to which it belongs.
. . . . Any attempt to represent an author by a miscellaneous selection from his writings is almost certain to be only partially successful, and this is especially likely to be true in the case of an author so prolific and versatile as Viktor Rydberg. The writings of Rydberg, who holds the first place among the living authors of Sweden, range in topic from abstruse philosophical treatises to popular novels and poetry, and are voluminous enough to fill a shelf in the library by themselves. His most famous single work is a novel entitled “The Last Athenian," which has been translated into several languages; but the "Roman Days"* has been selected by his American admirer as giving a more favorable idea of the versatility of his talent. The essays of which it is composed were not written by the author as parts of one work, but they are sufficiently similar in subject and method of treatment to form a tolerably homogeneous volume, being the fruit of a visit to Rome in 1873. The essays are grouped under four heads: "The Roman Emperors in Marble," including studies, partly artistic and partly historical, of Julius Cæsar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero; "Antique Statues," comprising studies of the Venus of Milo and the Antinous; "Roman Traditions of Peter and Paul," in which the author weaves the picturesque legends of early Christian Rome into a most vivid and interesting narrative; and “Pencil Sketches in Rome," depicting some of the more characteristic features of the city as the capital of the New Italy. The whole forms a highly readable book, which should prove useful to the tourist who wishes a sympathetic guide to the history and sights of the Eternal City. The volume is serviceably illustrated, and is prefaced with a brief biographical and critical sketch of Rydberg.
"It is really difficult," says Mr. Harrison, speaking of the books of Spanish travelers, "to find a wise and sober-minded man who can write in a wise and sober-minded way about Spain." If this was the ideal aimed at in his “Spain in Profile," then the book would have to be set down as a fail
* Roman Days. From the Swedish of Viktor Rydberg. By Alfred Corning Clark. With a Sketch of Rydberg by Dr. H. A. W. Lindehn. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 12mo, pp. 332.
ure, but its character is better defined in his preface, where he says that "the realities of landscape, the mode of life and of travel, the aspect of the old Spanish cities, the habits of the people, the vicissitudes of a summer journey, set down just as they appeared, form the staple of these pages." Regarded from this view-point-as a series of panoramic pictures rapidly sketched in while the impressions were fresh and vivid-the book is decidedly praiseworthy, and, while decidedly more entertaining, is quite as likely to prove instructive as if it were much more "sober-minded." Mr. Harrison has knowledge, much alertness of mind, sympathetic insight, quick observation, a keen eye for the picturesque in history, legend, customs, costumes, or scenery, a certain good humor, which is far from the least essential requisite of a traveler, and an unfailing instinct for the lively and the salient. The chief fault of his book (as of his previous one, "Greek Vignettes") is the extreme artificiality of its style, which conveys the impression that the author is always on the lookout for unexpected, fantastic, and bizarre collocations of words, and, in fact, thinks more of these than of what he is describing. In the immense profusion of epithets and adjectives, some, it may be admitted, are remarkably happy and striking, but the majority are simply unusual, and the attention of the reader is fatigued by so long-continued a display of literary tight-rope dancing.
.. In "Delicia"* Miss Butt touches upon deeper problems and portrays more complex characters than in either of her previous stories, and shows that her powers are equal to the larger demands made upon them. To make the interest of a story almost wholly dependent upon the subtile interplay of delicately discriminated characters is always a perilous method, and very considerable skill is required to render it as successful as in "Delicia," where the drama is worked out solely in "the arena of the mind," and incidents and external circumstances play an altogether subordinate part. It is true that the author exhibits more ease and self-command in such idyllic and neutral-tinted pictures as are drawn in "Miss Molly," but the critical situations in "Delicia" are powerfully depicted, and the leading female characters are drawn with a refinement and delicacy of touch which suggest a reminiscence of Miss Austen. The male characters are not nearly so good, but neither are they the wooden prigs which so commonly do duty for heroes in novels written by women.
the Aloes. By James Albert Harrison. Boston: Houghton, Osgood & Co. 16mo, pp. 439.
* Delicia. A Novel. By Beatrice May Butt. Leisure Hour Series. New York: Henry Holt & Co. 16m0,
+ Spain in Profile: A Summer among the Olives and pp. 360.