Books of the Month

Travel. A Study of Mexico, “by David A. Wells. (Appleton.) Mr. Wells is an economist, a statistician, and a student in sociology. His visit to Mexico naturally led him to pursue inquiries in the field where he was most at home, and the results which he reaches are those of a trained mind. But it must not be overlooked that one who saw everything with an economic eye, and especially one who was committed by long advocacy to certain theories of economic law, might miss some very simple and interesting developments of the national life, as the author’s frank foot-note in his preface intimates. Mr. Wells takes a somewhat discouraging view of the future of Mexico and of the trade connections with the United States, but what he says is well worth heeding.

— Our Arctic Province, Alaska and the Seal Islands, by Henry W. Elliott. (Scribners.) If we understand Mr. Elliott’s preface, this book is the product of personal travel and an extensive survey of the literature of Alaskan travel. It is marked by great fullness, especially in the departments of anthropology and natural history. The style is somewhat heavy, but the author is evidently interested in his work, and the reader who is after information rather than amusement will get it, well arranged and digested. The illustrations are frequent and intelligible, but not beautiful. —Mexico of ToDay, by Solomon Bulkley Griffin. (Harpers.) Mr. Griffin is a journalist of quick eye and ready judgment. The training which he had upon the Springfield Republican was an excellent one to qualify him for his mission, and he writes not only with confidence, but with a reserve which leads one to trust him. He probably would agree on many points with Mr. Wells.

— Cannibals and Convicts, notes of personal experiences in the Western Pacific, by Julian Thomas. (Cassell.) The writer is an Australian journalist, who for several years has been traveling to and fro in the Pacific, and this volume is a summary of his adventures. A very lively book it is, and Mr. Thomas, who is frank and vigilant, has produced one of the brightest volumes of travel we have seen for many a day. One must take with the brightness a good deal of free and easy English, but it is impossible not to like the rollicking, swaggering traveler. — Brazil, its Conditions and Prospect, by C. C. Andrews. (Appleton.) Mr. Andrews as formerly consul-general to Brazil was placed in a position where he could acquire a good deal of information. His personal observations were mainly in Rio Janeiro, but he has availed himself of statistical and other reports, and has made a plain, unadorned account of the country, chiefly in its business aspects. — Cathedral Days in Southern England, by Anna Bowman Dodd (Roberts Brothers), is an unusually fresh and sparkling record of a tour through certain of the old cathedral towns. The reader who has visited Salisbury, Wells, Exeter, and Glastonbury will be charmed to see them again through such appreciative eyes as the writer’s ; and the reader who is unfamiliar with the out-of-the-way places described cannot do better than read this volume. - From the Forecastle to the Cabin, by Captain S. Samuels. (Harpers.) Captain Samuels begins his book with a serious frown for such boys as leave their homes for the sea, and then proceeds with a tale of adventure drawn from his own experience which is enough to make sailors by the shipful out of his boy readers. His narrative is very vivid, has touches of dry humor, and altogether is as entertaining a sailor’s yarn as we have seen for many a day. — Haifa, or Life in Modern Palestine, by Laurence Oliphant. (Harpers.) Mr. Oliphant’s three years’ sojourn in Palestine enabled him to write a series of letters to the New York Sun, in which he noted impressions received on the spot by a man singularly open to new impressions. Mr. Oliphant’s interest in familistic schemes found abundant opportunity of reception in Palestine, which has been catching’ all the queer futurists of Judaism and Christianity, and the book gives one an odd sense of a mixture of Bible and newspaper. — Roba di Roma, by William Wetmore Story. (Houghton. ) In this new edition of a work which has settled down as a regular part of the Roman tourist’s outfit, Mr. Story has taken the occasion to annotate what he said some thirty years ago. Rome has undoubtedly changed greatly within this period, but after all the dust heaps of a great city are the last part of it to undergo radical change, and much of Mr. Story’s entertaining work is the product of a chiffonier’s industry. These notes of life in Rome have just enough system to make the book good continuous reading, while the great variety of subjects renders it a delightful book to dip into.

Fiction Agatha and the Shadow (Roberts) is a second in the Old Colony Series of novels. We wish all possible success to the anonymous author of these books, and we are ready to acknowledge his thoughtfulness and occasional poetic insight; he has also industry, and some of his descriptive scenes are well done, but he has not yet succeeded in marrying history and romance. The heroine is the daughter of Elder Brewster.—The Buchholz Family, Sketches of Berlin Life, by Julius Stinde, translated by L. Dora Schmitz, (Scribners. ) The great vogue which this book has had in Germany is due apparently to its interminable chatter and to the frankness with which the author lifts the lid from the social pot. Outside barbarians will enjoy rather the occasional humor, though all is not fun that smiles, and the succession of foreign photographs.— Borderland, by Jessie Fothergill, (Holt.) A volume of the Leisure Hour Series. — Sons and Daughters, by the author of The Story of Margaret Kent. (Ticknor.) A bright, entertaining, illogical, idle story. — The Master of the Ceremonies, by George Manville Fenn. (Appleton.) A novel which is apparently written for the manly reader, with ever so much plot and very little character. — A Zealot in Tulle, by Mrs. Wildrick. (Appleton.) A somewhat enigmatical story of a treasure hid in an exploded Spanish fort in Jackson’s day, and brought to light seventy years after, chiefly as affording the means for telling a complicated love story. — Taken by Siege (Lippincott) tells the story of a country boy who goes to New York to try his fortune as a journalist, finds work on the He— no, Dawn, newspaper, falls in love with a prima doima, finally becomes managing editor of the Her— no, Dawn, and marries the prima donna. There is an air of ingenuousness about the book which half redeems it, but it is an innocent story enough. — The Matrimonial Agent of Potsdam, a humoro-social romance, from the German of A. Von Winterfeld. (T. R. Knox, New York.) The humor is of the native German order, that does not stand transplanting ; it looks very wilted in an American pot.—In One Town, by Edmund Downey. (Appleton) — Happy Dodd, or “She hath done what she could,” by Rose Terry Cooke. (Ticknor,) A religious story with Mrs. Cooke’s warm sympathy in it, but without so much of her shrewd wit and happy characterization as we have been used to seeing. — Miss Churchill, a Study by Christian Reid. (Appleton.) The formality of the conversation gives the book the air of being a serious attempt on the part of the author to get out of a wonted style into another, and to make much of character and relations in place of incident and plot. —Recent numbers of Harper’s Franklin Square Library are Gladys Eane, by T. Wemyss Reid, and The Fawcetts and Garods, by Säimath. — The Egoist, a Comedy in Narrative, completes Roberts Brothers’ edition of George Meredith’s remarkable novels. In spite of his prolixity George Meredith is a great story-writer. — Some Chinese Ghosts, by Lafcadio Hearn (Roberts Brothers), contains six Chinese legends, so fantastic and delightful in themselves and told with so much skill as to make us wish to have from Mr. Hearn’s hand a large collection of this flowery folk-lore. Each of these little tales is a poem full of color and quaint felicity. — The Jesuit’s Ring, a Romance of Mount Desert, by A. A. Hayes. (Scribners.) Mr. Hayes has a clever fancy of connecting by means of a ring a modern romance of society with the seventeenth - century history of Mount Desert. There is a superficial naturalness about his fiction which robs it of any glamour, and yet does not give it the attractiveness of a carefully studied piece of realism.—Roger Camerden (George J. Coombes, New York) is called on the title-page A Strange Story, but we think most readers could lay it down at any point. It is based upon a bit of physiological psychology, which seems to be supplying the motif of fiction at present. It looks as if novelists would have first to take a course at the medical schools, and indeed we think such a course would be of service to a good many writers who use sickness and mental disorder in a somewhat reckless fashion in their books. — Victims, by Theo Gift, is a new volume of the Leisure Hour Series (Holt), in which the reader is kept on an emotional rack by the complications of love, religion, and race. — The same author produces also Lil Lorimer (Appleton), the story of English girls at a consulate in a South American city. There is a good deal of local color and of petty detail in order to bring out a story of flirtation, repentance, sorrow, and reconciliation. — A Question of Identity is a recent number of the No Name Series. (Roberts.) It really is of no consequence who wrote it. With so violent an assumption as the existence of twin sisters absolutely undistinguishable, a writer of moderate ingenuity ought to be able to tell a complicated story; but this writer’s ingenuity is very moderate, and an air of unreality hangs over the book from the start. It is something, however, that the author should rely on action to express the individuality of the several characters — The Hornet’s Nest, by Edward P. Roe. (Dodd, Mead & Co.) A short historical romance, the scene laid in the mountains of North Carolina, near the close of the war for independence. The book is better than a dime novel.

Philosophy and Theology. — Philosophical Realism, by W. I. Gill. (W. H. Bradley, Boston.) Mr. Gill, if we understand him, sets out to demonstrate the spirituality of the universe, and thereby the exaltation of humanity, since man contains within himself the forces of the universe. It is derivative from him, not he from it. The metaphysics of this book, if, at first sight, opposed to prevalent phases of thought, has at least an appearance of consistency, and Mr. Gill writes like one who has worked out his philosophy. — Some Problems of Philosophy, by Archibald Alexander. (Scribners.) In this little volume the author has taken up eighteen subjects, generally connected, but not falling into any systematic order, and has touched upon the difficulties which rise before the intelligent reader. He writes simply and freely, and with precision. — The Conception of the Infinite and the Solution of the Mathematical Antinomies, a study in psychological analysis, by George S. Fullerton. (Lippincott.) A clearly written, cogent little book, which ought to do much in making men’s vague beliefs agree with logical processes. —Introduction to Psychological Theory, by Borden P. Bowne. (Harpers.) The author defines his work as aiming less at a knowledge of facts than at an understanding of principles. Professor Bowne, in his stout volume, shows himself a sturdy thinker, who is not to be misled by any brilliant promises of what physiological psychologists will some day do. — The SelfRevelation of God, by Samuel Harris. (Scribners.) The four parts of Dr. Harris’s great work give as briefly as can be given the argument : I. God revealed in experience or consciousness as the object of religious faith and service. II. God revealed in the universe as the absolute being. III. God revealed in the universe as personal spirit through the constitution and course of nature and the constitution and history of man. IV. God revealed in Christ as the redeemer of man from sin. The work is a true aid to faith. We only wish that Dr. Harris, with his power of compact statement, had limited the treatment of the subject, and not allowed himself so full an explication. — Realistic Philosophy Defended in a Philosophic Series, by James McCosh. (Scribners.) This work, in two volumes, — I. Expository, II. Historical and Critical, — sets out with the rather ad captandum promise of establishing an American system of philosophy. Certainly, let us have one, and let it be realistic if you will, but can any one explain wherein Dr. McCosh’s results differ from those to be obtained by a Scotchman " anxiously careful and resolute in adhering to observation”? There have been and still are philosophers in America who differ as widely from each other as Hegel and Mill, and their contributions to philosophic inquiry are not less valuable because they own and follow different masters. Dr. McCosh writes with his customary vigor and his somewhat irritating dogmatism, but we think he is talking a little nonsense when he prates of republican philosophy as distinguished from monarchical. He may be representing a Princeton school in his two readable volumes, but we should think his philosophy more justly entitled to the name he demands for it, if it sought, for criteria among the laws of society. —History of Modern Philosophy, by Kuno Fischer: Descartes and his School, translated by J. P. Gordy and edited by Noah Porter. (Scribners.) The special subject of this work is preceded by a rapid survey of the history of philosophy up to the time of Descartes, which the author takes as the startingpoint of modern philosophy. The work is manifestly for the general reader, and includes much biographical and historical material. The clearness of Dr. Fischer’s style and the animation with which he writes enable the reader to get over the ground rapidly and with pleasure.

Education and Text Books. Short Stories from the Dictionary, by Arthur Gilman. (The Interstate Publishing Company, Chicago.) Mr. Gilman has hit upon a very clever expedient for interesting young people and starting their minds on separate hunts. He shows them how by consulting the dictionary they may make a museum of curious words, more interesting by far than a postage-stamp album. By disclosing the history of certain words he suggests a capital exercise for school-rooms and families. — Through a Microscope, by Samuel Wells, Mary Treat, and F. L. Sargent. (The Interstate Publishing Company, Chicago.) This hand-book, besides recording curious observations indoors and out, gives directions for a home-made microscope. Since the microscope is an instrument for increasing the power of the eye, the real purpose of the book is to teach one how to use the eye when thus artificially intensified, and the writers of this useful little volume are too sensible to mislead children into the notion that the use of the microscope is an end in itself, — Psychology, by John Dewey. (Harpers.) Professor Dewey, who writes this book for use in the class-room, has aimed to solve the problem of making psychology an introduction to philosophical study. But it is a little doubtful if he has solved the equally insistent problem of showing the relation of psychology to physiology. — The Lay of the Last Minstrel, edited with notes by W. J. Rolfe. (Ticknor.) Mr. Rolfe, as in former issues, takes great pains with his text, and we are rather surprised accordingly that he is willing to send the book out without recurring to the first edition. It would not seem to be an impossible thing to accomplish this by correspondence, if he could find no copy in this country. — Lectures in the Training Schools for Kindergartners, by Elizabeth P. Peabody. (Heath.) Miss Peabody’s book is a valuable one, because it deals with principles and illustrates them with concrete examples. The difficulty with most Kindergartners appears to be that they set a too high estimate on certain methods in their work, and that they do not recognize the rapidity with which the child’s mind may outgrow the material which they are using in their methods. Miss Peabody sees clearly the necessity at every point of connecting the development of a child’s mind with the revelation that is always going on of the eternal mind, and her book is of great value for its reiteration of this truth. — Le Romantisme Français, a selection from writers of the French Romantic School, 1824-1848, edited by T. F. Crane. (Putnams.) Mr. Crane has wisely restricted his examples to the works of a few leaders, Hugo, De Musset, and Gautier being most fully represented. He has furnished his book with a useful introduction and suggestions as to books to be read and consulted. — Representative English Prose and Prose Writers, by Theodore W. Hunt. (Armstrong.) Dr. Hunt has produced a careful, studied work, in which he economizes his subject by taking a few great names and giving full analytical account of each. His conclusions are generally sound, though he may be said to lack something on the aesthetic side, the ethical being unduly developed. His own style is not, to be commended. It is heavy, pretentious at times, and at others inelegant, but the book is better for its purpose than most of its class.

Hygiene and Medicine. The Poison Problem, or the cause and cure of intemperance, by Felix L. Oswald. (Appleton.) Dr. Oswald argues stoutly in favor of absolute eradication of the cause of intemperance ; that is, he sees the cause in intoxicating drinks, and would by legislation and by subjective remedies utterly exclude alcohol and alcoholic drugs. — If Dr. J. M. Anders is right in the conclusions which he reaches in his House-Plants as Sanitary Agents, or the relation of growing vegetation to health and disease (Lippincott), he has brought welcome news to many households. We have always been told that plants should be carefully removed from chambers, but Dr. Anders treats the whole subject with care and with authority, and rids us of a very troublesome bugbear. His book also comprises a consideration of the subject of practical floriculture, and of the sanitary influences of forests and plantations. — Cocoa and Chocolate, a short history of their production and use, with a full and particular account of their properties, and of the various methods of preparing them for food. (Walter Baker & Co., Dorchester, Mass.) The well-known firm of manufacturers of various forms of cocoa have given in this little volume a clear and interesting account of cocoa, and have added a number of practical receipts. The book is laudably free from advertisements in the contents, such matter being reserved for the advertising pages.

Political and Social Economy. American Patriotism, an essay by Putnam P. Bishop. (Putnams.) Mr. Bishop writes sensibly and seriously upon the duty of the American citizen. He inquires into the foundation of patriotism and into the possibility of cultivating the temper of love of country, and finds the strongest stimulus in active participation in public affairs. —Applied Christianity, moral aspects of social questions, by Washington Gladden. (Houghton.) Mr. Gladden is well known as an earnest and forcible writer and speaker on current topics relating to the social order. He has in some quarters been a suspect in theology, but no one who reads this book can doubt that his Christianity is an active force in his thought, and not a mere matter of speculation. — The Conflict of East and West in Egypt, by John Eliot Bowen (Putnams), is an expansion of the thesis offered by the author for his doctorate in philosophy. Mr. Bowen includes in his study a consideration of the recent troubles in Egypt, and reaches the conclusion that a complete English protectorate is essential to the welfare of both countries. — Sociology, by John Bascom.

(Putnams.) Mr. Bascom, who is one of our most virile thinkers, and who is valuable more for the profound suggestions which he makes than for his systematic philosophy, has in this volume taken up a number of related subjects, and treated them in the light of the philosophy which he has worked out and has more than once outlined. His book is stimulating to the thinker, because it will very often excite opposition. With the best of Mr. Bascom s work there seems to be mingled something whimsical, capricious, as if he had hobbies as a philosopher. — Railway Practice, its Principles and Suggested Reforms Reviewed, by E. Porter Alexander. (Putnams.) This little book is chiefly a criticism of Mr. Hudson and Professor Ely. — Mr. John Jay, late minister to Vienna, has printed a letter to Mr. Evarts on The Fisheries Dispute, in which he suggests its adjustment by abrogating the convention of 1818, and resting on the rights and liberties defined in the treaty of 1783. (Dodd, Mead & Co.) — Secret Sessions of the Senate, their origin, their motive, their object, their effect, by Dorman B. Eaton. (Henry Bessey, New York.) A vigorous pamphlet, in which Mr. Eaton lends his efficient aid in knocking’ down the very thin wall which now shields the Senate. — Social Studies, by R. Heber Newton. (Putnams.) Mr. Newton tackles a number of the questions of the day, always with strong sympathy with the poor and needy, with little regard for the merely conventional reverences, and with refreshing faith ,in the kingdom of God. If he sometimes strikes wildly, his earnestness compels forgiveness from the man or system wrongly hit. — Talks about Law, a popular statement of what our law is and how it is administered, by Edmund P. Dole. (Houghton.) This is an attempt on the part of a practicing lawyer to give an intelligible account of what to most people is wrapped in mystery. The Latin of a physician’s prescription is not more obscuring to many than the ordinary terms of the law, and Mr. Dole has treated his profession somewhat as a doctor might translate into familiar terms the hieroglyphics of his recipes. He treats of courts, lawyers, the conduct of a lawsuit, the development of law, and then of those relations in society which frequently involve recourse to law, as partnerships, marriage, guardianship, corporations, and the like. He writes clearly, if sometimes with a little unnecessary diffuseness, and the book becomes, not Every man his own lawyer, but Every man a more intelligent man. It is a pity that Mr. Dole had not treated his subject with some regard to historical development.

Science. The fifty-seventh volume of the International Scientific Series (Appleton) is The Geographical and Geological Distribution of Animals, by Angelo Heilprin. In the preparation of this book the author had two objects in view : “ that of presenting to his readers such of the more significant facts connected with the past and present distribution of animal life as might lead to a proper conception of the relations of existing faunas; and secondly, that of furnishing to the student a work of general reference, wherein the more salient features of the geography and geology of animal forms could be sought after and readily found.” — A Century of Electricity, by T. G. Mendenhall (Houghton), is a rapid, lucid survey of the progress made in electrical science since Galvani began his experiments. The limits which the author set himself seem to have kept him very close to the main line of his subject, and he writes with a brevity which proceeds from a clear perception of what most needs to be told. There is an occasional bit of humor in the book which helps to put the reader on friendly terms with the writer. — Microscopy for Beginners, or Common Objects from the Ponds and Ditches, by Alfred C. Stokes. (Harpers.) The writer has confined himself to aquatic objects, and writes with enthusiasm and an eagerness which are quite catching. He avoids technicalities as far as possible, and is not burdened by too much desire to classify and be systematic. — The fourth report of the United States Entomological Commission (Government Printing Office, Washington) deals with the Cotton Worm and the Boll Worm. The author is the chief of the Commission, Charles V. Riley.

Ethics and Manners. About Money and Other Things is the title of a miscellany of short papers, sketches and bits of travel, by the Author of John Halifax, Gentleman (Harpers), in which that cheery, sensible, and sentimental gentlewoman chats with girls about the use of money, describes some personal adventures, tells one or two simple stories, and in the main treats her audience as old friends rather than unknown readers. — Essays, by James Vila Blake, (Charles H. Kerr & Co., Chicago.) Mr. Blake’s essays disclose a more vigorous and better trained mind than his poems. There is a mannerism about them, which seems to have come from much reading of two or three great essayists, and there is a good deal of derived wisdom, but on the whole Mr. Blake blazes away pretty steadily at his targets, and never knows when he makes a poor shot. — Quiet Observations on the Ways of the World, by Erasmus Wilson. (Cassell.) A collection of newspaper articles, none of them especially noteworthy, and the work apparently of a man who sees a good many things on the outside and walks round his subjects.

But walking round does not always bring one to the inside.

Art and Illustrated Books. Mural Painting, by Frederic Crowninshield. (Ticknor.) Mr. Crowninshield apologizes for the limitations of his book, but one would rather thank him for doing such excellent service. He has written for students, and he has made his work the outcome of his own experience and training. It is greatly to be hoped that the book will stimulate careful study of the interesting problems connected with mural painting. — History of Mediæval Art, by Dr. Franz von Reber, translated by Joseph Thacher Clarke. (Harpers.) The scope of this book includes Asiatic art as well, and all the forms of graphic, fictile, and vitreous art. The illustrations are abundant, and exceedingly helpful. By means of its full indexes, the hook, while arranged in chronological order, becomes valuable also as a cyclopædia. The style is somewhat dry, but one is secured thereby from the obtrusion of philosophy and sentiment. — The Making of Pictures, by Sarah W. Whitman. (The Interstate Publishing Company, Chicago.) Mrs. Whitman in this little book talks simply and clearly to young people regarding the elementary principles of art as exhibited in paintings, drawings, engravings, and the like. The freedom from attempting anything beyond a pleasant talk makes the book more agreeable than such books are apt to be, but let not the easy-going young reader fancy that art is a pastime! — The History of Music, by Emil Naumann, translated by F. Praeger, edited by the Rev. Sir F. A. Gore Ouseley. (Cassell.) Two large octavo volumes, liberally illustrated, take up the history of music from the earliest times, and deal not only with Western but also with Eastern forms. When the subject gets into contemporaneous condition, the author and editor deal with individuals very fully, so that one has pretty full reference to living composers, and even some executants. The editor adds, in their proper place, some chapters on English music, and in so doing uses a simple, straightforward style which is refreshing after the windy, diffuse manner of much of the original. The book bears a good many marks of the publisher about it, especially in the array of pictures, which do not always hold exact relation to the text. — Principles of Art, by John C. Van Dyke. (Fords, Howard & Hulbert.) Mr. Van Dyke has attempted to disclose these principles both by a study of the historical development of the civilized being from the savage, and by a study of the ideas, sentiments, and subjects of contemporaneous art. There is a good deal of sharp criticism and some dogmatic utterances, but the author writes like a person who has arranged his ideas. — Studies in Musical History, by Louis S. Davis. (Putnams.) Mr. Davis correctly says that there is no organization in the country so fundamental in its influence on music and so powerful in its opportunities as the Christian Church, and he adds the vigorous statement: “The Protestant church in this country is degrading rather than elevating the standard of music: first, through the musical ignorance of her ministers ; and second, the trifling inducement which it offers for good music.”Most of his essays come back sooner or later to this theme, and he writes with a picturesque candor which makes his book entertaining even if rather headlong at times.

Sports and Games. Whist Scores and CardTable Talk, with a bibliography of whist, by Rudolf H. Rheinhardt. (A. C. McClurg & Co., Chicago.) This pretty little volume is a very ingenious hand-book for lovers of whist, since, while every other page has a blank score for convenience, the rest of the book is taken up with the literature of whist, preceded by a careful bibliography. The book thus becomes a record of games, and when one is waiting for the table to be full he can entertain the prompt hands by reading aloud the anecdotes, and so whet the appetite for the game.

Books for Young People. Parlor Varieties, Part Three, Plays, Pantomimes, and Charades, by Olivia Lovell Wilson. (Lee & Shepard.) A lively little introduction explains how a couple of children amused themselves with private theatricals. Then follow a number of plays, some of which are bright and amusing, but we think the author might have made her plays just as effective without introducing so much kissing and fooling. —Professor Johnny, by Jāk. (Crowell.) We think this writer is too sensible, and has struck on too good a line of work, to continue so enigmatical and senseless a pseudonym. This little book has to do with experiments in physics, and employs the usual apparatus of boys and girls and their elders. There is a quietness and general moderation about it which commend it, and there is not much resort to artificial stimulant. — The Story of Persia, by S. G. W. Benjamin (Putnams), is a plain, straightforward narrative, in which the author seems desirous only of telling his story in an orderly fashion. Not much enthusiasm has gone into the work, and not much will come out of it.