Among the miscellaneous passengers on a leisurely tour through Southern England is a 'great scientific Philosopher who can find you a reason for everything that exists in this mortal world—except for his own inability to perceive facts that won't square with his theories' (22). Later, an 'English girl with pince-nez is [...] severely lectured by the Philosopher on the iniquity of state-enforced vaccination, she having innocently mentioned M. Pasteur'sPasteur, Louis
DSB CloseView the register entry >> experiments' (24). The Philosopher and the bespectacled English maiden nevertheless become romantically involved when he 'discourse[s] to her of the future triumphs of the doctrine of evolution', although for this lovelorn 'man of molecules' an 'obstacle existed, a substantial obstacle weighing fifteen stone—a Mrs. Philosopher, living at Clapham, and the mother of three young men in business in the City' (28). The Philosopher's best day of the tour comes at the ancient monument of Stonehenge, over which he 'fairly exulted and gloated [...] and no wonder; for it is a subject that is all theory and nothing else. He was not hampered with a single fact, for there is not a single fact known about the history of these stones'. During this 'frenzy of theorizing', the Philosopher 'declared that modern science was wise in its audacity; that it did well to make guesses; that it was time to question conventional explanations'. (34)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 53–71.
Natural History, Botany, Taxonomy, Agriculture, Theory
After Gertrude Hargrove accepts his proposal of marriage, Burt Clifford tells his brother Webb that he has achieved 'a happiness of which all your science can never give you, you old delver, even an idea' (53). In a discussion of the upcoming nuptials, Webb observes that he 'could develop acres of four-leaved clover. Some plants have this peculiarity. I have counted twenty odd on one root. If seed from such a plant was sown, and then seed selected again from the new plants most characterized by this "sport", I believe the trait would become fixed, and we could have a field of four-leaved clover. New varieties of fruits, vegetables, and flowers are often thus developed from chance "sports" or abnormal specimens', to which Amy Winfield replies disparagingly that he would 'turn this ancient symbol of fortune into a marketable commodity' (54). Amy later remarks 'I wish I were a scientific problem, a crop that required great skill to develop, a rare rose that all those rose-maniacs were after, a new theory that required a great deal of consideration and investigation, and accompanied with experiments that needed much observations, and any number of other t-i-o-n shuns. Then I shouldn't be left alone evenings by the great inquiring mind of the family' (55). Her comments are correctly interpreted by Webb, and he and Amy are married at the conclusion of the story.
At a well-to-do dinner party in downtown Boston, a group of guests discuss the recent introduction of elevators in tall buildings, with Dr Lawton declaring 'You get in, with a glass of water, a basket of eggs, and a file of the Daily Advertiser. They cut the elevator loose at the top, and you drop. [...] In three seconds you arrive at the ground-floor, reading your file of the Daily Advertiser; not an egg broken nor a drop spilled. [...] The air is compressed under the elevator, and acts as a sort of ethereal buffer' (114). Another guest, Edward Roberts, observes that in his high-rise apartment block, 'we all live on the ground-floor practically. The elevator equalizes everything' (116). However, several people expected at the dinner party become trapped in a malfunctioning elevator, and are only rescued when it is realised that 'hydraulic elevators weaken sometimes, and can't go any further', and the elevator carriage is lowered gently to a earlier floor (123). During their ordeal, the trapped passengers discuss 'elevator etiquette', with Mrs Crashaw wondering 'Why should the gentlemen take their hats off?', to which Mr Miller replies 'The theory is that the elevator is a room' (117).
Claud Morton, the younger brother of the narrator, insists that since his engagement to the beautiful widower Judith Despard he has been haunted by a terrible ghostly face. His brother, who is a medical doctor, regards it as only a 'queer hallucination' that has probably been brought on by 'Overwork, [...] insomnia, too many cigars, late hours', and to reassure Claud's fiancée he gives her 'a little scientific discourse, which explained to her how such mental phenomena were brought about' (145–46). When the wedding of Claud and Judith is disrupted by the appearance of the ghostly face, even the sceptical narrator sees it 'gradually forming out of nothing, gathering on the blank wall in front of me, a face, or the semblance of a face, white, ghastly, horrible!', but he still tries to believe that 'excitement, my brother's impressive manner, superstition which I did not know I possessed—anything that might bear a natural explanation—may have raised that vision' (148). The spectral face turns out to be that of Stephen Morton, the elder, dissolute, and long-ago disowned brother of Claud and the narrator, but also the cruel and abusive husband of Judith, who had murdered him several years before. After the abortive wedding Judith and Claud part for ever, and the evil face begins to haunt Judith alone, who, at the conclusion of the tale, is 'removed to a private lunatic asylum' where she is kept for three years and then dies 'raving mad' (152).
When her father falls ill with pneumonia, twenty year old Polly Finch takes over the running of the family farm in New England. Polly, who has been educated for a career in teaching at the Normal School, tells an old neighbour that she has been reading 'old numbers of the Agriculturist. Father has taken it for a good many years, and I've taken to studying farming' (208), and informs the local doctor that she is determined to 'raise a good many more early vegetables, and ever so much more poultry. Some of our land is so sheltered that it is very early, you know, and it's first-rate light loam' (204). The narrator observes that 'few people have set their wits at work on a New England farm half so intelligently', and, as well as many other successful agricultural innovations, 'by infinite diligence she waged war successfully on the currant worms, with the result that she had a great crop of currants when everybody else's came to grief'. Even Polly's ailing father, whose own agricultural innovations failed because 'he was afraid to take risk', is soon 'persuaded into thinking it was worth while to do the old work in new ways'. (209) Although 'some people laughed a good deal, and thought she ought to be ashamed to work on the farm like a man [...] nobody could have said that she had become unwomanly and rough' (209–10), and Polly herself finds that there is 'something delightful in keeping so close to growing things' (210).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 211–15.
Two Nordic sea sprites, Olaf and Gudrun, encounter a ship in the freezing waters of the Arctic Ocean, and exclaim 'it is the VegaVega, ship CloseView the register entry >>! [...] None but the Northern Shield / Dares brave this icy field'. An earlier footnote explains that 'Northern Shield' is 'Literal English of the great explorer Nordenskjöld'sNordenskjöld, Adolf Erik (Nils Adolf
DSB CloseView the register entry >> name' (n. 211). The two youthful sprites open one of the ship's port-holes and find 'Eric [i.e. Nordenskjöld], unaware / What 'twas that stirred his hair, / Sat, with his arms close pressed, / And chin upon his breast, / Much pondering whereaway / The Northeast passage lay'. The unseen Olaf then 'Unfolds the riddle clear' into Nordenskjöld's ear, and the explorer jumps to 'his toes; / Into the cabin darts, scans compasses and charts; / Then scans the atmosphere, / And shouts, "Ho! that way steer!"'. (212) With the help of the kindly sprites, 'The queenly Vega rides / Safe in Northeastern tides', and when 'their kind task is done' they collect 'Vega souvenirs' from the contents of the ship, including 'Some creatures in a jar' (213–14).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 216–29.
The Cruise of the "Wallowy". A Travel for Temperature
Tired of 'plunging through the tundras of New York Spitzbergen', the narrator and two companions travel to the warmer climes of Southern Florida on a cruise dedicated to hunting and fishing. During preparations for the trip, the narrator observes, 'We laid in such a supply of cartridges that had the final shell been exploded (unerring marksmanship being understood), over Florida today never would have winged its way a solitary flamingo, and that peninsula would have become an ornithological blank'. Also notes that the 'last purchase was a thermometer. The buyer of it was a positivist, and took nothing for granted', and not being satisfied with generalised estimates of the temperature, 'he wanted to have unimpeachable scientific record of the fact. He recalled a friend of his who went to Japan for the sole purpose of studying earthquakes. It happened that his seismometer was defective, and would give no record of nature's convulsions. He had pinned his faith on an instrument of his own invention. He only thought there was something up when he and his apparatus were tumbled together to the ground, and the walls of a building crashed on top of him. Though his seismometer escaped without a scratch, he did not; but to this day he pooh-poohs an earthquake in Japan'. (216) Observes that the 'Maps of Florida' used by the hunting party, whether 'derived from the highest sources of authority' or 'culled from geographers of less topographical distinction', were equally 'signal failures' in the recording of particulars, it being 'beyond the power of the most painstaking and conscientious of chart-makers to keep up with the changes on the coast'. Similarly, the maritime climate of the region is highly unpredictable and a 'great many of those indications which men who follow the seas in Northern zones, and about which they are so everlastingly oracular and prophetic, come to nothing in the Gulf. Prognostications are spent breath'. (218) Describes how 'in the economy of nature, so far as constructive process goes, the mangrove, in combination with the oyster, has had much to do with the building up of this western fringe of Florida', explaining that when oysters die they release their grip on the mangroves on which they have lived and 'fall in the shallow water. The calcareous portions of the shells dissolve in part, but some of the débris, with the silicious matter, remains. A little more soil under water is made, and here will sprout another mangrove, certain in time to have its oyster appendages' (218–19). In this perpetual process 'nature's laws of life and death are balanced, and make up that grand everlasting harmony' (220). Also describes the strange noises emitted by various marine creatures, including 'fish [...] singing a solo for our benefit' which was 'raucous, like a cry of distress, and it irritated the nerves at times', and a 'much more pleasing' sound that was 'put down [...] to the action of shell-fish', and which had 'unknown, indescribable cadences, which MendelssohnMendelssohn, Felix (properly
CBD CloseView the register entry >> might have imagined when he composed his Meerstille' (226).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 238–46.
Observes that the custom in Dorset stone-quarries which means that 'No one can work in the quarry who is not a freeman, and to be able to take up one's freedom one must be the legitimate son of a freeman [...] has had a serious effect on the mental health of the aborigines, for the original owners of the quarries were few in number, and intermarriage has been so frequent that often during the year three or four of the unfortunates are taken away to the county asylum' (243). Suggests that at this part of the Dorset coast 'for the geological student there are strata to examine found nowhere else', some of which 'point out emphatically that once in long-ago ages the Isle of Wight and the Isle of Purbeck were united'. Also advises that the 'best time to see Studland is when the wild-fowl are breeding in Little-Sea—two curious ponds much frequented by duck and teal and widgeon, and where their habits can be watched easily by a cautious person' (244). Warns, however, that the 'common sea-gull, whose breeding-place, if visited in May, is a most charming sight', has 'learned to mistrust mankind; for their true nature is to build along the shore, where young and foolish gulls still often begin housekeeping, learning by sad experience that they had better have followed their elders' example and built higher, as on the shore the eggs are easily taken' (245).
An introductory note explains that 'More than 83o north—about a good day's steaming distance to the Pole by one of our fast oceaners in clear water—GreelyGreely, Adolphus Washington
WBI CloseView the register entry >> heard the song of a single bird merrily sounding over the desolation' (264n.), and the following poem, which describes the 'arctic bleak and blank', celebrates not only the 'solitary bird', but also the 'welcome chilling drifts' and 'sluggish floes, pack'd in the Northern ice, the cumulus of years', of which, the poet exclaims, 'with gay heart I also sing' (264).
In a discussion of the gradual development of representative forms of government in Europe and North America, comments that the 'profound linguistic researches of PictetPictet, Adolphe
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, FickFick, August
CBD CloseView the register entry >>, and others have made it probable that at the time when the old Aryan language was broken up into the dialects from which the existing languages of Europe are descended the Aryan tribes were passing from a purely pastoral stage of barbarism into an incipient agricultural stage'. Also refers to that 'general law by which the useful thing, after discharging its functions, survives for purposes of ornament'. (268)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 273–89.
Declares that 'A great naturalist [probably a reference to Richard OwenOwen, Richard
DSB CloseView the register entry >>] said, "Show me a scale, I'll draw the fish". Had he been a shoemaker he might have said, "Show me a shoe, I'll tell the wearer"' (273). Gives a detailed account of the various procedures involved in the manufacture of leather shoes, remarking playfully that the next pair that the reader will purchase may at this 'same moment be dodging the lasso of the "cow-boy" on some far-away plain' (274). Observes that 'Tanning in all its departments is largely experimental. A tannery is a great laboratory, and even experienced tanners differ in their opinions of treatment' (279). Describes the conditions of a modern shoe factory where the '"stitch, stitch, stitch" of the weary binder' was replaced during 'the "golden age" of invention [i.e. the 1850s and 1860s]' by 'machines [that] speeded at the rate of six hundred stitches in a minute', and now the 'clatter of machinery is heard' constantly by the largely female workforce (280). It is only the procedure of 'lasting' a shoe that still 'requires a skilled workman, and is a process which through years of wonderful invention has stood invulnerable against any improvement over an honest pair of hands'. Indeed, although 'Two or three inventors [...] claim to have discovered this philosopher's stone [...] there is no machine for fine work which has yet stood the test of an exacting market'. (282) Comments on the 'revolutionizing influence' of the 'McKayMcKay, Gordon
RLIN CloseView the register entry >> shoe-sewing machine' and the 'little shoe-makers shops [that have] disappeared before the march of the sewing machine', noting that 'By letters patent, for many years the companyMcKay Shoe Machinery Company, firm CloseView the register entry >> controlling the machine collected a royalty from persons who used it, and one large manufacturer paid in a single year the sum of fifteen thousand dollars for the privilege of using thirteen of them. A McKay stamp, like a postage stamp, was in these times attached to each pair of shoes made on this machine'. Indeed, while 'Rivers have attracted capitalists to build acres of mills on their banks, [...] this machine has made cities and large towns anywhere'. (284) Also examines some of the 'many interesting machines used in addition' in the making of shoes (286). Asserts that 'In view of the accomplishments of one short generation, it is not visionary to assume that the invention of shoe machinery is far from its possibilities', and looks forward to an attempt 'to combine different steps' in the manufacturing process. In fact, although it is 'not probable that a shoe can ever be well made and profitably made by one machine, [...] it is not hard for a person who has watched the development of a few years to believe that the manufacture of cheap slippers for house wear is capable of enough simplification to approach it'. (289)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 327–31.
Geology, Physical Geography, Ancient Authorities, Manufactories, Environmentalism, Aeronautics, Navigation, Military Technology, Electromagnetism, Measurement, Evolution, Religion, Animal Development, Extra-Terrestrial Life
Reports that Thomas M ReadeReade, Thomas Mellard
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, who has 'devoted much attention to chemical denudation of the earth's surface', has now calculated that 'an average of 100 tons per square mile per annum are removed from the American continent', and comments that while 'HerodotusHerodotus of Halicarnassus
(d. c. 430–420 BC)
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, who was so interested in the marvels that might be done by an "industrious river" like the Nile [as discussed in A Trautvetter, 'The Nile', Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 8 (1884), 165–80], would have been pleased by the [...] calculations', the 'EditorProctor, Richard Anthony
DSB CloseView the register entry >> of KnowledgeKnowledge
Directory CloseView the register entry >>, however, distrusts such statistics'. Observes that 'petrified wood [...] is so abundant in the United States' that 'In San Francisco there is now a factory for cutting and polishing these petrifactions into mantelpieces, tiles, tablets, and other architectural parts for which marble or slate is commonly used'. Insists, however, that 'Geologists will regret the destruction of such interesting primeval remains, and some steps ought to be taken to preserve certain tracts in their original state'. (329) In Paris, the politician Charles F H MangonMangon, Charles François Hervé
WBI CloseView the register entry >> has given details of the 'voyage accomplished by Messrs. RenardRenard, Charles
WBI CloseView the register entry >> and KrebsKrebs, Arthur C
http://www.flight100.org/history/fra.html CloseView the register entry >> with their navigable balloon', and he concluded that the 'problem of balloon navigation was now practically solved, and affirmed that whenever France liked she could furnish herself with an aerial fleet' (329–30). Announces that Robert LenzLenz, Robert
WBI CloseView the register entry >> has suggested 'an ingenious application of the telephone to measure the differences of temperature between stations at a distance from each other' which are 'united by two dissimilar wires—say of silver and iron—with a soldered joint at either end'. If the 'temperatures of the two joints are dissimilar, a thermo-electric current will be developed and circulate in the wires' causing a telephone connected to the current to 'sound until the temperature of the ends is equalised, when the current ceases and the telephone becomes silent'. Reflecting that 'Buddhists, according to Mr. Sinnett'sSinnett, Alfred Percy
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>Esoteric BuddhismSinnett, Alfred
Percy 1883. Esoteric Buddhism, London: Trübner
CloseView the register entry >>, believe in evolution "by gushes"', quotes a passage from an article in NatureNature
CloseView the register entry >> by John S GardnerGardner, John Starkie
WBI CloseView the register entry >> which suggests that organisms such as 'the Echinodermata, the Crustacea, [and] Insecta' which 'appear at once fully developed [...] and never develop into anything higher [...] seem to have been evolutionised in a very sudden manner, and as yet afford no grounds for controverting the Buddhist belief that they are well-developed arrivals from other planets'. Asks, however, 'how did they get on to, and how did they get off, other planets?'. (330)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 332–36.
Considers the 'influence of climate' on the behaviour of different races and nations, reflecting that the 'conquering and successful colonizing races, who are accustomed to an aggressive and defensive warfare against frost, take naturally to rough sports. We never hear of the students of El Azhar, in Cairo, playing at football, or taking a degree in rowing'. Similarly, 'wife-beating, although occasionally indulged in in mild latitudes, has never been practised anywhere so successfully as in cold and disagreeable climates. The people at the South are no more warm-hearted and constant than the people of the North, but they are less vigorous in the physical expression of their feelings, and they enjoy themselves in a different way'. (332)
In a tour of Hatfield House, the Jacobean mansion which is the family seat of the current leader of the Conservative Party, remarks that 'Lord Salisbury'sCecil, Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-, 3rd
Marquess of Salisbury
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> particular den is a room on the ground floor, which is used as dressing-room, bath-room, and laboratory. Great statesmen usually have some peculiar bend aside from their ordinary work, and suggestive of how they would have gained their livelihood had their lines fallen in other places', and, while his predecessor Benjamin DisraeliDisraeli, Benjamin, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> wrote novels, 'Lord Salisbury dabbles in chemistry. In his room is a large cupboard with glass doors displaying a portentous array of chemicals. His Lordship is also a successful amateur in photography. He has put to practical use his scientific talents by planning the lighting of Hatfield House by electricity' (346), and he 'works in peculiarly fortunate circumstances, seeing that the river Lea runs through the park, and is utilized for motive power, thus saving the cost and inconvenience of a steam-engine' (347).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 372–86.
Human Species, Archaeology, Ethnography, Heterodoxy, Race, Mesmerism
Describes the numerous 'crumbling palaces and temples of races long gone by' in the Yucatan region of Mexico, which make it a principal 'point of attraction for students of American archæology' (372). Reveals that many of these ancient ruins contain mysterious 'symbols pertaining to Masonic rites' (376), and these 'inscriptions that have puzzled the heads of more than one wise man, [...] now have a fair chance of being deciphered, thanks to the perseverance of Dr. Le PlongeonLe Plongeon, Augustus
RLIN CloseView the register entry >>' (377). Notes frequently that the primitive rites and customs of the indigenous population of Yucatan resemble those found in many other parts of the world, and Egypt, Hindostan, and Central Africa in particular [cf. Anon D R O'Sullivan, 'A Fairy Tale of Central American Travel. How Cain and Abel were Found in the Lost Atlantis', Review of Reviews, 12 (1895), 271–81]. The 'instrument called tunkul' used in 'sacred ceremonies', for instance, 'reminds us of the war drum used in Africa to call the tribes together, mentioned by both Du ChailluDu Chaillu, Paul Belloni
CBD CloseView the register entry >> and StanleyStanley, Sir Henry Morton
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>' (384–85), while the 'small three-tailed whip', a 'symbol of ancient freemasonry' held by dancers during a sacred Yucatan procession, 'call[s] to mind the Egyptian flagellum of Osiris' (384). Likewise, the 'natives of Yucatan always carry infants [...] astride their hip, as the people of Hindostan also do' (385). Suggests that 'By mural paintings found in the ruined cities we learn that anciently they practised what is to-day called mesmerism, and induced clairvoyance'. Now, however, 'all the scientific knowledge of their ancestors has, by slavery and oppression, been reduced to gross superstition and ignorance' (386).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 399–406.
Announcing that 'After ten years of preliminary work [...] the great Lick ObservatoryUniversity of California—Lick Observatory
CloseView the register entry >> of California now seems fairly on the road to success' (399), gives a brief biographical account of its 'wealthy and eccentric' patron James LickLick, James
CBD CloseView the register entry >> (400). Details how in 1873 Lick, who had made a fortune in San Francisco real estate, devoted $700,000 to the 'construction of a telescope "larger and more powerful than any ever made before", together with an observatory which should be connected with it', although 'he evidently regarded the observatory as an appendage of the telescope'. Reflects that Lick, despite his largesse, 'knew nothing more of astronomical instruments or their uses than the average California gold-digger', and his beneficence was probably prompted by 'a discussion in some papers devoted to diffusing scientific knowledge of the possibility of constructing a "million dollar telescope"'. (401) Reveals that because 'Mr. Lick had suddenly taken an antipathy to the only American firm who could undertake so great an instrument', an unnamed 'special agentNewcomb, Simon
DSB CloseView the register entry >> was sent abroad to gather information on [...] European mechanicians' who might be able to complete the project (402). The eventual positioning of the observatory on Mount Hamilton was advised by Sherburne W BurnhamBurnham, Sherburne Wesley
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, who, 'although an amateur in the science [of astronomy], had gained a world-wide reputation by the discovery, with an eight-inch telescope, of a great number of double stars which had escaped the scrutiny of the Herschels [WilliamHerschel, Sir William
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> and John F WHerschel, Sir John Frederick William
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>] and the Struves [Friedrich G WStruve, Friedrich Georg Wilhelm
DSB CloseView the register entry >> and Otto WStruve, Otto Wilhelm
DSB CloseView the register entry >>]'. The 'steadiness of view' afforded by Burnham's choice of location was soon confirmed by the 'observations and photographs of the transit of Venus taken [...] in 1882 by Professor D. P. ToddTodd, David Peck
WBI CloseView the register entry >>'. (404) Even now, however, there remain problems with the construction of the actual telescope, and the 'great object-glass' that is being manufactured in France by Charles FeilFeil, Charles
WBI CloseView the register entry >> 'has not been shipped up to the time of sending these pages to press, and no one this side of the Atlantic knows what the state of things in the Paris foundry really is' [the glass was not completed until late in 1885]. Warns that 'it will probably require two years to complete the instrument'. (405) Expresses unease that 'the terms of Mr. Lick's donation are such as to prevent the [board of] trustees from inaugurating a course of observations', and that instead the 'institution is to be turned over to the Regents of the University of CaliforniaUniversity of California
CloseView the register entry >>, who are to appoint an astronomer, and put the institution into operation', but whose actions will always be dependent upon the 'current income of the establishment'. Even then, the 'frank opinion of the ablest astronomers of to-day [...] would no doubt be that the making of great telescopes had already been pushed beyond the requirements of science, and that current solid work must mostly be done with smaller instruments'. Concludes by advising that careful consideration must go into 'getting the right man as astronomer of the institution', for the 'plain fact is that upon him more than upon the instruments the reputation of the observatory must depend' [the Lick Observatory's first director was the author's protege Edward S HoldenHolden, Edward Singleton
WBI CloseView the register entry >>]. (406)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 419–28.
Finds the earliest account of a 'guardian bird' in Herodotus'sHerodotus of Halicarnassus
(d. c. 430–420 BC)
DSB CloseView the register entry >> description of the 'curious relationship' between the crocodile and the 'crocodile watcher' or 'trochilus', which enters the reptile's mouth and removes the leeches which cling to its teeth. While 'Subsequent writers [...] denied the story of the old Greek on the ground of improbability', now 'Modern writers who have been to Egypt confirm the substance of the story'. (419) Details the peculiar symbiotic relationships of several other types of 'guardian bird', frequently comparing their habits to human actions. The crocodile watcher, for instance, is 'strikingly like our human trochilus, the dentist', while for 'red-beaked ox-biters' the 'ticks [on the back of a rhinoceros] are as so many nuggets of gold to the prospecting man' (419–20). Describes the treacherous habits of the 'white-beaked honey guide', a 'very Judas among birds', which, by its 'importunate invitation[s]' to lead the way to a 'nest of wild bees', frequently causes 'black attendants' to desert a 'white hunter [who] is eagerly pursuing the fresh spoor of one of the great pachyderms'. Notes that the bird is 'apparently entirely devoid of conscience, which will not be so much wondered at, perhaps, when it is known that it belongs to the cuckoos'. (422). Exclaims 'Guardianship in birds! The motive? Alas! the answer must usually be, ticks, bats, flies, snakes—a good meal, in short' (426). However, 'pure disinterestedness is sometimes seen', and the 'crane does, indeed, perform one of the purest and most beautiful acts of benevolence recorded in natural history' by allowing a 'great many small birds [...] incapable of long sustained flight' to migrate from Europe to warmer climes on the 'backs of their long-legged, big-hearted friends' (426–27). The smaller birds 'comfortably sit [on the back of the crane], and repay their benefactors by their cheery twittering and merry songs'. Concedes that 'It may be that future investigation will prove that the conduct of the crane is the result of some less noble impulse than that of doing good for good's sake', but suggests that 'in the absence of the necessary proof to that effect it will do no harm to accept it as it appears to be'. (427)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 452–66.
Describes the new industrial town of Pullman, Illinois, which was founded in 1881 for the employees of the Pullman Palace Car CompanyPullman Palace Car Company
CloseView the register entry >> by George M PullmanPullman, George Mortimer
CBD CloseView the register entry >>. Located some ten miles south of Chicago, this 'social experimentation on a vast scale' (453) has been planned so that 'clergymen, officers of the company, and mechanics live in adjoining dwellings'. These simple, purpose-built dwellings, however, have nevertheless 'avoided the frightful monotony of New York'. After all, a 'slight knowledge of mathematics shows how infinite [is] the variety of possible combinations of a few elements, and a better appreciation of this fact than that exhibited by the architecture of Pullman it would be difficult to find'. (457) Observes that the town's luxurious 'library [...] contains [...] numerous periodicals, among which were noticed several likely to be of special importance to mechanics, such as the Railway AgeRailway Age
BUCOP CloseView the register entry >>, the Iron AgeIron Age
Directory CloseView the register entry >>, Scientific AmericanScientific American
BUCOP CloseView the register entry >>, and Popular Science MonthlyPopular Science Monthly
Appleton's Popular Science Monthly
Directory CloseView the register entry >>' (458), although the 'annual charge' of 'three dollars [is] rather high for workmen in these days of free libraries' (459). Suggests that the building of Pullman was 'probably the first time a single architect [Solon S BemanBeman, Solon Spencer
WBI CloseView the register entry >>] has ever constructed a whole town systematically upon scientific principles' (460). The town is also notable for the 'pure air and perfect sanitary conditions of the houses' (463), and enjoys 'a perfect system of sewerage, similar to that which has been found so successful in Berlin, Germany. The sewerage is all collected in a great tank under the "water tower", and then pumped on to a large garden farm of one hundred and seventy acres, called the "Pullman Farm"' (462). Concludes, however, that the control exercised by the Pullman Company and the absence of freedom for ordinary citizens, the 'fatal weakness of many systems of reform and well-intentioned projects of benevolence', mean that the new manufacturing town on the shores of Lake Calumet is 'un-American' and 'not the American ideal' (465).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 486–93.
Warns that Daniel G ThompsonThompson, Daniel Greenleaf
WBI CloseView the register entry >> 'professes himself the pupil and follower of Mr. MillMill, John Stuart
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, of Mr. Herbert SpencerSpencer, Herbert
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, and of Professor BainBain, Alexander
DSB CloseView the register entry >>', and readers 'cannot therefore expect from him such lessons as were taught by Hegelian tutors of old, nor a fond adherence to Aristotle'sAristotle
DSB CloseView the register entry >> treatise, De Animâ' (490). Complains that Thompson's views on the origins of language are not tested by the 'comparison of civilised and savage tongues', and that he 'decorates his theme with a very curious set of quotations from authors of extremely diverse dates and qualities'. Concludes that the book will not be particularly welcomed 'even by the unscientific reader'. (491) Proclaims that Grant AllenAllen, Grant (Charles Grant Blairfindie)
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> has 'plenty of the scientific imagination, which he can divert at will into the paths of romance' (491–92), and he 'has, in fiction, a field of his own, the romance of science'. Advises that 'it would be worth his while to make himself still more accomplished in this art, and, perhaps, to take himself and his work in this kind more seriously. His wide knowledge of strange lore and of many lands must enable him to conceive crowds of perfectly new situations [...]; this is better than popular treatise on the domestic snail, and the evolutions of the black beetle. Many men can write these, better or worse. Only one could write John Creedy [one of the tales in the volume under review]'. (492)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 493–96.
Editor's Historical Record
Regular Feature, News-Digest
 Science and Progress
Geology, Instruments, Chemistry, Military Technology, History of Science, Telegraphy, Analytical Chemistry, Nutrition, Aeronautics, Navigation, War, Railways, Sound, Health, Accidents
Reports that the 'violent shock[s] of earthquake[s]' across the Italian peninsula were registered in an 'unusual agitation' in the 'seismographic instruments at Rome [at the Osservatorio ed archivio centrale geodinamicoOsservatorio ed Archivio Centrale Geodinamico, Rome CloseView the register entry >>] and elsewhere in Italy'. In Shanghai, Daniel J MacgowanMacgowan, Daniel Jerome
RLIN CloseView the register entry >> has affirmed the 'claims of the Chinese to be the originators of gunpowder and firearms', although 'while the Chinese discovered the explosive nature of nitre, sulphur, and charcoal in combination, they were laggards in its application, from inability to perfect its manufacture, so, in the use of fire-arms, failing to prosecute experiment, they are found behind in the matter of scientific gunnery'. Records an 'instance of rapid telegraphy' when an exchange of messages between the Japanese city of Yokohama and London 'occupied as nearly as possible the time of the sun's passage between the two places'. (494) Discusses 'that problem of well-educated childhood, the edible bird's-nest', the chemical nature of which has been examined by Joseph R GreenGreen, Joseph Reynolds
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, who 'could not get any evidence of vegetable matter in the nest substance' and instead insists on the 'absence of anything but a glandular secretion' in the 'nests used for soup at the recent Health ExhibitionInternational Health Exhibition (1884), London CloseView the register entry >>' (494–95). Notes that in France the 'Government have bestowed fresh honours on the officers of the Meudon steering-balloon' [see Anon, ' Science and Progress', Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 327–31], although in fact now the 'steering-balloon has been dismantled without undergoing any new experiments', and the 'Commission appointed by the Academy of SciencesAcadémie des Sciences, Paris CloseView the register entry >> to report on the balloon has [not] published any verdict respecting it'. Nevertheless, an 'army of French invading us from the sky [...] will be an unpleasant experience in our next war, unless our volunteers acquire the art of shooting the enemy on the wing'. Observes that a 'loud chorus of complaint is at present going up of the physical and mental injury and disquietude inflicted on dwellers near railway-stations by the incessant shrieking of the engine whistles', and points to the 'even more serious evil, that whistling by the drivers of locomotives has become so common as to have practically ceased to be regarded as any indication of danger'. (495)
Two female artists, Bessy and Anastasia, travel by railway from Boston to the coastal town of Rockport, where they intend to sketch the granite quarries of Cape Ann. Once there, the well-informed Anastasia remarks, 'The value of the product of the granite quarries of Massachusetts was nearly a million and a half dollars in 1875', and she reflects that 'It's a very entertaining book, that State census. The list of mines, quarries, and so forth, is edifying enough' (550–51). She later informs her companion that 'granite is not always so hard [...]. Don't you know it was melted, to begin with?—all white-hot, flowing out of the centre of the earth?', but Bessy replies that 'Some geologists think it was not', and she adds, 'It also, I hear, explodes sometimes in case of fire'. To this, Anastasia, 'looking into her notebook', responds, 'That's because of the unequal expansion of the parts. You're telling me all the things I meant to tell you. I've been looking them up in the encyclopædia, or rather in several different encyclopædias'. (552) The two women also ponder the environmental effects of the powerful 'steam-drill' used by the quarrymen ('which makes in a day a hole twenty to thirty feet deep'), and consider whether it is 'human work which they were doing, the ancient healthful business for which Adam was set in the garden?' (552–53). Anastasia, however, insists, 'I have always heard that what we were put here for was to subdue the earth', and she finds 'something inspiring in the atmosphere of hard work' (553).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 578–90.
Argues that as the 'industrial phase of civilization slowly supplants the military phase [...] Men become less inclined to destroy life or to inflict pain; or to use the popular terminology, which happens to coincide precisely with that of the doctrine of evolution, they become less brutal and more humane' (578). Considers the 'rapidity and unabated steadiness of the increase of the English race in America', and suggests that a 'very simple operation in arithmetic' shows that the 'fact that the Americans double their numbers every twenty years' will lead to 'a population of fifteen hundred millions, or more than the population of the whole world at the present date' by the 'close of the twentieth century' (584–85). Although 'there are discernible economic reasons for believing that there will be a diminution in the rate of increase', the 'absence of such causes as formerly retarded the growth of population in Europe' and the 'abundant capacity of our country for feeding its people' means that it is an 'extremely moderate statement if we say that by the end of the next century the English race in the United States will number at least six or seven hundred millions' (585). Compares the English colonisation of North America in the seventeenth-century with 'what is going on in Africa to-day', and proclaims that this 'vast country, rich in beautiful scenery, and in resources of timber and minerals, with a salubrious climate and fertile soil [...] will not much longer be left in control of tawny lions and long-eared elephants, and negro fetich-worshippers' (587). Rather, 'within two or three centuries the African continent will be occupied by a mighty nation of English descent, and covered with populous cities and flourishing farms, with railroads and telegraphs and free schools and other devices of civilization as yet undreamed of'. Similar developments will also happen in Australia as well as in New Zealand, where the 'English race is now multiplying faster than anywhere else in the world'. In fact, in the 'stupendous future of the English race' it is 'destined' that 'every land on the earth's surface that is not already the seat of an old civilization shall become English in its language, in its religion, in its political habits and traditions, and to a predominant extent in the blood of its people'. (588)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 597–601.
Defends a creature 'burdened with an undeserved and offensive name, and having somehow become an object of suspicion and dislike to many persons', and insists that in fact 'the cat-bird—mimus carolinensis—is one of the most intelligent and interesting of our [i.e. America's] native birds' (598). Notes that the bird's unusual name comes from a 'cry [...] which at a little distance somewhat resembles the "mew" of a melancholy cat' (601). Attributes several human faculties to the bird, including 'an inquiring mind' and 'a sense of humour' (598), and suggests that when the habits of the bird are observed closely 'you recognize in him something like intelligence and reason, and you can not resist the conviction that he has opinions, and could express them if only you could understand his language' (601).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 632–41.
The Brain of Man, its Architecture and Requirements
Observes that the 'famous [...] "American crowbar case"' of 1848, in which an iron bar accidentally entered the skull and 'perforated [the] brain' of an agricultural labourer, Phineas P GageGage, Phineas P
Macmillan 2000 CloseView the register entry >>, who nevertheless was able to give an 'account of how it happened' and lived on for another twelve years, at first 'startled the minds of the reading public, and confounded the medical fraternity'. Now, however, the incident can be seen 'to have been the starting-point of a new epoch in medical science. It rendered untenable all previous hypotheses that had been advanced regarding the organ of the mind', and 'the "crowbar case" is no longer a mystery to specialists in neurology'. What it, as well as more recent 'results obtained by vivisection' and other 'new methods of research', have shown is that 'the brain must be regarded as a composite organ, whose parts have each some special function, and are to a certain extent independent of each other'. (632) Indeed, 'a frog [...] deprived of only the upper part of the cerebral hemispheres' still exhibits all the usual 'manifestations of frog life', but is in fact a 'pure automaton' and has been 'transformed into a machine' (634). Argues that those 'who have claimed that conclusions drawn from experiments upon animals are not applicable to man are to-day confronted with unanswerable facts to the contrary' (632), and notes in passing that practising such 'vivisection upon the human race is impracticable' (636). Applauds the 'labors of such men as MeynertMeynert, Theodor
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, CharcotCharcot, Jean-Martin
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, NothnagelNothnagel, Hermann
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, FerrierFerrier, Sir David
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, WernickeWernicke, Carl
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, and others, [which] have made neurology a science that would exceed the comprehension of its founders', and insists that the modern view of the subject is 'one upon which it is proper as well as important that all should be generally informed' (633). Avoids examining certain aspects of the brain (i.e. the functions of the cerebellum and medulla oblongata) that are 'too complex to be discussed here' (639), and frequently employs analogy to describe the functioning of other parts. The 'nerves', for instance, 'are but telegraphic wires' and the 'nerve centres are therefore to be compared to the main offices of a telegraphic system' (633), while the brain of a new-born baby 'may be likened to the sensitized photographic plate before it has been exposed to the action of the lenses of the camera' (636). Concludes with 'a few practical remarks that might be made to the reader with benefit in the light of what has been already stated' regarding the damage that can be done to the 'wonderful organ' of the mind by the 'anxiety' of life 'in our large cities', and advises readers not to 'abuse' and 'overtax' their brains, and to get plenty of sleep and physical exercise. Also warns that the 'habitual use of drugs should be avoided. Our insane asylums draw many of their inmates from devotees to the opium and chloral habit'. (641)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 650–56.
Reflects that 'science has had a very heavy loss in Mr. McLennanMcLennan, John Ferguson
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>', and explains that his posthumously completed book demonstrates that 'even now, many races do not possess the Patriarchal Family. Perhaps the woman has several husbands, sometimes not even of the same blood. Perhaps the husband is reckoned into her family, in place of her being reckoned into his. Perhaps the children derive the family name through the mother (whose clan is never that of the father), and are thus not formally regarded as kinsfolk of the father at all. Where such practices are found, among many backward tribes, the Patriarchal Family, and paternal authority (Patria Potestas in Roman Law) do not exist'. However, the book, which 'attack[s] Sir Henry Maine'sMaine, Sir Henry James Sumner
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> views [on agnation] with extreme vigour', is 'all but impossible [...] to the "general reader"'. (655)
On an artistic tour through the German towns of the old Hanseatic League, the narrator comments, 'If we ever visit Rostock again, it will be after it has been disinfected, for on the stuffy August day we spent there we were obliged to keep our luggage closed for fear of carrying off a too lasting souvenir of the stench-laden atmosphere. Even the statue of BlücherBlücher, Gebbard Leberecht von, Prince
CBD CloseView the register entry >> which adorns the public square of this his native place looked, to our eyes, exceedingly dissatisfied with the quality of the air that is slowly corroding the surface of the bronze' (671). Later, he observes that in 'the ditches and by the road-side grow countless varieties of wild flower—a perfect paradise for the botanist' (674).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 687–700.
Recounts a journey following the 'nearly meridional' course of the Rio Grande del Norte, observing that the 'un-American looking things' of this once 'very remote' region have now been brought within easy reach of the 'tourist' by the 'Pacific express' railway (687), which has also had the effect of 'Americanizing the Mexicans' (693). The Rio Grande is often called the 'Nile of New Mexico', but unlike the 'majestic current' of its Egyptian counterpart, the 'river often becomes very attenuated' during the summer heat, although it continues to flow for many miles without any visible tributaries (687). In fact, by 'one of nature's wise provisions [...] the streams, instead of keeping in sight to be drunk by the hot sun and the dry air with its sponge-like absorptive capacity [...] flee the thirst of their rival elements and sink to safety below their gravelly beds, under whose protection they run down into the Rio Grande unmolested', and the 'streams may thus be said to run upside down, with their beds atop'. Likewise, the fierce 'cloud-bursts' of the 'rainy season' in the mountains ensure the regular flooding of the dry bed of the river in late summer, as well as tossing about 'Great boulders [...] like eggs' that are 'crushed and ground with a boom and crashing like the thunder of artillery'. (690) Comments that in some parts of the valley 'the wind has blown spray from the Galisteo against the cliffs, and the rocks are thereby encrusted with alkali, making an effect much like that where the high buildings of London in their upper stories are incrusted with salts deposited by the atmospheric gases released through the burning of such vast quantities of soft coal' (691). Also notes that the landscape of the valley is full of 'ancient lava formations' that 'cover miles and miles of surface in Titanic accumulations, which tell that there was a hot time in the country in past eras' (692). Remarks that the 'Rocky Mountains proper end at Santa Fe', and suggests that they 'might be compared to a great glacier mass pushing down from the north until it can no longer resist the hot southern sun, but breaks up into detached fragments like icebergs' (696).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 701–10.
Professor Charles Evers, who holds the 'chair of chemistry' at a 'college in Owensville—a quiet town situated in the heart of the blue-grass region of Kentucky', is also 'a practical botanist, and a farmer', and, since the death of his wife, lives alone in a rambling house on his farm (701). His neighbours consider the Professor and his house a mysterious enigma, especially his purpose-built 'laboratory, into which none of them had ever been allowed to put so much as a nose: not that any of them wished to put a nose inside it. No, indeed, far from it. It smelled bad enough on the outside; so bad, in fact, that even the animals had been known to run away from around the house at times, and the servants to be sick for days. But he never was sick. He was strange who could stand such vile odors'. Even on Sundays, the Professor 'remained closely shut up' in the laboratory 'doing Heaven—perhaps the devil—only knew what'. (702) A widow in the rural neighbourhood, Mrs Artemesia Headley Peckover, is frequently bemused by seeing the Professor's strenuous attempts to capture insects such as a 'blue-and-red-winged butterfly' in his garden. Subsequently, she is given a 'shock that almost destroyed all friendliness on her part' when 'she saw jets of flame, showers of sparks, and puffs of lurid smoke through the windows of the recently furnished laboratory' and 'thought nothing else than that her neighbor's house was on fire, and at once ran with all possible and quite unprecedented violence to give notice and help', only to be informed 'with true scientific coolness and precision' by a black servant that 'Mars Charles is jes' a-sperimentin' in the libertory' (such 'negroes', she later insists, 'are not to be trusted' (708)). (704) Mrs Peckover nevertheless begins to develop a romantic interest in the eccentric Professor. Initially moving 'slowly, very slowly; in fact, quite as an emotional glacier', her affection soon gathers considerable 'momentum', and she finally bears down on him 'at a rate of motion which insured her a speedy and memorable arrival' (705). The Professor, however, has spent the summer months 'looking in the North for some specimens' (707), and after the voluptuous Mrs Peckover reveals her true feelings for him, he informs her that the 'most valuable specimen' he has collected in New England is a young lady whom he has already married (710).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 747–73.
Eulogises Edward, Prince of WalesEdward VII, King of Great Britain and Ireland and
of the British Dominions Beyond the Seas, Emperor of India
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> for his role in the 'agriculture and the improvement of stock' at the SandringhamSandringham Estate, Norfolk CloseView the register entry >> estate, which has been 'rewarded by prizes [...] received at agricultural and cattle shows'. The rural tranquillity of the royal estate, though, is frequently threatened by the 'onslaughts, aggressions, and importunate attempts of the wide-ranging guerrilla of lunatic, weak-minded folk to whom the members of royal families offer irresistible attractions'. (756) Remarks that when the Prince returned from his recent state visit to India, 'he was richly endowed with animals, and had all the materials for a menagerie'. However, while the 'elephants, tigers, etc.' now 'delight the visitors to the Zoological GardensZoological Society of London —Gardens
CloseView the register entry >>', the 'Guiney cattle' brought back to Sandringham 'do not thrive well in the Park' and 'look with Juno-like eyes at the passer-by, as if they would like to go back to India for a little idolatrous sunshine'. (761) Much to the chagrin of his secretaries, the Prince is 'a favourite mark for begging-letter writers and inventors', and regularly receives requests such as 'a demand for a loan of 10,000 francs to enable a student in natural history to go on an entomological excursion to South America' (763). Reveals the fact, which is 'not generally known', that the Prince contracted his near fatal case of typhoid on an incognito visit to war-torn Sedan in the Ardennes region of France, which had 'the pestilential air of a town in the centre of a battle-field, which had been for many months filled with wounded men [i.e. during the Franco-Prussian War]'. Thankfully, on his return to Sandringham the 'first symptoms of the Prince's indisposition' were rapidly diagnosed by the surgeon Oscar M P ClaytonClayton, Sir Oscar Moore Passey
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, and he was able eventually to make a full recovery. (773)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 774–81.
Contends that of all outdoor pursuits, fly-fishing alone brings its practitioners 'face to face with nature', and gives to anglers of all ages 'that peace and content which open the heart of man to see and love the ever-changing beauties of nature'. Earnestly recommends the pastime to the 'weary brain-worker within whom nature clamors for occasional respite from the toil of life', and assures the potential angler that by taking up fly-fishing 'he will add a year to his chance for life'. (774) After celebrating the role played by 'the revered Dr. Theodatus GarlickGarlick, Theodatus
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, the father of fish-culture in this country [i.e. America]', describes the various Chinese and Japanese silk worms that produce the 'gut' which is used to make 'hard, transparent, and colorless' fishing line (777). Several of these worms are 'now acclimated and occasionally found wild in this country', and their presence provides an 'opportunity for a new industry in this country, one well adapted to those who from sex or other causes are unfitted for severe manual labour'. Recounts a 'series of experiments in the open air, extending over months' conducted by the author, which show the necessity of having line that is 'absolutely invisible to the fish'. The experiments used a 'tank filled with water [...] provided with a glass plate where the bottom joined one end', and 'furnished a solution to [the] interesting question' of how 'fishes manage to see objects on land, as they unquestionably do', showing that objects at a certain distance from the surface of water are 'visible by refraction on its margin'. (778)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 799–806.
Mental Illness, Neurology, Medical Practitioners, Psychology, Christianity, Supernaturalism
When Max, a New England doctor, and his old-maid sister, the narrator of the tale, are approached by a mysterious young woman who tells them 'You are waiting for me. Oh, I am so glad to be at home!', they take pity on her and allow her to live in their home (800). The nameless girl seems to have no memory of her past life, and she is visited by a doctor 'who was skilled in nervous ailments, and who knew, oh, so much! of the workings of the brain'. He considers that the problem is 'all about the little girl's brain, and the part of it which had gone wrong, and the "gray matter" there, and [...] it would all come right with returning health, and she would have the past again which she had lost' (802). While staying with Max and his sister, the unknown girl assumes the name and identity of their dead younger sister Faith, and also becomes engaged to Max, although she also occasionally begins to remember details of her former life. The day before she is due to marry Max, she disappears completely and is never heard from again. While the 'learned doctor who had been always so interested in "the case" [...] talked wisely of it all', Max's sister thinks that 'what he said [...] was not true', and remains convinced that 'God sent her new and fresh to earth [...] from some land where she always dreamed of us' and that 'some day, through a misty glow, in a land where it is always summer, I shall see her [...] and she will say again, as at first she said it: "You are waiting for me. Oh, I am so glad to be at home!"' (806).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 810–17.
Editor's Literary Record
Regular Feature, Review
Joseph 1885. Through Masai Land: A Journey of Exploration Among
the Snowclad Volcanic Mountains and Strange Tribes of Eastern Equatorial
Africa; Being the Narrative of the Royal Geographic Society's Expedition to
Mount Kenia and Lake Victoria Nyanza, 1883–1884, London: S. Low,
Marston & Co.
CloseView the register entry >>
Reflects that Joseph Thomson'sThomson, Joseph
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> 'animated' narrative recounts the 'extraordinary dangers and difficulties' of his explorations in equatorial Africa in 'a fashion almost too light-hearted'. Indeed, his 'struggle against dysentery makes a little epic by itself,—a man of less resolution would have died'. (811) In addition to the 'geographical discoveries' of 'beautiful extinct volcanic hills' described in the book (811–12), the 'ethnologist will find [...] abundance of remarkable facts in the study of the Masai, a race ghostless, it appears, but not godless, though their substitute for the divine conception has a Spenserian vagueness' (812).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 817–19.
Congratulates those 'readers who are alive in this latitude upon the end of the sheer struggle for existence this year', and insists that the magazine is 'naturally partial to those of its readers who pull through' the cold winter months, because a periodical 'needs a vigorous circulation to keep the body warm; and the larger the body is, the more need of an active circulation'. Happily, Harper's New Monthly MagazineHarper's New Monthly Magazine
Harper's Monthly Magazine
Directory CloseView the register entry >> has 'a feeling of security in an audience, in having a circulation through all our longitudes and most of the latitudes of the globe'. In considering the 'effect of intellect upon climate' and the 'power in mental activity to resist or control climatic influences', suggests that 'Some philosophers have held that there is an occult sympathy between mind and matter, and that a great accumulation of mind upon one point—that is to say, the direction of a strong current of desire for or against some operation of nature—would be effective'. However, such a mass 'experiment has never been tried, for common consent at any moment never has been attained'. (819) Concedes that it is 'probably necessary to have snow at the poles in order to keep the poles cool, and insure a proper circulation and change of air round the globe, just as it is necessary to keep the equator so hot that it is as unpleasant to sit on it as on a kitchen stove', but protests that 'in this region [...] the only effect of the presence of snow is to fill the atmosphere with chilling moisture, lung fever, pneumonia, and that sort of thing', and condemns the widespread delight elicited by snow, complaining that the 'ignorance of this scientific age is discouraging' (819–20). While 'any struggle or trial is invigorating to the moral and intellectual nature', the annual 'hand-to-hand struggle with extreme cold for months' in fact merely 'drains vitality' and hinders any kind of mental development. For instance, the 'Esquimau is but little raised above the polar bear and the seal. His whole existence is just an effort to keep alive, to get blubber and skins enough to generate and keep in his body vital heat. He can think of nothing else, he has room for no other mental development'. Precisely the same thing, moreover, is found in the 'diaries and accounts of the polar exploration fanatics'. These studies of the 'capacity of the human organism to resist the unrestrained attacks of nature [...] doubtless have a physiological interest', but they are otherwise 'painful' and 'monotonous' for the general reader. (820)
Travelling through New Mexico on the 'adventurous little narrow-gauge' of the 'Denver and Rio Grande RailwayDenver and Rio Grande Railway
CloseView the register entry >>', the artistic narrator remarks on the 'weird and Dantesque' landscape which is dominated by 'leagues of wild volcanic débris and weary stretches of arid alkali plains' (825). Once he and his wife reach the town of Española they at once note the presence of 'that remarkable race of sedentary Indians which has of late been attracting so much attention', and determine to visit some 'peculiar cave dwellings which have been such a puzzle to archæologists' (826). The caves prompt reflections on the lives of their 'prehistoric inhabitants' who 'must have been content with the very smallest modicum of comfort' (828 and 830). Present-day Mexicans are, as a rule, 'a diminutive, chétif, and dark-skinned race, with a considerable admixture of Indian blood' who will 'never work more than just enough to eke out a bare subsistence', and there is no 'race prejudice so inveterate as that which exists between the Mexicans and [...] their "white neighbours"' (832). Nevertheless, in New Mexico the recent 'irruption of modern ideas has brought with it the modern lust for gold', and now even the 'lazy and careless Mexicans [...] examine specimens of mineral with as curious an interest as the oldest Colorado miner. Every man in the country carries in his pocket a lump of green or blue mineral and a microscope', and 'there is no code of honor in the world more exacting than that which requires of all old miners that they shall admire one another's "mineral"' (835).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 857–76.
Zoological Gardens, Navigation, Humanism, Engineering, History of Science, Railways, Pollution, Machinery, Transport, Progress, Environmentalism
Attempting to travel between Paddington and the Limehouse Basin using London's neglected network of canals, the American narrator describes the journey through Regent's Park and the 'grounds of the Zoological GardensZoological Society of London —Gardens
CloseView the register entry >>', noting that 'the quaint buildings, half hidden by the foliage, the queer boxes and cages lying about on the bank above, in which beasts and birds have been brought from other lands, give a flavor of these other lands to the unfamiliar scene'. Soon after passing the Zoological Gardens, the earthy captain of the barge, who has already abandoned his initial impression that the narrator and his companion 'were scientific parties, on discovering our gross ignorance of all the phenomena of canal navigation', mistakes them for 'gents of the Humane SocietyRoyal Humane Society
CloseView the register entry >>', and on being berated by a 'ribald youth' standing on the canal path, asks them 'why carn't you do something about this sort o' thing, instead o' botherin' forever about dumb animiles?'. (864) As they approach Kentish Road Lock, the narrator observes that the lock is a 'simple old affair [...] hardly changed in its construction since Leonardo da VinciDa Vinci, Leonardo
DSB CloseView the register entry >> built the first one in 1497'. While waiting for the lock to be opened, he reflects on 'other meritorious matters' such as 'how old canals are [...] and how the Chinese dug them, and the Egyptians used them', and comes to 'the Duke of BridgewaterEgerton, Francis, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> and his great work' before realising that he is 'fast becoming an obnoxious member of the Society for the Diffusion of Useless Knowledge [a parody of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful KnowledgeSociety for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge
CloseView the register entry >>]' (867). Asserts that along a stretch of canal in Islington the 'air we breathe is almost as poisonous as the delectable compound called by that name [i.e. the air] provided for the passengers by the underground railway' (870). Discusses plans for new railway lines alongside the canal, and suggests that the 'masses of men pouring out of every city station from under-ground and suburban railways of a morning, and in again at night' show that these 'new ways of transit are needed' (873), although those who 'come to the banks of the canal to [...] enjoy the pittance of peace and of beauty left to them amid the city's ugliness and noise feel deeply the loss which is threatened them, and protest [...] against the threatened inroad of iron rails, signal-boxes, steam-whistles, rattling trains, and all that Modern Improvement means' (874).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 898–905.
Asserts that the 'breeder who pushes his efforts in any of the numerous branches of domesticated animal nature' will find no 'keener enjoyment' than if he 'chooses the dairy cow as the object of his affection'. Explains how when the inhabitants of Jersey and Guernsey 'discovered that their native herds surpassed all others in richness of milk [...] local agricultural societies were established, and encouragement was held out to the farmers upon these two islands to breed with more care and system. Hence an improvement was effected and a more fixed type of cattle established upon each'. (898) Recalls how, after Jersey cattle first arrived in America in 1815, there was once a time when factors 'based entirely upon æsthetic grounds, and bearing no relevancy to the usefulness of the animals [...] obtained a most arbitrary hold upon breeding fashions' (901), and insists that now that breeders instead look mostly for 'special strains of butter blood', it is only to 'people familiar with the most successful theories of breeding for great performance' that the 'very high prices paid [...] for animals of special blood will not seem strange'. Indeed, to the 'mass of people' these blood 'values' will seem 'almost entirely fictitious'. (902) Reflects that in America some of the 'most successful breeding, judged by modern standards, has been accomplished by men who are prominent in other fields', such as Richard M HoeHoe, Richard Marsh
CBD CloseView the register entry >>, 'whose inventions and improvements in printing-presses have revolutionized the business of printing', and Alfred B DarlingDarling, Alfred B
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, the New York hotel proprietor (903). Also reflects briefly on 'the drawbacks of acclimating' Jersey cattle to North American conditions (905).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 906–15.
Natural History, Botany, Analogy, Military Technology, Design, Theology of Nature, Nomenclature, Superstition, Supernaturalism, Ancient Authorities, Psychology, Acclimatization, Nationalism
Discovering a 'handsome specimen of a witch-hazel bush' while on 'one of my autumn walks', the narrator is forced to reconsider his 'rash conceit' of presuming to know all about the plant 'whose seeds I had eaten with the dormice and the squirrels [...] for twenty-five years' (906 and 908). In fact, by considering the 'greenish nuts' of the plant as 'a mere botanical pod' (906), they are soon 'proved to be genuine catapults' and their 'hard and polished stones' are 'missiles' which are propelled with 'sharp detonations' and form a 'perfect fusillade' comprising both 'a universal bombardment, and an intermittent fire' (907–08). Contends that this 'curious expellent mechanism is easily understood upon careful inspection, revealing an evident design in its impetuous proclivities' (908). In addition, the flower of the plant is described as 'almost supernal in its mystic beauty', with 'delicate petals [that] give no token of their materiality' (909), while the plant's 'phosphorescent aureole' means that when the narrator stands 'among the boughs' he resembles 'a mediæval saint, completely enveloped in a luminous halo' (906). Consideration of the plant's 'well-merited name', the origin of which 'Botanical writers [...] have never fully traced', leads to a discussion of witch-hazel's alleged 'complicity with the ancient and abominable deeds of superstition and witchcraft' (909–10). Indeed, the 'forked witch-hazel twig' has long been used as a 'divining-rod' and 'a belief in its peculiar efficacy has by no means ceased even at the present time', with the 'Central Pacific Railway CompanyCentral Pacific Railway Company
CloseView the register entry >> [...] said to have located a number of Artesian wells by its aid' (910). Citing the accounts of Georgius AgricolaAgricola, Georgius
DSB CloseView the register entry >> and Rossiter W RaymondRaymond, Rossiter Worthington
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, insists, however, that 'ample explanation of many strange phenomena in connection with divination' can be found in an 'extreme sympathetic sensitiveness of the nervous system [...] or an extensive and intimate knowledge of material nature through the sense of sight alone' (912). Proclaims the witch-hazel to be 'America's own flower', and explains that although it is found in various parts of Europe 'it has remained true to its native soil in spite of coaxing, and refuses to become naturalized', never showing 'so bright a face as in its natural habitat' (915).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 980–81.