George Streynsham Master.

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some of the elements that gave interest to the story of
Joan Lowrie's life, it is in some regards decidedly
better than its predecessor. Mrs. Burnett grows in
the mastery of her material, and we look forward
most hopefully to the maturing of her powers with
use, and to the steady increase of artistic repose
which maturity brings with it. So keen an ob-
server and so racy a writer as she will yet give us
strong and well sustained novels of American life.



Bartlett'a " Prom Egypt to Paleatlne.*' *

There are two methods of making modem books
upon the lands of the Bible. One is this: the



***From Egypt to Palestine." By S. C. Bartlett, D. D.,
LL. D., Preskknt of Daitmoath G>Uege. New York : Harper
^-'Hjthers.



author becomes a tourist, and records with more or
less enthusiasm his personal adventures in going
over the usual and, perhaps, some unusual routes.
The other is this: a thoughtful student prepares
himself with all diligence for his eastern journey, so
that he may know what to see and what to try to
see ; then he pursues his course, pushing off as
widely upon original paths as is possible under his
circumstances, and assiduously observing and care-
fully recording all he finds. Afterward, the notes
he has made on the spot are borne into the coolness
and rest of his home, where, with the aid of all
kinds of literature at his command, they are reduced
to a narrative, which is at once a story and a dis-
quisition, worth putting on the shelf for any one's
reading and reference.

The book before us is made in this latter way,
and so is one of the most valuable and interest-
ing of all the new publications which have come
under our examination. Dr. Bartlett has given
a graphic account of his travel through Egypt, over
the peninsula of Sinai, and across the Holy Land
from Beersheba to Beyroot. Everywhere on its
pages he shows himself the earnest and discrimina-
ting scholar, as well as the devout Christian ; and
in the quiet of his study he has compared his ac-
quisitions with those recorded by others, — French,
English, and American, — and has-frankly given his
conclusions. It is evident that he has enjoyed the
widest range of reading, and knows thoroughly
what he is talking about.

Some of the results he reaches are worth noting
at the present stage of Oriental exploration. He
hardly plants his foot in Eg3rpt before he summarily
rejects the showy theories of C. Piazzi Smyth con-
cerning the great pyramid of Ghizeh, insisting that
all those huge structures near Memphis are tombs,
and the celebrated ** coffer" is only an empty, and
now lidless, sarcophagus. He corrects the loose
phraseology of tourists, which pronoimces Egypt a
" rainless region," by instancing occasions and dates
of copious storms. Rameses U. is admitted by
him to have been a most powerful and not over-
virtuous monarch; but he insists on identifying
Menephta, one of his fifty-nine sons, as the Pharaoh
of the Exodus and the oppressor of Israel. He
disputes Dr. Robinson's site of Etham, and locates
that important town not far from the northern end
of Lake Timsah. So, farther down in the peninsula,
he thinks the mysterious inscriptions of the Wady
Mukatteb were cut in the rocks by a mixed multi-
tude of heathen and Christians belonging to a people
now extinct, whose very language has disappeared.
Of course he surrenders Serbal and Jebel Mousa,
and accepts Ras Sufsafeh as the true Sinai. The
discussions concerning the entire region of the Ex-
odus and the Wandering are singularly interesting.

Arriving in Palestine, he pursues the ordinary
itinerary of travel; but his narrative glances in
every direction, in order to touch customs and rites,
field and flower, costume and climate. For one
thing, he declares unequivocably that, after a dili-
gent inquiry, he could find knowledge of no such
thing as a ** wine " unfermented or unintoxicating ;



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■nd he asserts that, eren during Passover, the Rab-
bins themselTes use ordinary liquor.

In Jerusalem he seems to share the usual comical
bewilderment of those who try to trace the course
of the ancient walls ; and, though he turns abruptly
firom the traditional church of Jesus's sepulcher, he
does not go with Ferguson to Mount Moriah for it,
nor, so fiu* as we can find, does he assert that he
thinks Calvary was on the knoll close by the
Damascus gate. He gets into the Dome of the Rock
on payment of two francs, which certainly shows
progressiveness on the part of the authorities ; but
he could not even look into the mosque at Hebron
without being stoned, which shows that Moham-
medan bigotry has still reserved one spot in which
to make a stand. Farther to the north, he takes
Tell Hum for Capernaum as against Khan Minjreh,
and cannot tell at all whether Kana el Jelil or Kefr
Kenna is the true Cana of the first miracle.



Mrs. Dorr*a '* Friar Anaelmo and Other Poema." *

Mrs. Dorr might have won reputation in poetry
if she had been the contemporary of Mrs. Sigoumey,
Mrs. Brooks, Mrs. Osgood, and other ladies who figure
in Dr. Griswold's •* Female Poets of America." She
shows more taste than they exhibited in their pro-
ductions ; is a better and more finished artist, and
is not inferior to them in imaginative power. Her
dioice of words is larger than theirs, leaving little
to be desired, except the one quality which is ab-
sent from most modem poetry, — originality. She
writes carefully, but not individually — not in a way
that one instinctively feels is her own. We should
not say that she had a more genuine gift of song
than some of her sisters, but that she was truer
to the gift that she possessed, and less anxious to
keep it in perpetual exercise. She does not strike
us as seeking subjects upon which to write, but
rather as waiting until they seek her, the exceptions
being her story poems, if we may call them such, in
which she is not at her best Whether they are
versions of old legends, or are creations of her
own, we are left to conjecture ; but in either event
they are not remarkable, nor particularly well told.
There is a class of subjects, however, in which Mrs.
Dorr appears to advantage, and which she handles
skillfully. They come under the head of domestic
poems, and concern themselves with events and
emotions of daily life, —



•* The narrow



that cluster round the hearth*'



They read like records of actual experience, and as
such authenticate themselves by the sincerity of
their feeling.

Belonging to the same class of personal poems
as these are "A Secret," "The Kiss," "This Day,"
*«At the Last," and "Twenty-one"; and related
to them, in that they deal with homely, simple.



*Fxiar Anielmo and Other Poems. By Mrs. Julia C R.
Don; New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.



human themes, are "What She Thought," and
"Two," which are perhaps the most dramatic
poems in the volume. Mrs. Dorr compares favor-
ably with any of her sister poets as a writer of
sonnets. She has something to say in them, and
she says it, her conceptions being well thought out.
and her expression at once artistic and compact.
The most notable of the number (there are some
twenty in all) is dedicated to the memory of the
young Spanish Queen M^rcMes, whose early death
was lamented the world over, and nowhere so
touchingly as in republican America. We find in
these poems, and others that might be mentioned,
a sincerity and earnestness of feeling which we
are glad to see in this age of artificial writing ; we
find as much originality of diction as we could ex-
pect ; and we find in the Ode entitled " Vermont,"
which was written for the Centennial Celebration
of that State (August 15th, 1877), a remarkable
justice of thought and largeness of language. It
is Mrs. Dorr*s most intellectual poem, and the one
by which she will be longest remembered.

A New Translation of tha Odysaay.*

In their preface to this prose translation of that
Homeric poem which best deserves to be known to
modern readers, the English scholars who have
translated it modestly waive all question of com-
parative merit in their chosen work. " There would
have been less controversy," they say, "about the
proper method of Homeric translation, if critics
had recognized that of Homer there can be' no final
translation." Each age must therefore have its own
version, — the Elizabethan age. Chapman's " daring
and luxurious conceits;" the age of Queen Anne»
Pope*s " dazzling rhetoric, his antitheses, his com-
mand of every conventional artifice; " in the present
more romantic age, Mr. Worsley*s "masterly
translation, which does all that can be done for the
Odyssey in the romantic style." They do not men-
tion, and perhaps do not know, that Mr. Bryant
has made a translation better than Worsley*s, and
answering to the modem demand for the gravely
melodious blank verse, which in some respects is
better suited to Homer than the rhyming couplets
of Chapman and Pope, or the Spenserian verse of
Worsley. If Tennyson, for instance (who could
best have done it), had translated the Odyssey, he
would have used the verse which so fitly falls into
cadence in his own "Ulysses." All these good
translations, the preface goes on to say, "must
always live as English poems," — which seems to be
giving Mr. Worsley more than his due. But, to
quote Matthew Arnold, " in a verse translation no
original work is any longer recognizable." There-
fore these new Oxford translators once more attempt
the story in simple prose,— seeking " to transfer not
all the truth about the poem, but the hbtorical



* The Odyssey of Homer, done into En^b Prose, by 1
A. Butcher, M. A., and A. Lang, M. A. London and Ke
York: MacmiUan&Co.



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truth, into English." This is a creditable under-
taking, and it has been creditably performed. The
version is close, spirited, and shows itself forth as
the work of men imbued with the author translated.
For the reading of those who wish to know
exactly what Homer said, it is, of course, far better
than a poetical version.

It has one defect, however, and what is worse,
the translators regard this blemish as a beauty.
They claim as one of the privileges of a prose
version, " that close adherence to the archaisms of
the epic, which in verse become mere oddities."
And then they proceed, as we must suppose, archa-
ically, but in fact most awkwardly, to oUl the versa-
tile wanderer Odysseus, " that man of many a shift,''
— when as we all know he was often without a
change of raiment or even a shirt to his back ; they
call Calypso " the lady njrmph," and speak of " the
Ethiopians that are sundered in twain, the utter-
most of men." In one place we find this passage:
"So these twain stood bandying hard words, but
the goodly-greaved Achseans sprang up with a
wondrous din, and twofold counsels found favor
among them ; " in another this : " I had thralls
out of number, and all else in plenty, wherewith
folk live well." This is not English, archaic or
modem, — ^it is a medley of old and new such as
William Morris much affects, and by which he has
injured his own style and that of his imitators.
Homer was quaint, but it was a quaintness of
thought more than of language, and as far removed
from pedantry as from other affectations. If an
archaic style were to be sought in translating him,
it would be rather that of Chaucer than the bastard
antiquities which Morris delights in, and of which
his translation of Virgil furnishes, perhaps, the
most grotesque specimen.

In spite of this blemish, we can seriously com-
mend the book before us. It is much to have the
story of Ulysses so clearly told, by men who love
the task, and who have profited by the copious
erudition of Mr. Gladstone, Matthew Arnold, Pro-
fessor Newman, and all who in this generation have
revived the study of Homer in England. The book
is neither large nor costly, and is adorned with two
curious illustrations from the antique, — a head of
the Cyclops, and an outline of Ulysses and the ram
of Polyphemus, passing out together from the
monster's cave.

Dickena'a " Life of Charlea Jamea Mathewa.** *

A RECAPITULATION of the leading incidents of
Charles Mathews's life will show the kaleidoscopic
changes which gave it variety. He was bom in 1803,
the day after Christmas, just as the annual panto-
mime was produced, and was intended for the church,
a calling he abandoned in youth to study architecture
under Pugin. It was as a sort of consulting archi-



♦ The Life of Cbaiies James Mathews, chiefly Autobio-
mphical, with selections from his Correspondence and
Speeches. Edited by Charles Dickens. London and New
Yoric : Macmillan & Co. New York : Harper & Brothers,
^rankEn Square Library.



tect to put into practical shape his patron's sug-
gestions, that he went to Italy in 1823 with Lord
and Lady Blessington. He just missed fighting a
duel with Count d'Orsay, who seems to have been
conceited but good-hearted. In 1827 (after a visit
to Wales), he went to Italy again to study, spending
much of his time, however, acting at Lord and Lady
Normanby's private theatricals at Florence, where
he was the architect of the theater and the scene-
painter, as well as actor and author. In 1 83 1 , having
received the appointment of district surveyor, he be-
gan professional work in earnest. After four years of
this uncongenial work — his office was in Cut-throat
Lane ! — he gave it up to go on the stage perma-
nently and professionally. He made his first
appearance on the public stage in 1835, at the
Olympic Theatre, then managed by Madame Vestris.
Two years and a half later, he left England for a tour
in the United States, bringing with him Madame
Vestris, who was six years his senior, and whom
he married suddenly before setting out. Returning
to England, he managed the Olympic Theatre, and
then Covent Garden, and then he went into bank-
ruptcy and was imprisoned for debt In 1847, he
managed the Lyceum, with the same lamentable
result, — ^imprisonment and bankruptcy. In 1858,
twenty years after his first visit to this country, he
came again and got another wife, who supplied
the strength of will hitherto wanting, and resolutely
put his affairs in order and kept him out of debL
In 1863 and 1865 he acted in Paris, in French. In
1870, when nearly three-score and ten years old, he
started off for a trip around the world, and acted in
India, Australia, the Sandwich Islands, and again in
the United States, reaching hom'e in 1872. After this
little trip, he acted frequently in England, but with
somewhat failing force ; and in June of last year he
died, leaving behind him the reputation of having
been by far the best " light comedian " of his gen-
eration or ours. He was as light-hearted and as
airy off the stage as on, if we may believe his auto-
biography, not the least curious thing in which is
his evident inability to see that his constant financial
misfortunes came from causes easily within his own
control; he always seems to look on debt as the
direct visitation of an otherwise merciful providence.
In this hasty glance over his career no mention
has been made of his facility in writing semi-extem-
pore verses of the Theodore Hook kind, — specimens
of them are given by Mr. Dickens ; or of his extra-
ordinary faculty of "patter** singing; or of his
having written the well-known Welsh song, "Jenny
Jones " ; or of his having more than once exhibited
pictures at the Royal Academy ; or of his very many
successes as a dramatist,— to which we cannot but
think the editor has paid scant attention, much less
than they deserved. As a writer for the stage he
generally relied for his plots, and sometimes for a
little more, on some French predecessor; but his
dialogue was always noticeably light and lively.
And in return for his borrowings from France he
enriched it with a play of his own. When he went
to Paris in 1863 to act, it was in ** L' Anglais
timide,'' an adaptation into French of Mr. Blan-



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cbard Jerrold's " Cool as a Cucumber,** made by
Mathews himself.

Many of the anecdotes scattered through the biog-
raphy deserve quotation ; and room must be made
for one or two. When five years of age, Mathews
**ate his terras,** ** as it is classically denominated,**
he says,—" that is, learnt my A B C by the ingen-
ious mean<% of gingerbread letters, which I was al-
lowed to devour on correctly naming them, and thus
I was tempted literally to * read, mark, learn, and
inwardly digest.' **

Mathews tells a good anecdote of " little Knight,*'
as be was called, an actor at the Theatre Royal, Drury
Lane. ** He was traveling in Lancashire with four
large trunks, with *E. Knight, T.R.D.L.* on each.
He gave sixpence to the guard who unloaded them.
The guard surveyed him and his trunks, looked at
the direction, and exclaimed : 'T. R. D. L. I You
arc no more a T. R. D. L. than I am."*

As might be imagined, Mathews was not afraid
of a practical joke, and he tells of a jest of this sort,
less stupid and more amusing than such generally
are- He and hjs fellow-traveler, d'EgvUle, were
living on the shores of Lake Leman, near the
Castle of Cbillon :



Oit« toorchinf, hot mornnifr on our first arriva] we had taken
one of the lumbering bo«u belonging to the hotel, and, in iipite
of the baking sun. had rowed ourselves out to the middle of the
hike to ei\)oy a swim. I happened to be undressed first: and,
eager for a header, I plunged into the water with the intention
of a long dive. But oh ! ye gods ! I shall never forget it It
was a bath of ice, and I was almost paralyzed with the shock.
As quickly as I couM manage it, I was out of the refrigerator
again.

" How u it ? '• said ly Egrille. " Wann t "

'* Delkaous! " said I. ^* Milk, positive milk ! " whde at the
same time I was clambering as ust as I could up the side of the
boat

" What are you coming out for ? " said he.

" 1 want another header," said I. " Let's see who can dive
longest" ....

••Very well ; here goes ! " and in he went with a joyous shout

In an instant I saw an arm with a clenched fist at the end of
it protruding from the surfrice of the water, and in a second more
a Mce appeared red as a lobster.

'• You blackguard ! " he gasped; " I'm petrified. It's pure
ice. I'll pay you off for this."

"My aear feUow," said I, "you know all our enioymena
were to be in common, and I didn't feel justified in robbing you
of your share on this occasion."



An improbable tradition declares that Sheridan
once borrowed money from a sheriff's officer who
came to arrest him. Mathews records something
not more improbable ; an entry in one his diaries
under date of Jan. 1843, reads ; " Called on L. Levy
to pay him /30; borrowed jf20 instead.**



THE WORLD'S WORK.



Important Advance In Metallurgy.

Some recent researches into the behavior of
metals under the influence of heat, as in annealing,
have lead to discoveries that may bring about im-
portant changes in the present methods of obtain-
ing commercial shapes of metals, wires, rods, bars,
etc The search for a metal that might be used in
electric lamps giving light by incandescence led to
experiments on platina wire under repeated heating
and cooling by electrical currents. A piece of
platina wire was brought to a white heat and kept
there for some time, when it was cooled and then
examined under a powerful microscope. It may
here be observed that this heating was practically
annealing and the result throws a new light upon this
old and important process. To the touch the wire
was soft and yielding— practically annealed wire.
Under the gUss the wire was seen to be full of
cracks, chiefly of an arborescent form, branched and
running into each other in every direction. The
heating results in a kind of rupturing or cracking
open ; and in seeking an explanation of this it was
thought that in bringing the wire suddenly to a.
white heat, the air held, both physically and me-
chanically, in the wire was expanded and exploded,
tearing its way out and leaving Assures and cracks
aU over the surface. These fissures are plainly



visible and assume the torn and ragged appearance
that might come from such explosions of the con-
tained air. The wire, before stiff, is now soft and
3rielding, simply because it is cracked, and bends
readily at every break on its surface. To illustrate
this we have only to paint a sheet of paper writh a
gum like dextrine or even mucilage. When the
paper is stiffened, draw it over a sharp edge and
crack the gum and the sheet will bend freely in
every direction. Here the cracks are visible and it
is easy to see that they allow the gum to bend. It
may, from this, be seen that annealing is a ruptur-
ing or cracking of a metal, and that its softness and
pliability result from the free play given by the
cracks. This discovery at once led to a more im-
portant step— the repeated annealing of metals in a
high vacuum. A strip of platina was placed in a
small glass tube by melting the glass over the wire
at each end of the tube and thus enclosing a por-
tion while the two ends were left exposed. This
wire was then connected with a battery, and when a
high vacuum had been obtained by means of a
Sprengel pump, the wire was brought to a dull heat
by means of the battery. It was allowed to remain
heated for a few seconds and then cooled. This
heating and cooling was repeated many hundred
times in the course of ten minutes. Though the



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process through which the wire passed is not visible
it can be imagined to be somewhat like this : The
sudden heating of the air held in the wire caused it
to expand and tear its way out, leaving the wire
cracked in every direction. The cooling of the
metal produced a contraction tending to dose up the
ruptured fissures and, as it were, to knead together
the particles of the metal. The vacuum assisted the
air to escape from the metal by making a difference
in the internal and external pressure and undoubted-
ly hastened the process. At the end of ten minutes
the power of the battery was increased slightly and
the heated wire showed a pale red. The alternate
heating and cooling at this temperature was kept
up for ten minutes and then another advance was
made in the temperature. In this way the wire was
heated and cooled (practically annealed) for five
hours till it was raised to a vivid white heat. As
the process went on it was found the metal passed
beyond its melting point and remained intact in
temperatures far above those at which in free air it
had melted. On the completion of the process
the wire was found to be intensely hard and elastic
and of a silvery brightness. Under the glass it
showed an absolutely unbroken surface, polished
like glass and smoother than any wire obtained by
the usual processes. It would seem as if this re-
peated annealing in vacuum had kneaded and com-
pacted the metal, making it more dense than any
known metal, changing its character entirely and
materially raising its melting point. It is now as
elastic as steel, and, coiled in a spring, retains its
elasticity even when at an extreme white heat ; fur-
thermore, it can no longer be annealed. The metal
appears now to be in a new state of which we had
no previous knowledge, and for electric lighting
purposes it b practically a new metal with new
properties. Experiments with iron and other
metels in the same manner produced like results,
though, of course, in a varying degree. All the
experiments that have led to these valuable dis-
coveries have been performed upon a limited but
practically commercisd scale because the pieces of
wire treated are only required to be very short.
For treating iron rods and bars it is proposed
to carry on the annealing in wrought-iron tanks
from which the air is exhausted by steam power.
For small wires and short rods a current ^m a
Faradic machine (this is the new name proposed
for djmamo-electric machines) would be suffi-
cient. For larger masses of metals heating in a fur-
nace would be required, the metal being raised to
a temperature a little short of melting and then
allowed to cool in a vacuum. Even one annealing
would tend to compact and harden the metal, but
repeated heatings would, undoubtedly, give iron
new properties of which we can now have no ade-
quate conception. It may here be observed that
annealing in free air tends to soften metals, for the



Online LibraryGeorge Streynsham MasterThe Century, Volume 19 → online text (page 29 of 160)