[Yn Lioar Manninagh Vol 1 No 10 pp352/357]
Books, Memoirs, fit., for Review, should be sent to the Editor.
Anthropological Studies, by A. W. BUCKLAND. London: Ward & Downey.
One of our honorary members, Miss Buckland, has presented the Society with a copy of her able and clearly-written introduction to the Study of Anthropology, the professed object of which is to popularise the subject and attract to deeper studies. It is very interesting as well as instructive; the beginner will be attracted by its handy size and clear type, and pleased with its freedom from unnecessary technicalities He will find nothing "heavy" from beginning to end, but will feel drawn on, by natural and easy stages, to consider the antiquity and the origin of the human race, its early migrations and gradual development in superstition and religion, in art and science ; on all these points the writer sets out and generally supports the views expressed by acknowledged leaders. The more advanced student will find the book very convenient for reference, well-arranged and suggestive.
We must acknowledge the truth contained in the opening sentence "Notwithstanding the progress made in scientific knowledge, there are yet many, even among the highly educated and intellectual, who know nothing of Anthropology except the name, and who, if asked to define the term, would assert that it had something to do with old bones, flints, and rubbish. Such men would be astonished at the vast scope of anthropological research, as marked out by the leaders of a science young in years, but numbering among its teachers and students many of the most advanced thinkers of the day, not in Great Britain only, but throughout the world." To the definition given by one of its earliest and most enthusiastic students, the late Sir William Wilde, namely, The Science of Man: his origin, age, and distribution on our globe; his physical conformation, and his susceptibility of cultivation ; his various forms of speech ; his laws, habits, manners, customs, weapons, and tools; his archaic markings, as also his pictorial remains, his tombs, his ideographic and phonetic or alphabetic writing, down to his present culture in different countries, and his manufactures, arts, and degrees of intelligence in the different phases of life throughout the world," our author would rightly add, " The religions and superstitions, the myths and fables, of widely separated races." Among all these subjects, surely one or more must be of interest. to almost everyone, and if the reader's attention be but attracted to it, it seems impossible but that he will desire to go further and study more earnestly.
American anthropologists write generally in favour of the indigenous origin of American civilization, but our author brings evidence to show that either ancient prehistoric civilized people of America must have conveyed their ideas and customs to the old world or have received the germs of these from the Eastern hemisphere. On this point reference is made to a Chinese symbol for the moon "a, rabbit pounding rice in a mortar; and this sign, when compared with the prominence given to the rabbit in American sculptures and hieroglyphics seems an additional argument. in favour of a connection between the hemispheres in prehistoric times, especially if, as Buffon says, that animal is not a native of America."
Contrary to some writers, Miss Buckland considers that moon-worship originated with, agriculturists, and sun-worship, like serpent-worship, with metallurgists. "In China., in Egypt, and throughout the East, the moon appears to have been the older deity, and to stand out distinctly as the especial goddess of agriculture." The chapters on The Ori gin and on the Antiquity of Man, Primitive Agriculture, serpents Prehistoric Commerce: in Europe,, and Primitive Instruments, are of special interest, but indeed there is not a dull page in the book, and even a hasty perusal will satisfy the reader that the Author is well equipped for the task, and he must be hard to move if he be not infected with a measure of her enthusiasm. The List of Principal Works referred to in the text, witness to the extent and soundness of her reading, and will prove useful to the reader for guidance in case, as we hope, he will wish to follow up the study to which this is so attractive an introduction. We hope many of our members will possess themselves of the work, and that they may be led to apply their researches to our own Island, where much may be done not only m respect of the search for and examination of primitive flint, bone and bronze implements and ornaments, and the habits, customs, and extent of civilization evinced from these and from the contents and disposition of ancient burial mounds, but also by the collection and classification of the myths, legends, and superstitions fast dying away, but still to be gathered by the painstaking and earnest worker who knows where to seek and how to apply.
An example of this is at hand in the next little work we have to notice
The Folk-Lore of the Isle of Man, or its Myths, Legends, Superstitions, Customs, and Proverbs. By A. W. MOORE, M.A., Author of "Manx Names," &c. Isle of Man Brown & Son. London: D. Nutt.
Manx Folk-Lore and Superstitions. Prof. J. RHYS.
The interest and importance of Folk-Lore as a study lies in this that it is one of the factors which contribute towards the history of pre-historic man; it is "the only means of tracing out many of the landmarks in the mental development of man." It introduces us, says Mr Gomme in his Opening Address to the Folk-Lore Society for the Session 1890-91, " to an agricultural system which in the savage nature of its ceremonial festivals, in the primitive characteristics of the institutions it fostered and supported, indicates a considerable amount of pre-historic culture of non-Aryan origin and of primitive development."
The International Folk-Lore Congress held in London in October last has brought the subject into some prominence, if not popularity, and we hope that members of our Society will not be backward in supporting the more expert students by collecting what may still be recovered of the stories, customs, and superstitions of our Island.
Mr. Moore, Vice-President of our Society, deserves the heartiest thanks of all its members for having contributed towards this by the publication, in very handy and cheap form, of his "Folk-Lore of the Isle of Man," which, besides malting accessible what has already been written on the subject, contains also much original matter; and, in Chapter VII, he briefly investigates the true primary connection of the superstitions relating to Animals, Trees, and Plants, which he considers to be probably " with the earliest known form of religion, i.e., that of the worship of the phenomena of nature."
From Prof. J. Rhys we have received a copy of his interesting Paper on " Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions," read at the Congress referred to above (to which also Mr. Moore contributed some valuable notes), and published in their Quarterly Report for September. It is the more valuable as Mr. Rhys gathered all his information from conversations with Manxmen and women, and "purposely avoided reading up the subject in printed books." This memoir, after referring to some of our inhabitants of the imaginary order, deals with many of our charms, rites, and customs.
We find, as might be expected, the Scandinavian and Celtic elements strongly represented in our Folklore. To mention some of the customs connected with the Seasons: May 12th, Laa-Boaldyn, the Beltaine, as it is called in Irish, the first of the great Celtic feasts, was held at the opening of the Summer half of the year, Prof. Rhys met with some trace of a tradition of Sacrifice on this day, an old woman having told him of a live sheep having been burnt in a field in the parish of Andreas, "Son oural," when she was a lump of a girl, adding" Laa Boaldyn va chiaghtey dy lostey son oural un baagh keyrragh." "On May Day (O.S ) it was a custom to burn a sheep for a sacrifice." He adds, "Scotch May-day customs point to a sacrifice having been once usual, and that possibly of human beings, and not of sheep as in the Isle of Man. The most notable custom, however, observed on this day is that described by Mr Moore at p.12, quoting Waldron's " curious account of the contest between the Queen of May and the Queen of Winter, which he considers as evidently derived from the Northmen, and, for comparison, adds Olaus Magnus description of the proceedings in his day, 16th c. No doubt, as suggested by Mr. Moore further on, this combat between Winter and Summer, the latter represented by a young girl decorated with leaves, being victorious, typifies the victory of Nature's reproductive power. The May Queen is the human representation of the tree-spirit, or Spirit of Vegetation. In some places the Tree Spirit is represented by the May Pole, wreathed and decorated with flowers. In parts of Russia the birch pole is actually dressed in women's clothes, before being thrown into the water.
Some of the rites in connection with Midsummer Eve and Day, July 4th and 5th (N.S.), seem also to have been of Scandinavian origin, probably, says Mr. Moors, " In honour of Balder, the northern Sun-God, who at Midsummer attained his greatest splendour and duration, and thence began to decline. The beginning of his declination was commemorated by the lighting of his funeral pyre, which the modern bonfires have
NOTE. In his Introduction Mr. Moore gives ins a necessary warning with respect to this writer. " The earliest of these collectors, and one to whom we owe most of the tales given in the following pages, was George Waldron, an Englishman, who was in the Isle of Man. between 1720 and 1730. Ite seems to have had but little knowledge of the M anx people and their ways, and the marvellous tales which he tells are given in his own language, probably with many additions suggested by his fancy. perpetuated." Our Readers will not have forgotten a Memoir by Mr. Jeffcott on Boaldyn," which appeared in the pages of this Magazine. No. 8. pp. 216-221; in it the writer suggested that our " May and Midsummer-fires" may have originated in the funeral piles during the practice of cremation. and the word Boaldyn or Baaltinn, of Scandinavian origin, he thought might denote " the fiery or blazing pile on which the bodies were consumed." and afterwards be applied to the May-day and Midsummer-fires. Whether Celtic, Scandinavian. or both. there can be no doubt the origin of. those fires on the mountains was connected with the worship of the Light. and the Sun, In the Border Counties. Midsummer Eve. like All Halloween, Christmas and New Year's Eve is one of the nights on which it was deemed highly unlucky to let the fire out. No one is willing on the following morning to give his neighbour a light, lest he should thus give away all his good luck for the season.
The next morning the great Tynwald Court. corresponding to the Icelandic Althing, was held. when the laws were promulgated. and the festival proper began, all Witches and Evil Spirits having been disposed of on the previous evening. One of the traditions connected with Mannanan, chiefest of the Manks mythical personages, and " the only one remaining in the Folk-Lore of the present, day." was the tribute of rushes paid to him by the people who. on Midsummer Day. deposited them on Warfell, now South Barrooil, and. Mr. Moore remarks, it is curious that the pathway leading up to St. John's Chapel is still covered with rushes supplied by a small farm close by, held on the tenure of doing this service.
The next great day after Boaldyn in the Pagan calendar of the Celts is called in Manks Laa Lhunys,.in Irish Lugnassad, which was associated with the name of the god Lug. an Irish divinity. corresponding partly to Hermes. partly to Apollo. This. says Prof. Rhys, should correspond to Laminas ( August 1st). but reckoned as it is according to the Old Style. it falls on 12th August; which used to be a great day for business fairs in the Isle of Man as in Wales. But for holiday-making the 12th only suited when it happened to be a Sunday ; when that was not the case. the 1st Sunday after the 12th was fixed upon. It. is known accordingly as the First Sunday of Harvest. yn dried doonaght a ouyr, and used to be celebrated by crowds of people visiting the tops of the mountains. This. he adds. is one of the regular results of the transition from Roman Catholicism to a Protestant system with only one, fixed holiday. namely Sunday. So in Wales. the day for going up the Van Vach mountain. in Brecknock, was Laminas. but under the Protestant Church it became the first Sunday in August. Even modified in that way it could not long survive under a vigorous Protestant rëgime either in Wales or Man. Mr Rhys noticed, with regard to most of the mountains climbed on the first Sunda of Harvest. that they seemed to have. near their summits. wells of some celebrity these. appeared to be the goal of the visitors' peregrinations. Most of these wells associated originally, no doubt. with Pagan deities and celebrities. were later dedicated to Saints, whose names they still bear; but, a few have now no names, and a few are variously styled, e.g., Wart Well. noted for wart curing ; Windy Well. from its exposed situation ; Health Well. Chibbyr Slaynt, and so on. Mr Moore has already given a very interesting account, of these and of the customs connected with them in his " Manx Surnames and Place Names."
The remaining great day in the Celtic year is called Sauin or Laa Houney ; in Irish, Samhain, Both Mr Moore and Prof. Rhys found evidence that this day. formerly t first of winter and of the Celtic and Teutonic year. was still traditionally connected with that period; thus they are accustomed to predict the weather for the ensuin g year from that on the 12th November, and certain ceremonies formerly practised on the 11th November are now generally transferred to New Year's Eve. Those wont to practise them on Hollantide Eve. would be very indignant to hear that anybody should think New Year's Eve the proper night. and vice versa. So, says Prof. Rhys, "by bringing women born and bred in different parishes to compare notes on this point. I have witnessed arguing hardly less earnest than that which characterised the ancient controversy between British and Italian ecclesiastics as to the proper time for keeping Easter." He suggests, and we hope this will be taken note of by members of our Society, that local folk-lorists should "map the Island according to the practices prevalent at Hollantide and the beginning of January." A curious custom connected with this day, probably of Teutonic origin, is the Hogmaney song. which in Yorkshire. and other parts of Great Britain, is sung on New Year's Eve. Mr. Moore adopts the derivation of Thorl. G. Repp, as quoted in the Manx Society, Vol. XVI., p. 180. Hog-man-aye, Hanga-man-ey, - mound men (for) ever ; the Fairies being considered as dwellers in the hows, tumuli or green mounds and Trolla-laa, trolla-a-la, " trolls into the surf." Prof. Rhys came accross a new form of words in the South, Ore Houna, Shibber n gauin(a). Cre gauin mart mayd ? Yn gauin veg vreac. " Hollantide Eve Supper of the heifer. Which heifer shall we kill? The little spotted heifer. This custom, says Mr Moore, has now died out. We think not entirely so, however.
Oië'l Verrey (Ore feaill Voirrey). Eve of Mary's Feast, December 24th, comes in for notice. The "carvals" at the parish churches, the branching rushlights, the pea-shooting, the traditional drink at the inn. the parting song Te traa, poll thie dy goll dy lhie, and the secret courtship. have been well described by Kennish, a local poet, in "Mona's Isle." a little volume of verses published in 1844.
The words of the " White Boys," or mummers, are given as taken down by the late W. Harrison, in l84å. This custom, no doubt. was introduced here from England. Traces of the Scandinavian Yule are to be met with. though one does not hear of the Yule logs in the Isle of Man. Bullock, writing in 1816. assigns the custom of Hunting the Wren to Christmas Day. In modern times, S. Stephen's has been the date of observance, now it has almost died out. This, Mr Gomme connects with the yule festivities, which, by comparing customs in England, the Black Mountain, and South Africa. he shows are "linked on to the religions ceremonies of primitive ancestor worship;" involving sacrifice. " Early Village Life. ' In some parts of England it is considered unlucky to kill the wren or destroy its nest." yet it was killed ceremoniously once a year This." saga Mr. Moore, "taken in connection with the value set upon the possession of a feather from the slain bird, points to a sacrificial custom."
The peculiar observances and sayings associated with many other days in the calendar are given at. some length. thus January 6th. called by Bishop Phillips Shen lail chibbert ushtey, old feast-day of the water well," known also as Laa giense, "dance. or revel day"; February 1st. Lua'l Breeshey, "Bridget's feast-day'; February 2nd. Laa'l Moirrey ny gianle, " Mary's Feastday of the Candle"; March 17th. Laal Pharick, Patrick s Feast-day, Patermas." Good Friday, Jy-heiney chaist; among other customs still kept up. people went to the shore to gather shell fish. and they still make a point, on this day of going sailing for pleasure. a 'Mehe'llea, the Harvest Home. is yet observed to a certain extent. Yn moidyn, g formed of the last handful of corn. dressed and decorated. may still be seen in farm houses. In Yorkshire and the northern part of Northumberland. the"Melt" supper and "Bern " feast take place at the end of reaping. not of the ingathering.
When the sickle was laid down. and the last. sheaf of golden corn set on end, they were said to have "got the kern." The reapers announced the fact by loud shouting. and an image was at once hoisted on a pole and given into the charge of the tallest and strongest man of the party. The image was crowned with ears of wheat. and dressed up in gay finery. a white frock and coloured ribbons being its conventional attire. The whole group circled round this harvest queen or kern baby, curtesying to her. dancing and singing; and then proceeded to the farmer's barn where they set the image up on high. as the presiding goddess of their revels, and proceeded to do justice to the harvest supper. "- Yn Moidyn of the Isle of Man, the Kern Baby of Northumberland. is doubtless the Corn Mother of Germany Persephone vegetation itself) daughter of mother earth (Demeter). In Herts and Shropshire the reapers throw sickles at the last heads of corn in the field ; he who cuts wins the prize. After it is cut they my thrice. " I have her," others answer. "byhat have ye?' "A mare! a mare!" Our Laare vane. " White mare," may have some connection with such a custom now forgotten. In Chambery the last sheaf is called the Ox. In Germany. a Harvest Cock is beheaded as the last shock of corn is cut.
As suggested by Mr. Moore, in chapter vii., many of these customs and superstitions doubtless originated in the worship of the sun and the light. many in that of animals. trees, and vegetation generally. Another class of superstitions and usages have grouped themselves about the important events of Birth. Marriage. and Death. Before baptism, at child was in danger of being changed by fairies, of the evil eye, and of evil influences generally. So in the North of England. Scotland, Ireland, and elsewhere. Danish women guard their children at this time by placing in the cradle. or over the door. garlic. salt. bread. and steel in the form of some sharp instrument. In the West Riding of Yorkshire, a child was kept safe. while sleeping. by hanging a carving knife from the head of the cradle. with the point suspended near the infant's face. In Scotland, as with us. some article of dress belonging to the father was considered a safe-guard. These and other customs point to the contest between paganism and Christianity. Our marriage customs. though almost the only one now surviving is that of horn bllowing, when compared with those of Ireland. Scotland, and the North of England. point as clearly to the ceremony of bride-capture, so well known to savage; society; traced by McLennan to the primitive law that prevented men marrying women of their own tribe. and so compelled them to capture wives front other tribes Mr Gomme. in ".Folklore Relics of Early Village Life," quotes an account of a wedding in Lorraine, which "places at once in full completeness the marriage ceremony as the original village institution."
Rice thrown at weddings appears to be an Eastern custom to prevent the Soul of the Bridegroom believed by many Eastern people to be particularly liable at that time to dangerous influences from flitting away to the Spirit world.
Besides other customs and superstitions. difficult to classify, which may yet be added to by careful observers. an interesting chapter is given on "Customs formerly enforced by Law," both Civil and Ecclesiastical. Much also is said on Magic. Witchcraft. and Charms. Prof. Rhys thinks Charmin is hereditary. it descends from father to daughter and from daughter to son. He thinks. "the charming families" are comparatively few in number. and this looks as if they descended from the family physicians or druids of one or two chieftains in ancient times. This is a question our local readers should help us to solve.
Of the imaginary inhabitants of our Island. Mr. Moore has something to tell us of Fairies, Ferrishyn or Sleigh Begge). Little People. including the Lhiannan-Shee or Fairy Sweetheart. and the Dooiney-ore or Night-man ;the Phynnodderee, or. as Prof. Rhys spells it., Fënodbree, a hairy satyr resembling in some respects the hobgoblin. Lob tic by the Fire "; Campbell compares him with the Grua,gach, a brownie who had been a. Druid or Magician ; the Glashtin, another hairy goblin ; the Buggane, an evil spirit best known in connection with S. Trinian's. Kennish describes his haunt at Gob-ny-scurf, in Maughold. The Cughtarlh, a spirit whose abode was in caves by the sea; the Keiinagh., who haunted the Church-yard stiles and guarded the graves. The Ben-varrey, Mermaid. is much the same as elsewhere. Of her mate. Dooiney-varrey, Phollinagh, Merman. less is known. There are also animal Spirits. or Fiends. as the Moddey Dhoo, Black Dog ; the Teerroo-u.shtey, Water-bull, and Cabbyl-ushtey, Water-horse. There were Giants also. Foau, Irish fomhor. This. says Prof, Rhys "in the plural, in old Irish appear, as the name of the Fonzori, so well known in Irish legend, which, however, does not always represent them as giants, but rather as monsters," And he now suggests (as coming from Dr. Whitley Stokes) an etymology which makes the mor in formori to be of the same origin as the mare in English nightmare, French cauchemaz , German mahr, 'an elf' and cognate words.
From the first. page of the Introduction to the last (192) of Proverbs and Sayings, Mr, Moore's little book is worth careful reading. Space will not allow us now to say more, but we strongly reconnuund the member:; of our Society to possess themselves of it, study its contents, and do their utmost to carry out its objects by recovering and recording what further remains of our ancient. Customs, Superstitions, and Sayings, We devote some pages of this Magazine specially to the recording of these, and invite our readers, one and all, to assist, if ever so little ; we are sure the painstaking and welh qualified Author will not yet rest on his oars, and we hope to be indebted to him at some not very remote date fur a second and enlarged edition of his interesting work.
+Henderson's " Folklore of the Northern Counties."
Carvalyn Gailckagh. Manx Carols. Isle of Man : J. C. Fargher.
The Author of "The Folk-lore of the Isle of Man " has presented our Society also with a copy of this, the first published collection of old Mans Carols, ably edited by him. It appears from first Introduction. that Mr Fargher, proprietor of the Mona's Herald, began in 1885 to publish a number obtained by him from Baldwin; Mr. Moore had been collecting others, and they arranged to join forces. The lion's share of the translation was borne by Captain R. E. Christian, Baldromma, Maughold ; the revision of the English being undertaken by Mr. Moore, and that of the Manks by Mr. W. J. Cain. the Manx Bible was taken as the standard of orthography. The chief sources from which the carols have been deemed are the books of Mr. J. C. Fargher, of the late John. Quine, of Ballachrink, Baldwin ; of the late John Kelly, Baldwin ; of the late William Wade, Ramsey ; and of the late Robert Gawne, of the Rowany. Out of the whole number (86) here given only six are immediately connected with the Nativity, and eleven more mention it, but, only in connection with other subjects, such as the life and crucifixion of our Lord. By far the greater number of them are devotional rhapsodies which exhort the sinner to repent by picturing with terrible realism the agonies of hell. The punishment of the damned is contrasted with the reward of the saved, but the former received much more: attention than the latter. Old Testament history also received mach attention, the Fall of Adam, and the lives of Joseph, Jacob, Jonah, and David being favourite subjects. With the exception of t:he carol entitled Jacob's Ladder' (p. 218), the first part of which is copied from the English Carol of that name, they in no way resemble the familiar English Christmas Carols, being of purely native origin, and none of them have anything of the ballad character. But few of them are dated, and fewer shill have these author's names attached. The majority of the recorded dates belong to the first part. of the 18th century (though there are probably earlier fragments, handed drawn by oral tradition to be found in most of them"
The last is not later than 1825, These Carol; were formerly sung in the Parish Churches on Christmas Eve, Oie'l Verrey, described by William Kennish as mentioned in our notice above. The collection concludes with Son y Ree. "For the King," the Manx version of "God save the Queen " (King), from the third edition of the Manx Hymn Book, published in 1799, not easily procured now It is printed in double columns, the Manks and the English side by side and handy for comparison. The Editor was over-ruled in his desire to have the translations "in their bold simplicity as literal renderings of the Manx." Many of the versified translations, however, are very literal, and all of them are good. Without doubt there are many more carols in the Island, and we sincerely hope that Mr. Moore will continue his good work, and that our readers will give all the assistance in their power by enllecting these and forwarding to him for translating and editing. Nor would we confine the collection to Carols; several of our native Ballads, such .as Mylecharaine, Basse Illiam Dhone, and Kirrey fo Sniaghtey, have already been published by the Manx Society (vols. xvi. and xxi.), :and in the Manx Note Book. Possibly others might be still retrieved; and with the words we would also publish the musiic. This (including the work before us) would make another volume for the Manx Society to bring out. Whether it be accomplished or not, we think all praise is due to Mr. Moore and those who have aided him in the present attempt: to preserve " a unique and curious literature from certain destruction within a few years.'
Manual of Injurious Insects and Methods oi' Prevention. By E. A. OMEROD F.R. Met. Soc., &c. Second Edition. London ; Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., Limited.
Another honorary member of our Socity, and one whose name is now a household word m England, Miss Ormered, has presented us with a copy of the second and enlarged edition of t:he excellent work which will be known, by name at least, to all of our members, Since the first edition appeared, in 1881, much has bean learned with respect to measures of prevention of insect pests and lessening the loss caused by their ravages when present. Various crop pests not previously observed, also are now described, and modes of prevention, approved by experience, are recommended. Among these are the Hessian Fly (Cecidomyia deatructor), first recorded in England in 1866; the Stem Eelworm (Tylenchus devastatrix), the cause of "Tulip-root" in oats, and stem sickness in clover; the Frit Fly (Oscinis fins) a pest little known here before to oats in 1888; and. the Wheat-bulb Fly (Hylenr7iicz. coarctatcz). Tlre book is above all things practical andd hands for reference, the insect pests are referred to under the head of the plant they most seriously injure, and these in alphabetical order under the three divisions of Food Crops, Forest Trees, and Fruit. It is profusely illustrated, the figures being in all respects worthy of the object in view, and many being now added. As in the first edition, though differently placed, there is also a general introduction to Entomology, with list of Orders of Insects.
We have from time to time been able, by reference to the former edition, to satisfy the inquiries of many who have applied to us for information with respect to some peculiar diseases in white or green crops, field, garden, or fruit crops; and when we have shown the drawing and compared the description given in the book, the inquirer has almost always recognised it, and been glad to learn the remedies suggested. We heartily recommend it to everyone at all interested in the " fruits of the earth," applying that term in its widest sense; and we trust Miss Ormered may long be spared to continue the study of the subject which, in England, she has made her own Economical Entomology who is deserving of all praise for her successful treatment of a matter of immense practical importance to the community at large.
Pearson's Weekly: Temple Chambers, London, E.C.
We have been invited to notice this periodical, of which we have received copies of Nos. 72, 73, and 74, for the weeks ending December 5th, 12th, and 19th, 1891. Of the publication of Newspapers and Periodicals in these days there appears to be no end, nor can we regard them as an unmixed blessing. They who indulge to excess in such dissipation must find a growing disinclination to more solid reading, and that the application required for serious study becomes almost too great an effort. With those who know how to use and not abuse, it is different ; in such a paper as that before us there is an amount of information culled from various sources, and interspersed with light and humorous reading, and in these days of hurry and of travelling by steamer and rail, one may occupy with it to some advantage a half-hour of otherwise enforced idleness.
There are many Natural History Notes which should interest members of a Society such as ours, e.g., the answers to the questions "How long does the Sap of a Tree take to rise and fall ? ' " Do any Animals give birth to young altogether unlike themselves?" "Can Infants see as soon as they are born ?" " Are any quadrupeds or Birds luminous?" Also short notes such as " Baiting with Music," " Insects at Sea," and so on. We see by a note in No. 74 that the Edirtor has decided to include a Natural History Column among the permanent features of his paper, and invites information in the form of Notes and Queries.