Page images

morial that the cuckoo builds no nest, mon consent known as Oliver Twist, it was until recently supposed that she and never was a name better delaid her egg in the nest of the bird served. The kind of appeal which the chosen as the foster-parent. It has bird made in every movement to those been found, however, that the mother around it to be taken care of was a very bird as a. rule lays her egg on the evident and taking characteristic, and ground and carries it in her bill to the it no doubt proves a potent quality in chosen nest afterwards. One of the its wild state in securing the devotion characteristics of the cuckoo is that of its foster-parents. she is continually on the move, and A very short acquaintance with the eggs are possibly laid at various places young cuckoo in real life soon conin the stages of her migration. The vinces the observer that the wellyoung cuckoos which are found in the known habit by which it obtains for nest in this country usually have had itself the sole care of its foster-parents their foster-parents chosen for them by is neither accidental nor superfluous. the mother-bird with an instinct which It is absolutely essential to its exis remarkable in its consequences. The istence. The foster-parents being foster-parent is nearly always insectiv- nearly always insect-feeders, and there. orous. Birds which feed on bard veg- fore much smaller than itself, any rival etable seeds, like the town sparrow, are or nest-fellow would be impossible. scarcely ever chosen. The soft in- Not so long ago writers of such experisect feeders, like the hedge-sparrow ence as Mr. Seebohm seemed inclined and reed-warbler, are on the contrary to throw doubt on many of the tales great favorites, and this despite the of the young cuckoo's murderous disgreat disproportion in size between the position towards its fellow nestlings. little foster-parent and the hug. There can, however, be no question as cuckoo progeny.

to the instinct which drives the young The young cuckoo of a few days old, cuckoo to swiftly and effectively get as it sits in the nest-completely over- rid of the young birds with which it at shadowing it-of a small bird like a at first shares the nest. All the delibhedge sparrow, is one of the most ex- erate acts which culminate in the ejectraordinary sights in Nature. The tion of the other birds have been obyoung creature, which soon becomes served again and again. Very soon most uncannily tame · and familiar, after the young cuckoo is hatched out opens its mouth for food at the slight it begins to exhibit a curiously irritable est movement. Its gape is remarkably and restless disposition. It will try to wide, and all the inner parts of the get underneath anything that is placed mouth are of the deepest orange color, in the nest, pieces of wood, lumps of the whole appearance being quite un- earth, or any eggs that may be placed like that of any other young bird. This with it. It tries to get all objects beyellow gape, which is a striking specta- tween its shoulders, and it will then cle, even to the human observer, ap- climb backwards up the side of the pears to exercise a kind of fascination nest until it is able to hitch them over on the foster-parents. They are driven the edge. Its fellow nestlings are comto a kind of frenzy to keep it supplied monly disposed of as early as the secwith food. It clamors ceaselessly for ond day, and if there are eggs and more and more. One which the young birds in the nest at the same writer assisted in bringing up enlisted time it puts both over the edge indisthe whole household in the continued criminately. service of its wants. It was by com- There can be little doubt that the clue to the mystery of the habits of the on the cuckoo have, in consequence, cuckoo is the difficulty the bird finds in here also gone very deep. obtaining a sufficiency of its proper T he cuckoo which has been brought food. The instinct which prompts the up in a hedge-sparrow's nest because young bird to throw its competitors the egg from which it originated so out of the nest must evidently go very closely resembled that of its fosterdeep down in the nature and structure parents as to pass scrutiny, will tend of the bird. But so also evidently itself to lay in the nest of the same must numerous other peculiarities species of bird and so transmit the pe. which are equally significant of the se- culiarities of its egg. Hence it is held verity of the struggle which the cuckoo that the family of cuckoos tends to be has to maintain its place. Every egg split up into a number of sub-varieties, collector knows how exceptional is the each of which inclines to be parasitic cuckoo's egg in the remarkable varia on the species of bird in whose nest tions to which it is subject, both in size it lays. All observations of the habits and in markings. All other birds have of the cuckoo agree in one particular. eggs of a certain average size or a cer. They point to the extreme difficulty tain color. Not so the cuckoo. It can with which the bird maintains itself. hardly be said with truth of the cuckoo's Any one who has seen a tame cuckoo egg that it has any particular size or in the autumn at the season of migraany particular color. In size the eggs of tion standing apparently at rest, and various cuckoos vary in the most be- yet with every muscle of its wings wildering fashion from the size of a tense or quivering with the instinct of house-sparrow's egg to that of a spar- flight, will realize what extraordinary row-hawk. It is the same as regards distances the species has to cover in its coloring. They are often mottled-gray seasonal migrations after suitable food. mottled, brown mottled, and green mot. Hence the great preponderance of males tled. But they have also been found over females to make the mating procpure white, green, gray, and blue. ess easier during flight; hence the inThe explanation of this peculiarity in stinct of the mother bird which tells the cuckoo's egg cannot be far to seek her she cannot stay to build a nest; Birds will throw out of their nests hence the remarkable peculiarities of strange-looking eggs or eggs larger the eggs directed to give the eggs themthan their own. In the long effort of selves the best chance in the nests into the cuckoo to provide its young with which they must be dropped. And suitable insect-feeding foster-parents, hence also the extraordinary instinct nearly always smaller than itself, there of the young bird which at the very must have been much weeding out of beginning of its career leads it to feel unsuitable sizes and colorings. It is that it can tolerate no rival or competithe opinion of many keen observers tor in maintaining its precarious hold that the effects of the struggle for life on life.

The Outlook.


The conclusions reached in Professor Second, the outlines of Altrurian prinClarence Augustine Beckwith's vol ciples given in the earlier book are ume, “Realities of Christian Theology," filled in with details of every-day pracdedicated to Bangor and Chicago The tice as seen by a feminine observer, ological Seminaries, are in harmony and the introduction of a yachtful of with the known trend of thought in shipwrecked Americans is used to pro. those two schools, in the latter of duce a succession of effective conwhich the writer now holds the chair trasts. None of our American writers of Systematic Theology. Designed as has been a more consistent preacher of a fresh interpretation of Christian ex- the gospel of good-will and fellowship perience in terms of modern intelli than Mr. Howells, and his presentagence, placing unqualified reliance tion of social ideals is especially welupon psychology as revealing the laws come for that reason. Harper & of consciousness, upon ethics as dis- Brothers. closing the ideal to be realized in personality, and upon evolution as the con The average American contemporary stant method of the divine action in essayist is such a bundle of affectations nature and in human historical life. as sorely tries Christian charity. As a and aiming to be constructive rather rule, he considers himself a Lamb, and than controversial, it will be found ad- thanks Heaven that he is not savage, mirably adapted to its purpose. like Poe or Mr. Swinburne; or sensible, Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

in Bagehot's sledge-hammer fashion. If

able, with the assistance of the FamilIn “Through the Eye of the Needle," iar Bartlett, and a Concordance, and Mr. W. D. Howells takes up the story old Burton, to quote many authors, he dropped some ten or twelve years ago, permits one to see that he fancies that and relates the experiences of his Montaigne faces him in his mirror, and *Traveller from Altruria" upon leav- altogether he is such an one that when ing the summer-hotel where we first he writes a book one buys one by some met him and going to New York to English author, for the Englishman study conditions there under the tu can write essays. So could the oldtelage of the sprightly Mrs. Makely. fashioned American who had pastured In the present volume, the story is told on his natural food of the elder essayby letters-in the first series, written ists, but the later American has almost by the Altrurian himself to a friend in lost the trick. In this condition of afthat happy island; in the second, by fairs Mr. Arthur Stanwood Pier's "The the American whom he marries to her Young in Heart” is a real benefaction. friend in America. Part First gives Here is an author entirely indifferent Mr. Howells abundant opportunity for on the point of resembling some classic satire of characteristic quality. in model, and yet a respecter of customs, which his description of the mod- with no eccentricity to advertise, no ern apartment house, the up-to-date apparent wish for aught but brisk disThanksgiving dinner, and, incidentally, cussion of his chosen subject. The the amused-but-indulgent husband, will eight which he has selected: The be particularly appreciated. In Part Young in Heart, Lawn Tennis, Work

and Play, The Smoking Room, Cyni. with the best fiction of the Francocism, The Quiet Man, In Swimming, German war. Henry Holt & Co. Brawn and Character, do not in the least assort; they are merely subjects In size, scope, detail, number and on which he has something to say, and variety of characters, length of period he says it honestly, with no effort to be covered, construction, and style, “ Aliceany one but himself, and thus be for-Short" reminds the reader strikmakes a book to delight all but the ingly of Dickens, and it is high praise egotist. Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

for Mr. William De Morgan to say that

the comparison does not instantly "As the Hague Ordains" is so ad- place him at a disadvantage. Real mirably imagined that one closes it with the intense reality of Dickens at with virtuous satisfaction, firmly con- his best, his characters certainly are vinced that one has learned something not, but for his second-best they might of Russia and of Russian feeling. easily be mistaken. The irresistible The heroine, a Russian, partly English touches of low comedy, the confidential by descent, goes to Japan early in the asides to the reader, the long, lazy parwar to nurse her husband, a captive agraphs which cumber the narrative Russian officer. She has lived in the and yet grow to seem essential to its United States, in England, in Rome, fascination, are all quite in the masand in Japan, and has an open and ter's own manner. Alice-for-short, a impartial mind. Her Russian ac- quaint little damsel of six, makes her quaintances call her "Japanski”; her first appearance with a broken-beer-jug Japanese friends wonder at her just in her hand, and Mr. Charley, the appreciation of their words, acts, and well-to-do, would-be artist whose afmotives, and she becomes an invalu- fected Bohemianism furnishes the setable element in the life of the strange ting of the story, rescues her from the little Matsuyama community of pris- rage of a thirsty mother. At the end oners, guards, interpreters, Red Cross of five hundred and fifty pages, Alicenurses, and Japanese outsiders. Her for-short is a lovable young woman of woful wrath over the inefficiency of twenty-five, and Mr. Charley a sadder certain Russian officers; her dark man by reason of the wisdom which hints of St. Petersburg tragedies and a manoeuvering model has taught him. intrigues: her affectionate compassion Between lies an intricate sequence of for the Russian sovereigns; her vast episodes-each with individuality and contempt for the Grand Dukes Cyril flavor of its own-in which Mr. Charand Serge; her sympathetic admira- ley's sisters and brothers from Hyde tion of really patriotic Russians and Park play their part with his Sobo enjoyment of the love affair which friends, and with the nondescript she fosters in the war prison; and her group of acquaintances brought upon unselfish devotion to others make her a the scene by the model. The element rare heroine. Such fiction as the of supernaturalism is adroitly introRusso-Japanese war has hitherto pro- duced into the story, linking its midduced has been violently partisan, and Victorian fortunes with those of a cenalınost without exception Japanese in tury earlier. The success of so unsympathy, and this book instantly usual a venture as this of Mr. De Mortakes rank as far above anything pre gans will be an interesting test of the ceding it and worthy to be classed taste of our time. Henry Holt & Co.


No. 3286 June 29, 1907.



1. The Second Hague Conference. By Sir Thomas Barclay

FORTNIGHTLY REVIEW 771 II. The Story of Maga" and the Blackwoods. By J. P. C. .

PALL MALL MAGAZINE 778 III. The Enemy's Camp. Chapter XX. (To be continued) . .

MACMILLAN'S MAGAZINE 785 IV. London Clubs : Past and Present. By Arthur Griffiths . .

FORTNIGHTLY REVIEW 791 V. A Ramble in the Abruzzi :1.–Sulmona Market. 11.-Scanno.

By Helen H. Colvill . . . GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE 802 VI. The Mills of Justice. By Reginald Turner . . . . . .

MACMILLAN'S MAGAZINE 809 vii, The Bad Men of America . . . . . . SPECTATOR 815 VIII. The Navigation of the Air . . . . . . OUTLOOK 817 IX. The Edition de Luxe

. Punch 820 X. Nature and the Sentimentalists. . COUNTY GENTLEMAN 821

A PAGE OF VERSE XI, The Adventurers. By Henry Newbolt

. . SPECTATOR 770 XII. The Visit. By Norman Gale . . PALL MALL MAGAZINE 770 XIII. Catharine. By William H. Davies . . . . . . . 770

BOOKS AND AUTHORS . . . . . . . . . 823



TERMS OF SUBSCRIPTION. For Six DOLLARS, remitted directly to the Publishers, THE LIVING AGE will be punctually forwarded for a year, free of postage, to any part of the United States. To Canada the postage is 50 cents per annum.

Remittances should be made by bank draft or check, or by post office or express money order, if possible. If neither of these can be procured, the money should be sent in a registered letter All postmasters are obliged to register letters when requested to do so. Drafts, checks, express and money orders should be made payable to the order of The LIVING AGE Co.

Single Copies of THE LIVING AGE, 15 cents.

« PreviousContinue »