Page images
PDF
EPUB

character, with no adhesion to the iron. Being anxious to keep a permanent record of the experiment in the form of a firm deposit, I repeated the experiment with a weaker solution of sulphate of copper. I still obtained a flocculent deposit showing the lines of force and the outline depression, but not so well marked as before. No steady definite currents were now visible, but the solution was too weak to deposit crystals of sulphate of iron. This and the behaviour of the solution in the previous experiment, where the currents were developed simultaneously with the appearance of the crystals of iron salt, led me to the inference that these movements were due to the magnetic and diamagnetic properties which Faraday proved to belong to such salts.

Repetition of the experiment with solutions of intermediate strength confirmed this, for then I discovered that a separation of the mixed solutions of sulphate of copper and sulphate of iron occurred, and they became so arranged that over the outline of the poles was a liquid wall of pale green solution of iron, while on either side-i.e. both inside and outside of the poles—was blue sul. phate of copper. This explained the furrow in the copper deposit, as it is evident that copper could not be deposited from the pale solution of sulphate of iron thus standing over the boundary or outline of the poles of the magnet. It also suggested another series of very interesting investigations which the closing of the Institution and the loss of the big magnet prevented me from prosecuting. Faraday found that certain metals and their compounds, when in the form of oblong bars, or contained in oblong tubes, and suspended between the poles of a very powerful electro-magnet, arranged themselves either “axially” or “equatorially” to the poles-i.e. they either turned with their ends towards the poles, or placed themselves across. He classed them accordingly as magnetic and diamagnetic.

As sulphate of copper is diamagnetic, and the solution of iron formed in the course of the experiment is magnetic, a conflict between these must occur, and this may be the source of the curious currents I observed.

I tried a solution of bismuth (the most diamagnetic of all the metals) alone. No motion was visible, although it contained sus. pended particles of the sub-nitrate that would have displayed any. The same with a solution containing precipitated phosphorus. These negative results indicate the requirement of mixed magnetic and diamagnetic liquids, the further proceedings of which I hope to examine when another opportunity is afforded.

W. MATTIEU WILLIAMS.

381

TABLE TALK.

WH

THE BECKFORD COLLECTION.
HATEVER opinion may be held as to the distribution of

the Sunderland Library, the dispersal of the Beckford Collection cannot be regarded as a matter very seriously concerning literature. The largest prices which were realised were paid for bindings, not for books, and the sale was in some respects less of a library than of a collection of objects of vertù. I no more dream of despising the taste for individual copies which have passed through special and eminent hands, or belonged to famous collectors, than that for scarce or handsome editions. The two things, however, do not stand quite on the same footing. An edition may cast light upon a text ; a copy can scarcely do so unless it is annotated by the author or some writer likely to possess especial information, in which case it is probably unique, and should be in some great national library. A masterpiece of the binding of Pasdeloup or Le Gascon is as much a work of art as a cup carved by Benvenuto Cellini. As such it is a desirable object. When, however, as is occasionally the case, the binding is upon a work which without it would be thrown away as waste paper, the right of the copy to rank as a desirable book is open to dispute. I am so far short of being a true bibliophile, that I would rather have accumulated the fine collection of editions known as the Sunderland Library than the marvellous volumes which formed a portion of the princely surroundings of Beckford. The fact, however, is not to be ignored that in the Hamilton Collection, as the library first commenced at Fonthill is now called, are some priceless editions and other works of surpassing interest,

ENGLISH BOOKBINDING. N sight of the demand for handsome bindings which has lately

been developed, and the almost fabulous prices paid for wellbound books, it is singular that the occupation of bookbinding is still regarded in England as mechanical, and that no artist of eminence makes his appearance in our midst. I have no wish to disparage the productions of the best English binders, many of which are highly meritorious. Still, beside the works of the marvellous artificers found by the famous Marquis d’Aguisy, all modern accomplishment, even that of Trautz-Bauzonnet in France, seems wanting in delicacy. The secret of his marvellous gold tracing died with Le Gascon, and cannot, it seems, be recovered. In the absence, however, of that special taste and ability which, according to M. Feydeau, “discourage the most delicate and skilful hands,” our bookbinders might turn their attention to new materials. I have seen, for instance, some bindings in Japanese fabrics the effect of which is singularly novel and pleasing. So emphatically a work of individual art is a binding, that we must wait in hope for the great artist to disclose himself. In that development of art, however, which makes the latter half of this century a period of second renaissance, bookbinding can scarcely be said to have shared.

THE

Cloth VERSUS LEATHER. "HE previous remarks are intended to apply to books bound

in morocco, calf, vellum, &c., and not to those in cloth cases. So beautiful and artistic are sometimes the coverings supplied to new books, and the fancy papers employed as bindings, that one is compelled to use the volume carefully, knowing that when the case is worn out it will be difficult, if not impossible, to supply a binding equally satisfactory. Some of the works issued during late years by our best publishing houses are perfect in taste.

W"

THE FOREIGNER IN LONDON.
TITH the extension of a little indulgence by the sour-visaged

and sanctimonious who insist upon making Sunday a day of penance, London might easily take the position hitherto held by Paris as the centre of civilised life. Many reasons, including the absence of a strong and settled government, combine to drive from Paris the pleasure-seeking, art-loving classes who form a chief support of a holy-day capital. During the past season London has stolen a march upon her rival. Scarcely a respect is there in which the advantage is not on the side of London. In theatrical entertainments London has once more welcomed the chief Parisian company, which has appeared in a large portion of its modern repertory. It has, in addition, seen two of the most conspicuous of Italian artists, Signor Rossi and Signora Ristori, acting in English : a remarkable proof of the importance attached to the verdict of London. German opera given under the best conditions has combated the supremacy long enjoyed by Italian opera. The best American artists have come over; and we have, I am told, narrowly escaped a visit of Parsee actors, whose advent is only deferred.

Extreme interest has been excited through the cultured world by the great sales of pictures, curiosities, and books that have taken place at our auction-rooms. In the importance of these, London during the past season has occupied the foremost place in the world. It would be easy to proceed and show how in every respect London has taken precedence of every other capital. Yet, except for Americans, London is badly situated. The majority of visitors from the south, Italians, Spaniards, and the like, reach London by way of Paris; and Bavarian and other South Germans are able to take the same route. To entertain the new visitors we have built new and splendid hotels, and for their benefit in part we have beautified our streets. One thing more we are called upon to do. We must, at least in the case of foreigners, so far modify our laws that every visitor may not be compelled so to have to stay as, if possible, to be across the Channel before Sunday. A penance upon a foreigner so severe as an English Sunday no civilised nation has imposed.

AS

Mr. William Morris ON THE COLOURS OF FLOWERS.
S an acolyte in matters of art, I listen with reverence to the

utterances of those higher than myself in the service of her temple, and I am not often ready to dispute the claims of bishop and priest, self-appointed though these ordinarily are. Sometimes, however, I am compelled to listen to doctrine which I am scarcely able to understand. My very good and worthy master Mr. William Morris, whom I mention with sincere respect, startles me thus when he speaks of "bad colour" in flowers. Surely this is going a little too far. Mr. Morris's words are: “There are some flowers (inventions of men, i.e. florists) which are bad colour altogether, and not to be used at all. Scarlet geraniums, for instance, or the yellow calceolaria : which, indeed, are not uncommonly grown together profusely, in order, I suppose, to show that even flowers can be thoroughly ugly." Mr. Morris's objections to certain shades of red and yellow are known. Against them I have nothing to say. He will not, however, soon convert me to the notion that the bright red of the geranium, or the yellow, not unlike that of the buttercup, of the calceolaria, is a bad colour. As for the reason they are so largely used in London gardens, has Mr. Morris, I wonder, ever tried what flowers will flourish in our sooty atmosphere? I fancy it is not the colour that commends these special objects of Mr. Morris's animosity, but the fact that among flowers which last for a long period they stand foremost, if not alone, in the readiness with which they grow. As Wordsworth says to the

[ocr errors]

"kindly unassuming spirit,” the small celandine, I would say to the geranium

There's not a place,
Howsoever mean it be,
But 'tis good enough for thee.

“SCIENTIST."

THC

HOSE who justify the use of the word “scientist ” to denote a

scientific man are at least out in the illustrations they advance. To assign as justifications of a disagreeable word the derivation of such words as dentist from dens, oculist from oculus, deist from deus, and artist from ars, is mere waste. As is pointed out in the journal in which the discussion originated, scientia should make scient, as penitentia supplies penitent, and patientia patient. I see no objection to the use of the word scient, which is exactly synonymous with the French savant. If this is disliked, why should we not coin the word scientiate, which is analogous with licentiate-once in common

That Whewell advocated the use of the word scientist is true. A large percentage of those to whom the term, if once brought into general use, will have to be applied, are strongly opposed to its employment.

use.

F

MR. SWINBURNE's New POEMS.
ULL justice has been done in the chief organs of literary

opinion to the merits of Mr. Swinburne's rendering of the story of Tristram of Lyonesse. There is little temptation, accordingly, to dwell upon or characterise the splendid contribution to the literature of Arthurian romance that Mr. Swinburne has supplied. While on the one hand, however, Mr. Swinburne has been credited with abandoning a portion of his former method which he still retains, adequate praise has not been paid to the power, marvellous in itself and wholly unlike anything he has previously shown, which is displayed in his descriptions of combat. Poets of the Swinburne order do not change as speedily and completely as is sometimes supposed. Let those who think the author of “ Poems and Ballads” ashamed of “Les Noyades,” compare with that poem the utterance of Tristram when pining on his death-bed for the arrival of Iseult. Those, on the contrary, who seek to know how much of virility of style Mr. Swinburne has acquired, and what power he has to use the metre affected by Dryden, should study the description, in the canto headed “The Last Pilgrimage," of the fight between Urgan the giant and Tristram. Nothing in its way finer or more poetical than this can be found in English literature,

SYLVANUS URBAN,

« PreviousContinue »