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good and beautiful, and his most sombre pictures in his wildest scenes are brought out against a background of poetical feeling. Look at his views of the Hebrides in winter storms, or of those dull brown moorlands that lay round the manse of Airlie. See how after making the king of Boroa somewhat ludicrous by the shallow Machiavellism the tiresome old tleman affects, he makes us part with him on the friendliest terms after all, thanks to the unselfish devotion he shows his daughter.
We greatly admire the · Princess of Thule.' As you sit of an evening in her little parlour at Boroa, you seem to listen to the howl of the storm and the grinding of the surf; you look out from the casement of a morning on the grey clouds flitting across the 'gurly lift'; and in spite of the odours of spirits and tobacco, you catch the briny odour of the sea-weed that is heaped upon the strand. We could quote description on description of storm or sunshine among the hills and on the lochs, that have affected us so strongly as to recur naturally to our memory, under the suggestion of similar circumstances. But we confess that we prefer his former novel—A Daughter
of Heth.' Away from her native Hebrides Sheila Mackenzie ceases to be natural to us, and gets into a false position. Mr. Black enlists our sympathies in her favour, which says much for his art, but he deals hard measure to her husband. Lavender may have been foolishly imprudent in thinking their marriage would ensure their happiness, but when his folly finds him out in London society, it is unfair to insinuate that he was altogether in fault throughout. We rejoice over the reconciliation at Boroa, but, if Sheila is a creature of flesh and blood, we are assured that the troubles of the couple are by no means at an end, notwithstanding the experience they have bought so dearly.
In A Daughter of Heth’ there is little of all that, though we might take some exception to such trifles as the behaviour of “the Whaup' when he makes his debut in fashionable Glasgow society. Generally the book is as true to nature, and as artfully artless as Coquette herself. We are sorely disappointed by its gloomy ending, because we have come to take such a heartfelt interest in both Coquette and the Whaup; but we have always maintained that an author may exercise his own discretion as to the way he interprets destiny. And the beginning is as amusing as may be, without going at all wide of probabilities. Mr. Black not only finds pleasant sermons in stones, but he gets a great deal of broad fun out of the interior of a Scotch manse that is administered on
the severest principles of the strictest sect of Presbyterian zealots. The very austerity of the discipline is made to heighten the humour. What can be better than the Whaup' and his band of brothers: the battle of the garden, where they are surprised by their father, defending the wall against the stoners and slingers from the parish school, on principles of warfare they have borrowed from the pages of Josephus ? Or that ponderous volume of Josephus, the only quasi-secular work tolerated by the minister as light reading of a Sabbath evening, round which the youthful students gather with such eagerness, the folio having been ingeniously hollowed out for the accommodation of a couple of white mice? Or “the Whaup' holding the good boy of the family by the heels, dependent from a bridge with his head over the water, compelling him to compromise his character and conscience by uttering language that seemed to him to be portentously blasphemous ?
• The Whaup' himself-by the way Mr. Black, who surely ought to know, asserts that the word is Scotch for the green plover, whereas we have always heard it applied to the curlewchanges wonderfully, yet not unnaturally, ip course of the story. The frolicsome, spirited, chivalrous, insubordinate lad settles down into the loving, resolute, chivalrous man.
But it is Coquette herself who is the masterpiece, as she ought to be. It was an admirable idea, dropping an innocent, sunnynatured French girl into the dim, religious interior of a Scotch manse. The little she has been taught of the pious duties incumbent on her, appears most heathenish and horrible to these sworn enemies of the Scarlet Woman. Her young cousins shrink from her at first in superstitious repulsion. The ancient servants regard her and her gay manners and her bright ways with holy horror. Her venerable uncle believes she has everything to learn, while treating her with fatherly tenderness; and as for the Whaup,' he feels for long as if he were being lured onwards into the snares of a Circe. Then how Coquette steals insensibly on them all, one after another. Her nature is as bright and loving as her wayward manners are winning; and even when love, innocence, and ill-regulated principles together, bring her close upon the brink of sin, she loses nothing of the reader's regard, of the affection of the minister, or the love of his eldest son. We have brought ourselves to feel such an interest in her, that though, as we said, we are willing to concede an author every licence in that respect, yet we can hardly forgive Mr. Black for clouding her bright existence, and taking her from her husband's arms to lay her in an untimely grave.
Looking at it distinctly as a Scotch novel, “A Daughter of • Heth' takes a very high place. Mr. Black deals chiefly with such national idiosyncrasies as lie on the surface, and does not profess, like Mr. Mac Donald, to lay bare the intricate metaphysical machinery of the worthies who figure in his pages. But to say nothing of the Whaup, the very personification of a Scotch lad of the middle classes, and of the best sort; the Minister, the Schoolmaster, old Anderson, the Minister's man, and Leesiebess' his wife, as Coquette calls her, are all individualities who live in our memories. The chapters are not overcrowded with people or incidents, and the book gains accordingly. We have no intention of closing our article by drawing comparisons. Placing' authors always reminds us of the rough and ready practice of guide books, who rank pictures executed in the most different styles according to absolute degrees of merit, and decide off-hand between Domenichino's St. Jerome' and Paul Potter's Bull.' But at least we may have said enough to show that at this moment we have three living Scotch novelists, each of whom has done more to perpetuate the best traditions of their art than any writer who has appeared since the death of the author of “Waverley.'
ART. III.-1. General Report by Captain Tyler in regard to
the Share and Loun Capital, the Traffic in Passengers and Goods, and the Working Expenditure, and Net Profits from Railway Working of the Railway Companies of the United Kingdom, for the year 1873: Idem for the year 1874. Presented to both Houses of Parliament by command of Her
Majesty. 2. Du Régime des Travaux Publics en Angleterre. Par Ch. de
FRANQUEVILLE, maître des requêtes au Conseil d'État, secrétaire de la Commission Centrale des chemins de fer au
Ministère des Travaux Publics. Paris : 1875. 3. Annuaire Officiel des Chemins de Fer. Paris : 1873. No event recorded in history has so profoundly affected the
relations borne by man to the planet which he inhabits as the discovery which is associated with the name of Watt. Dynastic changes, substitutions of one form of government for another, conquests by the sword, and revulsions in religious opinion, have swept over the world from time to time. But when the storm has passed, man, as to his physicial condition, has remained much what he was before. The exigencies of climate, and the capabilities of the soil, have imposed limits that appeared impossible to pass. Regarding each country, as characterised by climate and soil, by itself, the burden of toil needful for its cultivation has been as severe in the latest, as in the earliest, times. Human life has been hemmed in by narrow bounds of space and time. The absolute nature of this restriction has been taken for granted by all ancient philosophy. The gallop of a horse measured the extreme velocity with which man could pass from place to place. The slow rate at which alone bodies of great weight could be moved by mechanical means, was regarded as an unavoidable necessity. The daily result of the labour of the individual, or of the community, was limited by the capabilities of human and of animal activity. It was no more thought possible for a nation to perform a greater amount of work, within a given time, than was competent to it by reason of the muscular force of its sons, aided to some extent by that of their beasts of burden, than it was to make both seedtime and harvest constant throughout the year.
It is true that, to a very limited extent, the powers of nature had been appealed to in aid of that of man. But they were her visible, palpable powers alone; and their employment was either strictly local, or subject to influences which, in his ignorance of their cause, man could only regard as capricious. The power developed by the fall of water from a higher to a lower level had been applied to relieve man, or, more strictly speaking, woman, from her ancient service of the grinding of bread corn. But the water-mill was a factor entirely dependent on the physical features of the country, narrowly tied to locality, and liable to failure in times of drought. The vanes of the windmill might be spread on any slight elevation of the soil. But days of calm are often succeeded by stormy gales; and during each of such seasons the miller has to wait for a prosperous wind. To the same mysterious power of the wind, as to the laws of which no Maury had enlightened our ancestors, the adventurous sailor entrusted the safety of his cruise. But the time of the completion of his voyage, should he escape the dangers of the storm, was quaintly and devoutly expressed, in the formula of the old charter parties, to be beyond human disposal or calculation. • And so,' they ran, 'may God send ' the good ship to her desired port in safety.
The invention of Watt, for the first time, gave to the service of man a natural agent or force, generated by his own art, and entirely subjected to his control. Of the ultimate results of his successful attempt to utilise the expansive force of steam that great inventor could have had but a faint prevision. It took a century of inventors to arrive at the ultimate scientific expression of the law that underlay the empirical discoveries of Watt. While steam still remains the most convenient known medium for the conduction of heat, we have learned that it is to heat itself that we must, look for the true motive power of inorganic mechanism. That heat is a mode of motion, is an ultimate generalisation of the highest order. It is a maxim from which it follows that the amount of work which may be effected by machinery is not to be limited even by the exhaustion of all the coalfields of the globe. The amount of inorganic force which may be set in motion by the human will and intelligence, for the service of mankind, is, if not mathematically infinite, practically without a bound.
We have not ‘any thought of entering, within our present limits, on a history of the application of inorganic force. Still less can we give a glance at its probable future. We must limit our inquiries to one branch of the subject, that of the application of thermal power to locomotion. Of the various applications of power to this object, we confine ourselves to land transit; and in this, to that special kind of land transit which is effected on our English railways. It is not our aim to attempt, on the one hand, an imaginative or academic treatment of the wonder. ful revolution in travelling which our eyes have witnessed, and in which our hands have not been idle. Neither do we desire, on the other hand, to burden our readers with pages of statistical information, which those who desire it may obtain elsewhere. It is our wish to inquire, for a few minutes, into the character of the revolution which has been effected by the introduction of the locomotive into England; and to endeavour to discover the cause of the arrest of the construction of railways, at a time when their influence on the welfare of the people is becoming every year more conspicuous. In order to do this we must ascertain, as closely as possible, a fact which has never yet been distinctly and accurately presented to the European public, namely, the average cost of the conveyance on our railways of a ton weight of train for a given distance, and at a given speed.
It must, however, be borne in mind that it is impossible to speak truly of the advantages secured to England by her railways, apart from a tacit recognition of the other duties performed by the steam engine. No other agency could have extracted annually from the bowels of the earth the hundred and twenty millions of tons of coals which feed the furnaces of