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tester 100 Years go.

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THE SEPTEMBER MAGAZINES. FIRST NOTICE. The place of honour in Blackwood for Septem- ber is given to an interesting appreciation of Mrs. Oliphant as a novelist, in the course of which the writer is very severe on the new s'ylo of literary 'professionalism':— A great deal is heard nowadays of the pro- fession of literature, and a singular enough profession it must be, to judge by the utterances of its self-constituted spokesmen. To blow your own trumpet; to brag about your income to make popular applause the sole and final test of literary merit and to whimper because you have no handle to your name,-that is the sum and substance of professional conduct — new style. One essential item we had inadvertently omitted to abase publishers in the most in- solent and vindictive language. If there be any who are disgusted with the endless round of self-advertisement and vanity, and who hate to see an honourable calling degraded by its professing champions, let them turn aside and contemplate the career of Mrs. Oliphant. They will there find an illustration of how distinction and success may be won without the aid of any of those miserable arts, the practice of which, though infallibly disastrous to the finest graces of the character, appears to be the rule rather than the exception. The results achieved by her genius-some of which we have endeavoured to point out-are not within the reach of all. The gifts of humour, sympathy, tolerance, penetration, good sense, and felicitous expression cannot wholly be commanded by human effort. But he who enters upon a literary life with Mrs. Oliphant for his model may rest assured that at its termination self-respect and independence will remain unimpaired, and that he can leave behind him the legacy of an untarnished name. 'Hymns and Songs of the Battle Field form the subject of an interesting discourse in the September number of the Sunday Magazine, by Frederick G. Crowest. Blood and Music How strange a combination —one seemingly too contradictory to be possible or truo Yet there is a close kinship. The sword and melody are knit together in music's sphere with striking persistency from earliest times to the present. Songs of the battle-field are not less ancient than the very spirit that has ever impelled humanity forward to slaughter and to death. It matters not how far we go down through the ages, we find war songs—outpourings breathing in- cessantly, as indeed they should, the spirit of the Great God of Battle, the Lord God of Hosts. The Bible abounds in battle songs, the words of which, if not their original tunes, are ever with us. Many of them have been made more familiar to us through that majestic music-mind Handel, who in the exercise of his matchless vocal independence has set them in a fashion too glorious for any other composers to surpass or even reach. Think of the war- burdened poeans in such oratorios as Israel in Egypt,' Joshua,' Sampson,' Judas Maccabaaus,' and more! The Betting problem is discussed calmly and impartially by Professor Marcus Dods, DD., in the current number of Good Words. Before proceeding to shew that betting is ungentle- manly, unsportsmanlike, foolish, productive of crime, and a violation of the law of society, the writer charitably concedes that- Betting is not to be condemned on the sole ground that it is an appeal to chance, for many such appeals are innocent and justifiable. There are issues so absolutely trivial, or interests so perfectly balanced that reason cannot, or need not, be exer- cised, and the tossing of a coin is the most sensible means of arriving at a decision. For determining which side is to have the choice of innings at cricket, or in any case where nothing can be urged on the one side that may not equally be pleaded on the other, an appeal to chance is legitimate. But to carry this appeal into regions where the issues are of magnitude and importance, and in which reason and conscience should be listened to is to renounce the distinctive prerogatives of human nature, and sink below our proper level. That the loser pays for the use of the table in billiards is a convenient arrangement, and if the players are so equally matched that after 50 games each shall have paid for the same number, no one can take any exception of such a method of determining who shall pay each game. But if the players are unequal then it is a meanness. The Cornhill is a capital number, the contents including the opening of a personal narrative by Col. E. Vibart, of the Sepoy revolt at Delhi, May, 1857, which possesses a melancholy interest in view of the present disturbances in India, and an excellent article on Brunei. What Brunei cared about was not methods, but results. He wanted a road wide enough and strong enough to carry large and powerful engines running at a high speed, and he got it. That the Great Western main line in the early forties was the most perfect railroad existing in the world there can be no reasonable question. So, too, with his engines. Brunei was primarily a civil, not a mechanical, and still more not a locomotive engineer. Overwhelmed as he was with other work, it was impossible for him to be fully acquainted with the different lines along which locomotive improvement was advancing, or to be fully aware of the innumerable detailed re-adapta- tions of changing means to varying ends in which locomotive progress mainly consists. But he was determined that on the Great Western heavier tiains should travel at higher speeds than anything yet attempted. So at the outset he very much left the locomotive builders to their own devices, and the result was, it must be confessed, a menagerie • mons^ers. enough. Of the Hurricane, with her 10-foot driving wheels but no steam to move them, the Thunderer, with geared wheels and boiler and machinery on separate carriages, the less said the better. Sir Daniel Gooch's con- temporary record in his diary—' felt very uneasy about the working of these machines, feeling sure they would have enough to do to drive themselves along the road '-represents the facts with suffi- cient accuracy. But a few thousand pounds wasted on experimental engines was a small matter, and practically from the opening of the line Brunei got his results. The first engine that was put to real work, the North Star, took 50 tons at 45 miles an hour. In 1843 the Prince Consort was brought up from Bristol to London, if Sir Daniel Gooch may be trusted, 118 miles in 124 minutes. It is safe to say that on no other line in the world would such a feat have been possible. In 1846, when the Battle of the Gauges was raging, and when the London and Birmingham was still working its trains with petty little four- wheeled engines, the Great Western had already advanced to the 'Great Western' or Lord of the Isles •AUVU11 el&^t-wheel engine practically identical with the engines which ran the heaviest and fastest Great Weste/n expresses down to the year 1892. Paddington to Didcot, 53 miles, in 47 minutes is a speed that was more than once reached then, and has hardly been exceeded since. Nor was this high speed a mere occasional record-breaking perform- ance. While the best Manchester express took 5 hours and 40 minutes, to Exeter, practically the same distance, the time was 4 hours and a half. Let it be granted that George Stephenson was the father of railway travelling in general, wo must yet to Brunei give the credit that he was the father of express travelling in particular. The Windsor Magazine is again well to the fore. The chief features are a description of Miss Braddon at home, an article on Birming- ham and its Jewellery, and a record of Ten Years of Cycling. A wonderful advance has been made on speed rates since the introduction of the pneumatic tyre. There must first be noticed the famous ride from London to John-o'-Groat's, undertaken in June, 1873, by four riders who went on ordinaries from Kensington for an 800 miles' ride due north. As a contrast to what can be performed nowadays, it is both instructive and amusing to shew some of the details of this ride. During the first day 65 miles were traversed, but more would have been accom- plished had it not been for rain. The second day saw the travellers at Newark the third, at Went- bridge; the fourth, at Aberford; the fifth, at Darlington; the sixth, at Newcastle-on-Tyne; the seventh, at Alnwick the eighth, at Dunbar the ninth, at Edinburgh; the fifteenth, at John-o'- Groat s. That was the pioneer long-distance ride. How poor it seems when compared with later re- cords! In 1895 Mr. Neason rode from London to Edinburgh, a distance of considerably more than 400 miles, in 27 hours 38 minutes. In the previous year, Mr. G. P. Mills rode from Land's End to John-o -Groat's in just about one fifth of the time taken by the four riders mentioned in the previous paragraph to do a very much shorter distance. His exact time was 3 days 5 hours 49 minutes. The editor of the Cyclist kindly informs me that the official road records at the present time are 221 miles in 12 hours, done by Mr. G. Hunt, and 402 miles in 24 hours, by Mr. M. A. Holbein. The ngures for path records are certainly very interesting. Mr. J. Platt-Betts holds the world's record for the fastest mile, having made the distance in 1 minute 40 seconds, with a flying Vio2S « Wednesday of Whit-week in this year (1897), Mr. J. W. Stocks actually rode 32i miles in one hour, a greater speed than that of many passenger trains, and about equal to the speed of the swiftest Atlantic liners. Mr. Platt- Betts also holds the record for the 5 miles, his time being 9 minutes 4 4-6 seconds. The only other records which I shall put down here are those for the 12 hours' and for the 24 hours' races on the path. The former record is held by Mr. G. A. Patterson, and the distance he accomplished in the half day was 288 miles 460 yards the latter by Mr. C. Huret, who rode the almost incredible distance of close upon 560 miles within the limits of one day and one night. Some curious information is given in the September issue of Cassell's Family Magazine on the shaping of a cavalry recruit:— In his first lessons, the recruit's horse has only on it a bridoon bridle and a nummah, the large piece of thick felt which is worn between the saddle and the horse's back, and Atkins has now to I t learn how with this slight equipment to get upon the back of the animal, and when this is accom- plished, how to get off again. Probably he will find this first item in his instruction as difficult of acquirement as anything which he may be afterwards taught. The order is given. Prepare to mount." when he will turn to his right and stand close to his horse's side, with one hand on the withers and his right forearm on the loins. "Mount." He must give a spring from his insteps, and, straightening his arms, raise himself over the horse, pass his right leg over its back, and then drop into his seat. All this sounds very simple. but when it has to be done by springing from soft tan in a pair of stiff unyielding boots and when, a3 is often the case, the immature arms absolutely refuse to straighten themselves, raising the weight of the body, the unfortunate recruit thinks his task is well-nigh impossible. The next thing Atkins must learn is the position in which he should sit and the way in which lie must dispose of his limbs. And now, for the first time, he is impressed with the difference between what is the best way of sitting on a horse and the way he would have adopted by the light of Nature. It is a matter of time to induce him to stretch his leg down from the hip, to bring the flat of his thigh close to the horse's side, letting his feet hang down from the slightly bent knee. That he should keep his body erect and his shoulders flattened will probably, as a result of his dis mounted drills, be more easily accomplished, but keeping his elbows close to his sides and his hands low will seem opposed to every instinct of sense and comfort. NEW BOOKS. Cassell's Encyclopaedic Dictionary has reached its 67th monthly part, bringing the work down to the word slip.' From the current number of Cassell's Family Lawyer readers will find some useful informa- tion respecting their rights as buyers of goods:— When goods are sent to you, whether bought by sample or by description, take early opportunity to unpack and examine them, and should you find anything wrong, take pen and ink and write to the seller at once, telling him what is the matter. It does not pay to wait until settling day comes round and then to write and complain; for you at once lay yourself open to the charge of manufac- turing a claim in order to obtain a reduction of your account. If possible, you should, when you write your letter of complaint, set out the faults complained of fully, and at the same time add that the goods are still lying in your warehouse (or wherever else they may be) and that you will be glad to receive your correspondent or his repre- sentative and to point out the defects specified. This course is not only the fairest and most businesslike, but it will stand you in good stead shauld the seller scout your complaint and try to make you pay the full agreed price by legal process. I have heard it said scores of times when a defendant has set up the defence of bad quality, Why did you not complain at the time ?" Which is followed by the second question, Then you never complained of the quality of these goods until the seller pressed you for payment F" It requires no very trained mind to see if you are able to answer, I did complain at the time and offered to point out the defects," you score a point.



. A UDLEilf.