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1876.]
Literary Notices.

"In this way, for example, taking into fat, which is frequently a cause of
infancy and childhood, the well-known death. If care be taken to exclude as
disease called rickets' is caused by a much as possible those foods which
deficiency of phosphate of lime, on the directly tend to form fat, and if a
presence of which solidity of bone sufficiency of exercise is also insisted
depends. A healthy child may be upon, this tendency is diminished."
starved into rickets by withholding
those components of food, otherwise
plentiful, which contain these salts,

With respect to flesh meat, just as a rickety child may be fed intó

our anthors very properly protest health by giving food which contains against the cruel system of overthem in full proportion.

feeding which has been encouraged "In the case of rickets, lime is an to a baneful extent by the prizes absolute necessity; but in the case of

bestowed on gross obesity at agri. children brought up to drink plentifully

cultural exhibitions. The meat of of water charged with lime, we find goitre, or Derbyshire neck, all kinds

such animals, so far from being of deposit in the urine, and often stone

thoroughly sound, and nutritious in the bladder. Here, that which is in proportion to its bulk, verges so beneficial to a rickety constitution is closely on a condition of degeneracy most injurious when the system is over- that it is more dangerous than charged. Advancing, we may take the wholesome for the consumer:cases of pallor and weakness so commou in over-crowded towns and cities, which are due to a want of salts of iron in the Many persons, in selecting their blood; in them, the kind of food taken daily joint, believe, when they secure is of the utmost importance. in order the meat which is charged at the that it may provide a sufficiency of highest price, that they obtain the such salts.

finest possible nourishment. “ Again, in constitutional diseases, “They may sometimes be correct, they such as gout, rheumatism, or diabetes, may sometimes also obtain fine flavour, which are well known to depend upon the most juicy condition, and the most an excessive formation of uric acid, tender fibre. The wsthetic enjoyments lactic acid, and sugar respectively, the of carving may be indulged in so as to mode of controlling them is obvious, display ai once the dexterity of the namely, to exclude as much as possible carver, the skill of the butcher, and those matters which science teaches us the ripeness of the animal; and, at favour the formation of these com- the same time, a sufficiently scientific pounds, and to give those only which veterinary surgeon would pounce down will nourish sufficiently without en- upon the tempting helpings, and declare couraging these diseases.

that that which is most inviting has “So, in cases in which there is a diffi. only been obtained by the degeneration culty in the absorption and assimilation of the most valuable qualities of the of various matters, such as fats, which, meat. either in that form or in the form of "It may appear ridiculous to declare, oil, are incapable of being absorbed, with some emphasis, that at uo time of and which require a process similar to the year is the liability of purchasing that of saponitication, it is of the utmost diseased meat so great as immediately importance, not only to those structures after the great cattle shows. Instances, containing them, but to the health of however, have not been wanting to the entire body, that food should con. prove that the beasts exhibited have tain those matters in that condition, or been in that condition in which fat that the agents necessary to produce it deposited externally, and interstitially shall be present at the time of digestion. (as marbling of the meat), and also in

The converse also holds good in the viscera, has reached such a degree cases where there is a tendency to an as to admit of the easy passage of the excessive deposit of fat, and to a finger through the walls of the peridegeneration of the muscular tissues cardium, or membrane which surrounds

the heart. Mr. Gant testified that this was the precise condition in which he found several beasts exhibited by the late Prince Consort, the slaughter of

which anticipated by a very brief period

the inevitable termination of their lives by disease (fatty degeneration)."

While Drs. Drewry and Bartlett are thus scientific and practical in their observations on matters appertaining to the "Platter," we certainly cannot compliment them on being equally so when dealing with the subject of the "Cup.' They adopt and enforce the pernicious and illusory doctrine that alcohol is "food," properly so called, and have no hesitation in recommending it as fitting diet, in this climate, during the period of youth. More dangerous advice could not well be given. It is little to the purpose to say that "in health, perhaps, a greater superstructure of strength may be obtained without the use of any alcoholic fluids," when it is preceded by the positive assertion that "light beer or wines of low alcoholicity may be occasionally taken with benefit during the period of youth "-the most critical period of life, when most assuredly an appetite for pernicious stimulants should not be cultivated.

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Totally ignoring enlightened medical opinion of the present day, our authors maintain that alcoholic drinks are not only salutary in a state of health, but that they cannot, as a rule, be dispensed with. Total abstinence is a physiological heresy according to their philosophy. "Alcohol fluids," they assert, are frequently found to exert a beneficial influence, and they can be no more dispensed with in many instances than can the nourishing but easily digestible food, just alluded to, as the proper food for persons living under the artificial conditions of civilized life."

Now the great preponderance of medical opinion, supported by physiological research and sushypotheses that alcohol is food, or tained by experience, denounces the

that alcoholic fluids are beneficial in a state of health. In a state of disease alcohol, like other deleterious matters, may be usefully employed, but to recommend their use as salutary in a state of health, and especially during "the period of youth," is to run directly counter to the enlightened professional opinion of the day.

Words; their Use and Abuse. By W. Mathews, LL.D. Chicago: Griggs & Co. London: Trübner & Co. 1876.-It is not easy to discover the precise object of the present volume, which has grown out of a lecture delivered by the author some twenty years ago. It can hardly have been to make any important contribution to existing knowledge on the subject, or to call attention to circumstances connected with the use and abuse of words which have not already been repeatedly pointed out. The author has derived his materials from works familiar to all readers who take any interest in such matters. He has brought to light no new facts ascertained by original investigation, established no new principle, and given utterance to no subtle criticism or striking observation. These deficiencies would scarcely be felt in a lecture intended simply for an hour's entertertainment. But in a permanent volume one looks for something more than a heterogeneous collection of odds and ends jotted down in a note-book from well-known authors, interspersed with anecdotes. and sayings that are too familiar,

proverbs somewhat musty, and rather prosy preaching.

The loose indefiniteness of Dr. Mathews's title prepares one for a rambling work. On so wide a theme an author may be expected to wander abroad at his own sweet will. It is hard to see the connection between the several chapters that make up this volume, still harder to understand how the substance of the chapters can be brought under their headings, or what is the drift of the whole, if there is any whole at all, strictly speaking.

As the work now appears, it is neither a popular lecture nor a scientific treatise, but a mixture of the two, with something of the sermon. Far be it from us to say the mixture is not agreeable. Dr. Mathews has a pleasant chatty manner, a force and richness of expression sometimes rising to eloquence, and an accuracy of language, as well as a general purity of taste, far above the average of transatlantic literature. Hence his volume is decidedly pleasant reading, notwithstanding all its faults-which are fewer than its deficienciesreminding one not unfrequently of Mr. Smiles's "Self-Help," and other kindred works, from which he has reaped such extensive popularity. The frequent references to American literature, history, and customs cannot, of course, be expected to interest English readers so much as those for whom the work was written.

The first chapter is on "The Significance of Words," by which the author means, not their signification, but their importance. He makes the chief excellence of Tennyson, Swinburne, and De Quincey to consist in their skilful use of words, and says, "The superiority of the writers of the seventeenth century, to those of our own day

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is due not less to their choice and collocation of words than to their weight of thought." Elsewhere he goes even further, "It is this cunning choice, along with the skilful arrangement of words, that, even more than the thought, eternises the name of an author." Still more questionable is the statement that "Whitefield could thrill an audience by saying Mesopotamia.' Surely Dr. Mathews is here misled by a confused recollection of a joke in one of Sir Walter Scott's novels, where an old woman is represented as unable to remember anything more about a sermon she had heard than that there was one sweet word, "Mesopotamia," in it. At any rate, it is absurd to attribute the effect of this, or the exclamations oh! ah uttered by him, to the words themselves alone.

In the chapter on "The Morality of Words," which treats of language as an indication of character and mind, we find the following remarks::

"What shall we think of the fact that the French language has no word equivalent to 'listener'? Is it not a noteworthy circumstance, shedding light upon national character, that among thirty-seven million of talkers, no provision, except the awkward paraphrase celui qui écoute (he who hears), should have been made for hearers ? Is there any other explanation of this blank than the supposition that every Frenchman talks from the pure love of talking, and not to be heard; that, reversing the proverb, he believes that 'silence is silver, but talking is golden;' and that, not caring whether he is listened to or not, he has never recognized that he has no name for the person to whom he chatters?"

This is not only ill-natured in tone, but incorrect as to fact. There is a French word écouteur for a listener, and auditeur for a hearer.

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.

But supposing there were no single he may not only enrich his vocabulary, equivalent words for the English but learn in some degree the secret of ones, none but a very perverse mind

their charm, detect his own deficienwould think of drawing so formid

cies, and elevate and refine his taste to able an indictment against a nation

a degree that can be reached in no

other with nothing more than this flimsy style can be acquired by imitating any

way. But to suppose that a good evidence in support of it.

Dr.

one writer, or any set of writers, is one Mathews's inferences from idioms of the greatest follies that can be and words in other languages are imagined. often

very fanciful. It is a curious ** Such a supposition is based on the notion also of his, that not only is

notion that fine writing is an addition the study of botany much hindered

from without to the matter treated of,by the hard names of plants, but

a kind of ornament superinduced, or

luxury indulged in, by one who has that of astronomy greatly promoted sufficient genius; whereas the brilliant by such easy names as the bear, or powerful writer is not one who has the serpent, and the milky way. merely a copious vocabulary, and can Another strange idea is, that the turn on at will any number of splendid irregularities of spelling, pronun

phrases and swelling sentences, but he ciation, and syntactical construc

is one who has something to say, and tion “are the strongest proofs of

knows how to say it. Whether he the nobleness and perfection of our

dashes off his compositions at a heat,

or elaborates them with fastidious nicety language.'

and care, he has but one aim, which he Dr. Mathews says, “Everybody keeps steadily before him, and that is knows that George I. of England to give forth what is in him. From obtained his crown, not by here- this very earnestness it follows that ditary title, but by an act of parlia- whatever be the brilliancy of his dicment." Surely it was both by

tion or the harmony of his periods, – hereditary title and an act of par

whether it blaze with the splendours liament. Had he not been the

of a gorgeous rhetoric, or take the ear

prisoner with its musical surprises, next heir to the Stuart family, which he never makes these an end, but has was disqualified, the crown would always the charm of an incommuni. certainly not have been settled upon cable simplicity." hini by act of parliament.

Dr. Mathews's observations on “It follows from all this that there style are sensible and just, though is no model style, and that the kind of not remarkable for novelty :

style demanded in any composition depends upon the man and his theme.

The first law, of good writing is that it “ That it is well for a writer to fami- should be an expression of a man's diarize himself with the best models of self,-a reflected image of his own chastyle (models sufficiently numerous to

racter. If we know what the man is, prevent that mannerism which is apt we know what his style should be. If to result from unconscious imitation, it mirrors his individuality, it is, relawhen he is familiar with but one), tively, good ; if it is not a self-pornobody can doubt. A man's vocabu- traiture, it is bad, however polished lary depends largely on the company its periods, or rhythmical its cadences. he keeps; and without a proper voca- The graces and witcheries of expresbulary no man can be a good writer. sion which charm us in an original Words are the material that the author writer, offend us in a copyist. Style works in, and he must use as much is sometimes, though not very hapcare in their selection as the sculptor pily, termed the dress of thought. It in choosing his marble or the painter is really, as Wordsworth long ago in choosing his colours. By profound declared, the incarnation of thought. study of the masterpieces of literature In Greek, the same word, Logos,

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stands for reason and speech,-and why? Because they cannot be divided; because thought and expression are one. They each co-exist, not one with the other, but in and through

the other. Not till we can separate the soul and the body, life and motion, the convex and concave of a curve, shall we be able to divorce thought from the language which only can embody it. But allowing. for the moment, that style is the verbal clothing of ideas, who but the most povertystricken person would think of wearing the clothes of another? It is true that there are certain general qualities, such as clearness. force, flexibility, simplicity, variety, which all good styles will alike possess. just as all good clothing will have certain qualiBut for all men to ties in common. clothe their thoughts in the same manner, would be as foolish as for a giant to array himself in the garments of a dwarf, a stout man in those of a thin, or a brunette in those of a blonde."

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Under the head of "Curiosities of Language," Dr. Mathews has the following curious derivation, among others. Hip! hip! hurrah! is said to have been' originally a warcry adopted by the stormers of a German town, wherein a great many Jews were all put to the sword, amid the shouts of Hierosolyma est perdita. From the first letters of these words (h e p) an exclamation was contrived." Surely the force of folly can go no further than this absurdity, which reminds one of the derivation of King Pippin from the name Hooper thus: Hooper, dooper, diaper, napkin, nipkin, pipkin, pippin. Even supposing the exclamation hip! could be imagined to have such a farfetched origin, how is hurrah! to be explained? Dr. Mathews's derivation of the word lady is not quite correct. Lady primarily signifies bread-keeper. It is derived from the Anglo-Saxon, hlafdie, i.e. hlaf

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weardige, bread-keeper, from hlaf
bread, loaf, and weardian, to keep,
look after." The original word is
hlafdige from hlaf, a loaf, and digan,
to serve out, so that the primary
meaning is a bread distributor.
The author is decidedly wrong in
his derivation of the word hypo-
comes from
crite, which he says
two Greek words, signifying under
a mask; the fact being, as every
one with a small smattering of
Greek knows, that it comes from
a compound Greek word, meaning
one who answers, hence one who
converses on the stage, or a player;
and, that there is no trace of any
mask. Dean
word meaning a
Alford, with all his alleged "dog-
matic small talk," could never have
perpetrated so gross a blunder.

The concluding chapter on "Common Improprieties of Speech" is the only part of the volume that contains matter of much practical value. Even this is of no great value, because the real improprieties are such as no properly educated person would be guilty of, and are better prevented by early training than corrected by popular lectures or books. Besides, they have already been pointed out by Some of the expresother writers.

sions to which Dr. Mathews objects
have the sanction of much better
authority than his. He makes a
bold assertion, unsupported by any
attempt at proof, in saying, "Seldom
or never is a common vulgarism."
In
many cases the alleged faults are
very trivial, mere matters of taste
upon which every one must decide
for himself, and no one can be pro-
nounced positively wrong. Dr.
Mathews might as well have pointed
out that the impropriety "I had
rather" springs from "I'd rather,"
which is a contraction for "I would
rather."

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