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New Books and New Editions.
' "The Report of the Horn Scientific Expedition, Part IV., Anthropology," has reached UB from the publishers, Messrs. Melville, Mullen, and Slade, Melbourne. The volume is edited hy Pro _ lessor Baldwin Spencer, and its contents are made
up of a most interesting paper of more than 150 pages on the Central Australian blacks by Dr. Stirling, and "Notes on Some Manners and Cus- toms of the Aborigines of the M'Donnel Ranges belonging to the Arunta Tribe" by Mr. F. J. Gillen. There are a, large number of beautiful plates which illustrate and enliven the text, and these, as in fact the whole volume, are produced in a manner highly creditable to the publishers. Many of the plates are from photographs taken by Mr. Gillen, who, as Sub-Protector of Aborigines and Special Magistrate at Alice Springs, in the M'Don nell Ranges, had a good chance to use the camera, and he made the moat of his opportunity. In the introduction to his paper Dr. Stirling says: '.'In all essential particulars the natives of Central Australia conform to the well-known type of the Australian race. Those features, either of person or custom, which distinguish them in a subor- dinate degree from the tribes nearer the coast, are with but little variation found extending over the immense area of the central regions of the inappropriately named province of South Aus- tralia." Notwithstanding the fact that the blacks of the region explored are already pretty well known, and have oit«»n enough been described be- fore, Dr. Stirling hat ihe knack of interesting the general reader, and thc report, valuable as it is from a scier: tifio ooint. oí .l«w, will be none the less valuable nu tbat account.
"In Sunny Australia..'* a. nov ol. "by Nonine St. Clair, is published by Miissr,.. rteorge Robertson . and Company. This story, apr.a..cnitly the first
effort of the authoress, is l y nc ra;--.. r. v.'tthout merit, and gives hope of later and mere j»uc.:;vsful performance. It has its faults-they art- su«J> as "go before to judgment"-among which th* often insipidity of the dialogue is perhaps most notable. Doubtless people do talk like that; there are înw conversations of which a verbatim report v. ou M be readable; and it ls necessary for thc novels* to omit, alter, or simplify a great part of wï> would be actually said. In so doing he ls
false to nature, but sacrifices-as the painter m.
must do-the less vital truth of details tc tho higher truth of general effect. lt would K> easy to find further fault, to point to defects of diction and of style which spoil some passages ot-br-i-wiso ' pleasing; but it is a more grateful task to note
. how in this story the world-old themes cl love and. . of jealousy, of treachery long sucoessh'i to fail at
at last, of long and late-reward'à constancy, are wrought Into a picture which deficiencies of execu- tion cannot mar. The scenery and actors are truly Australian; the national character » r being '" laboriously asserted, but irisLbjctively '?'«"?* as it
were unconsciously expressed, ai -though by one to whom it is profoundly and-'perhaps exclusively familiar. And it is '-o her honor that while so many authors of fi'-uon seem minded "to make the worse appear f: . better cause," the writer of "In Sunny Australia" bolds fast to the old simple views of life and all that life includes.
"The Heart of the World,*' by H. Rider Hag- gard, forms the latest addition to Longmans' Co- lonial Library, and is sent us , by Messrs. Geo. .Robertson and Company. - Readers of Mr. Rider Haggard's romances will find in this hook a good deal with which they are already familiar. The hidden nation, secure in a secret fastness, will remind them of a like people encountered by the redoubtable Quartermaln and his comrades; while the scene in which the fate of the adventurer is narrowly decided between Immediate execution on the one hand, and on the other high advancement and a royal bride, might have been a study for the very similar passage in "Montezuma's Daugh- ter." But though these and some other events of the story are far from new, the book is not a mere rechauffe of old ingredients. Its plot is full of unexpected turns, not by any means always in the direction one would anticipate. Its charac- ters are full of life, while the spirit of the decadent Indian races of South America, more patient to endure than to accomplish, with its strange depths of intenser feeling beneath a surface of seemingly apathetic placidity, is pro- foundly realised and finely drawn. In Zibalbay, the chieftain of the concealed race, Mr. Haggard has given us a striking picture. Alene, amidst the indifference of the people and the self-seeking of the priests and nobles, the old man holds fast to the legendary hope of his na- tion, ready to endure or to inflict whatever suffer- ing its accomplishment may demand. His heroic resolution, half transformed into mere senile ob stitwey, baffled at every turn by forces and re- sistances beyond his calculation, yet indomitable to the last, belongs to the highest tragedy. Many will read the book with eager pleasure; and it is no dispraise to add that those will enjoy lt most who are not too well acquainted with the author's - earlier works. The present edition is illustrated
with reduced copies oí the original pictures, in a kind of mezzotint, apt, as it seems to us, to pro- duce a somewhat blurred effect.
-From the same firm we have Messrs. Bell and Son's Indian and Colonial edition of "Black Dia- monds," by Maurus Jokai. The many admirers of this 'author's works will not be disappointed in this addition to their humber. As will be guess- ed from the title, it ls the story of a coal mine. The 'mine is a small one, bf which the hero-Ivan Behrend-ls owner and manager. Vast enter , prices, leading to financial schemes and political
ambitions on a gigantic scale, are formed in con- nection with it, and their issue is finally turned to good by Ivan's steadfastness and just dealing, no leBS than by the skill and daring by which he copes with the dangers of a burning mine. Not a character nor an event of the tale is common- place-most of them, indeed, being the very re- feree. The scenes are not less strange than vari- ous; and the heroine, whose marvellous transform- ations of fortune have unaltered the pure simpli- city of her character, is drawn with a true and de- licate touch. Not only as a tale, but as a delinea- tion of Hungarian life and character, the book is
. one of unusual interest.
A new story-teller for children, in the person of Miss Ella Chaffey, has just made her debut under the auspices of Messrs. Ward, Lock, and Bowden "The Youngsters of Murray Home" is the xqodest title of a capital sbry of the" adventures of Australian country-bred children, the illustra- tions by A. J. Johnson adding to its undeniable at- tractions. The great test of a book is its appre- ciation by that section of the community fer which it is specially written, .and it ls safe to
say that the little people catered for by Miss Chaf- fey will revel in the story of the delightfully na- tural children who live at Murray Home, There can be no question but that the characters are ta- ken from life; their quaint sayings have the genu- ine ring, and with the exception of the sweet-tem- pered Olga, they are most humanly naughty and mischievous. Bertram, who shocks the solemn parson by relating how he "dreamed that God shaked hands with him;" Hubert, with his real Australian love of sport; Baby Dorothy, with her childish dignity and winsome ways; the irrepres- sible Kat, with her genius for practical jokes are all healthy, happy specimens of juvenile hu- manity. Miss Chaffey has, however, resisted the temptation to which some writers for children have succumbed, of making the young heroes and heroines interesting and amusing at the expense of their elders. Even if the story of the capture of the "baby snake" and the various heroic achievements of the twelve-year-old Hu- bert require, on the part of grown-up people, a certain stretch of the imagination, there is no doubt that the numerous adventures and hair- breadth escapes of the young people of Murray Home will be read with thrilling and breathless attention by their youthful contemporaries, and admirers of all ages will justly claim for the whole story the merit of a typically Australian setting and atmosphere. The comparative freedom from restraint and the open air life of the Australian child, with the consequent development of cour- age and self-reliance which is so characteristic of young Australia, is one of the incidental though inevitable features of any book which attempts to give a truthful delineation of colonial" life and manners, and by her success in this respect the author of "The Youngsters of Murray Home" deserves to rank high among the new, writers of
a new country.