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phant, harsh cry of the cock pheasant, with the loud roll of his flapping wings to follow it as he stands glorious before his meek brown mate among the primroses? That is a call from the very heart of the spring; and if, because the singing birds are silent later in the year, there is no bird which chiefly associates itself with all the The Spectator.

later gardens, there are still two or three winged creatures which add brilliance to the flowers on which they sun themselves. Even into October the peacock and red admiral butterflies strut and fan their glowing wings on flower after flower of the patches of purple scabious, the latest of the wild gardens of the year.


been already reviewed in Nature, and we have now before us an account of his recent researches on "archebiosis" and a clear exposition of his views as to "The Evolution of Life." It is impossible not to admire the author's strong desire to get at the truth, the courage of his convictions, and his incomparable good humor.

(1) Dr. H. Charlton Bastian re-affirms and Origin of Living Matter" have his conviction that living organisms continue to arise from not-living material. It is a long time since, in his "Beginnings of Life" (1872), Bastian sought to establish the reality of this "archebiosis" and also of heterogenesis --that strange process by which organisms or parts of organisms of definite kind give rise to organisms of a quite different kind, as when the ovum of the rotifer Hydatina produces the infusorian Otostoma. In 1876-7 there was a notable and useful controversy between Bastian, on the one side, Tyndall and Pasteur on the other, the issue of which seemed to most experts to be that Bastian failed to make good his case for the present-day occurrence of spontaneous generation. The claims of professional work forced the heretic to renounce his investigations for about twenty years, but he has recently been able to return with unabated vigor to the study of both heterogenesis and abiogenesis. His "Studies in Heterogenesis" and his work on "The Nature

* 1 "The Evolution of Life." By Dr. H. Carlton Bastian F.R.S. Pp. xviii+ 319; with diagrams and many photomicrographs. (London: Methuen and Co., n.d.) Price 7s. 6d. net.

2" The Nature and Origin of Life in the Light of New Knowledge." By Prof. Felix Le Dantec. An introductory preface by Robert K. Duncan, author of "The New Know)edge." Pp. xvi + 250; 21 figures. (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1907.) Price 6s. net.

Dr. Bastian begins by indicating some of the objections to the term "spontaneous generation," which is almost as bad as "generatio equivoca"; he advocates the use of the word "archebiosis"-the past or present origination of living things from not-living material-and he contrasts it with "heterogenetic reproduction," which presupposes pre-existing organisms. In the first part of his book he points out that inorganic evolution (recently studied in ways not a little upsetting) has not stopped, and argues against the dogmatism of those who, while admitting that archebiosis probably occurred very long ago, refuse to discuss the possibility of its occurrence now. Because it has been shown that maggots are not really produced by the flesh in which they crawl, it does not follow that minute specks of living matter may not arise de novo in suitable not-living fluids, and to base the formula omne vivum ex vivo on the

"past experience of mankind" is ridiculously naïve. It has become the fashion to call "spontaneous generation" a "chimera," and the study of it a search for a mare's nest. But "neither Darwin, Huxley, nor Spencer ever undertook any experimental work on this subject themselves," and as for Tyndall and Pasteur, both were convinced beforehand. The whole story is gone over again (pp. 95-228) and it is (psychologically, at least) very instructive. Since 1878, Dr. Bastian had not, before the present work, published anything on the subject of archebiosis, save one chapter in his 1905 volume, and it is interesting to read his retrospect of a famous controversy and his undismayed conclusions in spite of all. "Mere observation," the author points out, "can never settle the question whether Archebiosis does or does not take place at the present day." In a fluid believed to be quite not-living, minute living creatures appear, but observation cannot decide whether they arise from invisible germs of pre-existing organisms or "whether they have come into being in the mother liquid as a result of life-giving synthetic processes." Therefore we must resort to experiment, and the fallacies to be guarded against are two. The heat employed in the sterilizing process must be adequate to kill all pre-existing living things within the experimental vessels, and there must be no subsequent contamination with atmospheric germs. Therefore Bastian heated his fluids to 115° C. or 130° C., and hermetically sealed the tubes. But these precautions involve disadvantages; the degrading effect of the initial purifying heat process may render the medium unfit for the occurrence of future processes that may lead to life-origination, and the glass of the hermetically sealed vessel in which the fluid is contained partially excludes actinic rays which might be

potential, or at least helpful, in bringing about the combinations in question. In spite of these disadvantages, Dr. Bastian found living creatures"Bacilli, Vibriones, Cocci, Streptococci, Torulæ, and other germs of Fungi”—in saline solutions within tubes that had been heated at 115° C. to 130° C. for from ten to twenty minutes, and the present subdirector of the Pasteur Institute has declared, in regard to spores of bacilli in all such fluids, that "a temperature of 115° C. sterilizes them completely and most rapidly." Some of the photomicrographic figures of "organisms" are not very like organisms at all, but others are. The alternative interpretations are (1) that Dr. Bastian's methods were not rigorous enough; (2) that the fatal temperature has been estimated at too low a figure; (3) that contamination occurred during the preparation of the photographed slides, or (4) that archebiosis actually takes place. Personally, we are not disposed to accept the last interpretation until every possibility of error has been excluded, and we are not convinced by Dr. Bastian's "final decisive experiments." We suspect that the sterilization was imperfect; we suspect that there were "germs"-where we have often seen them-on the slides and cover-slips; we suspect everything to a degree that Dr. Bastian--with a tolerant smile-would say outrages common sense. For we belong to the prejudiced, illogical, conservative sect of St. Thomas who doubt and doubt. The whole business is so analogous to belief in "spooks" that no amount of argument is of any use until we have seen for ourselves. Why, then, Dr. Bastian says, will you not experiment? And why will you not, in the name of St. Thomas, point out precisely where my experiments are fallacious? As to the first question, we think the answer is that we regard archebiosis as so great a miracle that we do not ex

pect to see it repeated. As to the second question, we do not know what to answer, unless it be that the sterilization was inadequate, or that the preparations were contaminated before the photographs were taken. At the same time, recent physiochemical discoveries centred around the fact of radioactivity warn us that dogmatism as to possibilities is far from being consistent with the truly scientific mood.


Harking back to heterogenesis, perhaps it may be useful to say that Dr. Bastian was good enough to show us the mummy of an Otostoma reposing within the egg-case of Hydatina. There can be no doubt about it. But what remains unproved is that the organization of a Hydatina ovum gives rise by heterogenesis to the organization of the infusorian Otostoma. suspected parasitism, and we watched many ova of Hydatina. But neither the expected nor the unexpected happened. On one occasion, however, Dr. John Rennie, lecturer on parasitology in the University of Aberdeen, an expert investigator who was good enough to assist in watching for the advent of Otostoma, observed two (not identified) infusorians moving inside the rotifer's egg, but he did not regard the phenomenon as a proof of heterogenesis.



matter of fact, the egg-envelope showed a small split, through which the infusorians soon passed out, doubtless following the path by which they formerly entered.

(2) Prof. Felix Le Dantec has entitled his book "The Nature and Origin of Life," but with a humor which we appreciate he has entirely shirked the question of origin, only referring to it in a casual, half-hearted sort of way on the last page, where he tells us that "the time will come when methodic analysis will allow of a reasoned synthesis" of protoplasm. It is problable that the solution will be found in the study of diastases.

When the effective synthesis is obtained, it will have no surprises in it-and it will be utterly useless. With the new knowledge acquired by science, the enlightened mind no longer needs to see the fabrication of protoplasm in order to be convinced of the absence of all essential difference and all absolute discontinuity between living and notliving matter.

Prof. Le Dantec's book-which discusses the nature of life-ranges over the whole field of biology from bacteria to the nervous system, from karyokinesis to mutations, from tropisms to natural selection, and he leaves one with the general impression that even "in the light of new knowledge" the riddle of "life" remains very obscure. In a popular elusive manner, with abundant concrete illustrations, the author seeks to show that the living creature is a mechanism and nothing more, and that "the study of life belongs to chemical physics." "A higher animal such as man is a mechanism of mechanisms of mechanisms." This rather cryptic conclusion is expanded into the statement that man is an anatomical mechanism of colloid mechanisms of chemical mechanisms. The wonder is that they all hold together. "More and more the living being appears to us a superposition of dead things." But it is a fell superposition. "A rat trap would be alive if, while exercising its normal function of loosing its spring, it should impress on its constitutent substances a chemical activity whose result would be a tension of the spring tighter than before." This seems to us rather a claptrap theory of life. We mean that the author gives the problem a false simplicity; he conveys the impression that we can readily give a mechanical re-description of the development, the growth, the reproduction, the behavior, the evolution-the life of living creatures. But he does not go thoroughly enough into any single instance to win

conviction, and he is continually retreating into the mystery of colloids. Some of his utterances strike us as rather intemperate, as when he tells us that "life is an aquatic phenomenon," or that "Life is only a surface accident in the history of the thermic evolution of the globe," or that "The fact of being conscious does not intervene in the slightest degree in directing vital movements." Yet when we were conscious of this sentence we turned back several pages and re-read the preface, where the editor takes an optimistic view of mechanistic theories.

The author has full faith in the theory of epiphenomenal consciousness; it is a negligible shadow. He prefers to keep to the purely objective, e.g. the mechanism of colloids and the polarities of the cell. He is very strong on bipolarity. "The living cell is bipolar apparatus, since it needs a cytoplasm and a nucleus." "In each bipolar element of protoplasm there is a male pole and a female pole." "Maturation is explained by the disappearance in cytoplasm and nucleus of all elements of the sex opposed to that of the mature element finally obtained." "Fecundation is the operation in which the spermatozooid, introduced by sexual attraction into the ovule, completes


by means of its male poles the female Loles of the ovule's elements, which are incomplete." "Assimilation is a bipolar phenomenon," and "alternating generation is also related with the bipolarity of the living elements." All this is "in the light of new knowledge," as is also the conclusion that "strictly speaking there is never any hereditary transmission except of acquired characters." The author corrects some of the errors of Claude Bernard, Darwin, and Weismann.

The book has been translated by Stoddard Dewey, and it is just possible that the original may have suffered a little. "If the hen fabricates the egg, the egg in its turn will fabricate the hen. We shall not therefore be astonished when we come to verify the marvellous phenomenon which governs the entire evolution of living beings: the heredity of acquired characters." "Lichens result from the association of seaweed and mushrooms." This lacks precision. "The embryology of an aninal reproduces its genealogy." This lacks elegance. Speaking of crabs and lobsters, he says, "All variation, all modification is limited in such animals to this phenomenon of moulting." This lacks clearness.

J. A. T.

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for wishing to look well there. I want where and it can't be done. I went


first to Ell's, then to Naval's, then to Mrs. Leonard Sprake to Mrs. Vincent

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Dearest Mildred,-I have been to all and not one has it. The nearest thing was at Licence's, but they had only a pattern. The material itself is out of stock and cannot be replaced. I even tried the wilds of Oxford Street, but all in vain too. You really must give up the idea of matching, or try silk. The great joke here is that at Lady Bassett's last week Canon Coss found a glass eye in the spinach. It turns out to have been the new cook's.

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Olly. (Telegram.)

Daw's no good. Do have silk.

Mrs. Vincent Olly to Mrs. Leonard Sprake. (Telegram.)

Silk useless. Try Orange's.

Mrs. Leonard Sprake to Mrs. Vincent Olly (with enclosure).

My Dear Mildred,-I tried Orange's without avail. I should have gone there sooner, but knew it would be useless. I now return the pattern with many regrets. I would have still made one or two other efforts, but I must go down to Chislehurst to-morrow to see mother, and after that it will be too late. I still think you would have been wiser to try some other material less difficult to match than velvet. Yours with regret,



Vincent Olly to Mrs. Leonard

Dear Vera.-I think you are very selfish and inconsiderate. Your visit to your mother cannot be so fearfully important, and I seem to remember other occasions when she had to stand over for lots of more attractive engagements. Still, you must, of course, do what you want to do. I am sending the pattern to Olive Shackle, who, in spite of her faults, is, at any rate, zealous and true.

Yours disappointedly and utterly tired out, M.

Miss Olive Shackle to Mrs. Vincent Olly.

My Sweet Mildred,-I am sending you the velvet by special messenger; which is a luxury to which I am sure you will not mind my treating myself. I got it at once at Ell's, from my own special counter-man there. He had put it on one side for another old customer, but made an exception for me. How I should love to see you in your beauti

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