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have been seen to rise to a great height, and then either to gravitating and compressive energy of the sun's globe subside slowly towards the region whence they have been regarded as a whole. It may serve to give an idea of ejected, or else to bend over like the curved jet of a foun- this energy to mention the following circumstance: If an tain, so descending until a complete arch of red matter has atmosphere constituted like ours surrounded the sun been formed.
(which, for the moment, we will regard as a cool body), Accordingly, we find that Zöllner, Respighi, Secchi, and this atmosphere, instead of doubling in density with about others who have studied the sun, have agreed in recogniz- 3} miles of descent, as happens with ours, would double ing the action of solar eruptive forces in the production of some twenty-seven times in that short distance, 80 that the jet-shaped prominences.
if at the sun's actual surface the pressure were the same But the most striking evidence of the energy of the sun's as that of the air at our sea-level, then at a depth of 31 eruptive forces was obtained by the astronomer to whom miles (and many of the sun's spots show a depth of two or the Bubble Theory of the Sun is due - Professor Young, three thousand miles) the pressure would be increased of Dartmouth College, Hanover, U. S. He was observing more than six million times, under which enormous action the edge of the sun in October, 1871, having his telescope the air would beyond question be solidified. If we could (armed with a powerful spectroscope) directed upon a suppose that the air were not solidified, then we should long, low-lying band of solar clouds. We say low-lying, have to assume that it became compressed to a density but in point of fact the upper side of the cloud-layer was exceeding that of our air more than six million tiines — fully fifty thousand miles above the sun's surface, the that is, exceeding the density of platinum about four hunlower side being not less than twenty thousand miles dred times. above that surface. The cloud-layer was about 400,000 Now the actual density of the sun is but about one fourth miles in length. Professor Young was called away from the density of the earth, and is very little greater than the his telescopic work for half an hour at a somewhat inter- density of water. Remembering that at the sun's treesting epoch, for he had noticed that a bright rounded mendous heat vapors and gases could remain as such at a cloud was rapidly forming beneath the larger and quieter pressure very far exceeding that to which we can subject cloud-layer. In less than half an hour be returned, how- any gas, and probably when so compressed as to exceed ever; and then, to his amazement, be found that the great water in density, it is clear that we must regard the sun cloud had been literally scattered into fragments by an as in the main a gaseous body. It cannot possibly have a explosion from beneath. The small rounded cloud had large solid or liquid nucleus, whatever opinion we may changed in shape, as if the explosion had taken place form as to its having a solid or liquid crust; for if it had through it, and all that remained of the large cloud was a such a nucleus, it would be a much more massive body stream of ascending fragments, averaging about three than we know it to be. As we see, moreover, that it must thousand miles in length and about three hundred in have a solid or liquid crust, we may fairly dismiss the idea breadth. Professor Young watched the ascent of these that it has any solid or liquid nucleus at all. fragments (each of which, be it noted, had a surface But there is a great difficulty in understanding how a largely exceeding that of the British Isles), and he found globe like the sun, not only glowing throughout with the that before vanishing (as by cooling) they reached a height intensity of its inherent heat, but also manifestly the scene of about 210,000 miles. Moreover, he timed their ascent, of treinendous processes of internal disturbance, can have and from his time-measurements the present writer was a crust in the ordinary acceptance of the term) encircling able to demonstrate the surprising fact that the outrusbing its vaporous interior. The phenomena presented by the matter by which the great cloud had been rent to shreds spots show us that the forces' acting from within are commust have crossed the sun's surface at a rate of at least petent to burst their way through any existing solar crust; five hundred miles second]
and any ordinary crust would be reduced to fragments Now, no explosion can occur where there has been no under the action of such forces. Moreover, it is not easy repression. When a volcano, for example, gives vent to to see how a crust thus readily rent asunder and tossed some great eruption, the energy of the eruption is due to on one side could act the part which the solar enclosing and corresponds with the extent of the repression which shell or skin certainly does perform, let its nature be what had been exerted on the imprisoned gases up to the mo- it may. The exceeding definiteness of direction recogment of eruption. When a bullet is fired from a gun, the nized in the jets we have spoken of above is sufficient to velocity of its flight depends on the completeness with show that the crust bears sway, so to speak, over the inwhich before and during the passage of the bullet along ternal gaseous nucleus, and that the gases forming this the barrel, the escape of the gases resulting from the firing nucleus, though they escape, yet owe the energy of their of the gunpowder has been prevented. And although a outrush to the action of the enclosing shell. quantity of loose gunpowder can, in a sense, explode in The theory advanced by Professor Young seems exactly the open air, yet not only are the effects of explosion al- suited to meet the difficulties here indicated, and to account together less marked than where the exploding matter for those more prominent solar phenomena with which has been confined, but the explosion takes place in no alone, at present, astronomers can hope to deal successfully. definite direction, but all around the place where fire had He considers that the sun has no permanent crust, nor in been applied. In order that matter may be propelled fact any envelope which can in the ordinary sense of the along some particular path there must, before explosion term bé regarded as a crust at all. But inasmuch as the takes place, be an enclosing substance of some sort, the vaporous globe of the sun is in the presence of what Sir yielding of which at a particular point determines the John Herschel has called “ the cold of space," a process direction in which the outrushing matter proceeds.
necessarily takes place over its whole outer surface correAccordingly, both Zöllner and Respighi, in adopting sponding to the formation of clouds in our skies, when the the general theory that the jet prominences are phenom- vapor of water has risen to such a height as to be conena of eruption, although they beld different opinions as densed into the form of visible cloud. The vapors of the to the cause of eruption, agreed in maintaining that the sun's globe consist in the main, we know, of the metallic eleruptions must take place through some substance forming ements, and these meta vapors would condense into a sort of solar crust. Zöllner held that the eruptions are clouds composed of minute globules (or perhaps vesicles) akin to terrestrial volcanic outbursts, Respighi considered of fluid metal. But such clouds would not usually remain that some kind of electrical action was in question ; but in the simple cloud-form. They would be continually neither astronomer doubted that the eruptions sprung gathering with a rapidity of formation incomparably exfrom beneath a compact solid or liquid surface.
ceeding that which we recognize in our summer clouds, But there is one great difficulty in the assumption that even when a great storm is approaching. They would be. the sun has a solid or liquid nucleus. The sun is a body come rain-clouds, the rain falling from them consisting whose density is very small by comparison with the earth's
, simply of molten metals. More and more heavy would this and still more by comparison with the density we should metallic rain become as it descended, even as our own rains be led to expect from the consideration of the enormous are heavier at low levels than at considerable heights.
Quite low down, and when approaching the region where bright outer layer of clouds, from which metallic rains are the intense beat of the sun's interior would revaporize them, falling. The edge of the clouds would then define the outthe metallic rains would descend in perfect sheets, forming side of the spot's fringe like border, while the lower limits a nearly continuous liquid envelope.
of the shower would define the inside. It is true that this It will be well, however, to give Professor Young's own explanation assumes that the lower limits of the showers account of the theory, not only because it is always desira. falling all round a spot lie closer than the upper ; but this ble in presenting views of the kind to avoid the risk of would naturally happen if, as is suggested by many circumfalse interpretation, but because in the present instance the stances, a spot is a scene where there is cyclonic downsubject is one of so stupendous a nature, and surrounded rush of matter from without; for the whirling vapors would by such great difficulty, that the reader will do well to ex- sway the upper parts of the downfalling streams more amine the new theory in more than one aspect : “ The effectively than the lower parts, which parts would thereeruptions which are all the time occurring on the sun's sur- fore tend inwards towards the spot's central region. face,” says Professor Young, “ almost compel the supposi- It will probably occur to the reader that if heavy solar tion that there is a crust of some kind which restrains the showers fell in this particular way, then, unless the showimprisoned gases and through which they force their way ers were perfectly continuous (a most improbable continwith great violence. This crust may consist of a more or gency) the edges of the shower regions thus brought into less continuous sheet of rain, not of water, of course, but of view should show streaks radiating from the direction of materials whose vapors are shown by means of the spectro- the spot's centre. To explain our meaning more clearly, scope to exist in the solar atmosphere, and whose conden- suppose a large region of the earth to be covered by rain. sation and combinations are supposed to furnish the solar clouds from which showers are falling ; then suppose a heat. The continuous outflow of the solar heat is equiva- circular part of the cloud-covering removed, and that the lent to the supply that would be developed by the conden- rain falling all around this circular space slopes inward sation from steam to water of a layer about five feet thick, towards the middle of the space; now suppose à balloonist over the whole surface of the sun, per minute. As this tre- to ascend from the middle of the circular space until be mendous rain descends, the velocity of the falling drops is high above the level of the cloud-layer; then he would be retarded by the resistance of the denser gases would see below him a great opening in the cloud-layer underneath, the drops would coalesce until continuous (white in the sunlight, which would be shining on its outsheets would be formed, and the sheets would unite and side), and he would see all round the opening and within form a sort of bottomless ocean resting upon the compressed it the streams of falling rain, forming, as it were, a fringe vapors beneath, and pierced by innumerable ascending jets within the circular gap; and it is manifest that this fringe and bubbles. It would have nearly a constant depth in would show streaks in the direction of the falling rain thickness, because it would revaporate at the bottom nearly streams, that direction as seen by the balloonist appearing as fast as it would grow by the descending rains above, to be radial with respect to the circular openings. Now it though probably the thickness of this sheet would continue has long been noted as one of the most remarkable features ally increase at some slow rate, and its whole diameter of the solar spots that their penumbral fringes are streaked diminish. In other words, the sun, according to this view, precisely in this manner. is a gigantic bubble whose walls are gradually thickening But again, it will be seen that if falling solar showers and its diameter diminishing at a rate determined by its were thus thrust outwards at their upper edges, then — loss of heat. It differs, however, from ordinary bubbles in since lines drawn towards a centre lie closer as the centre the fact that its skin is constantly penetrated by blasts is approached - the penumbra of a spot ought to be brighter and jets from within."
at its inner edge than at its outer. The difference would Professor Young proceeds to remark that “the hypoth. be rendered all the more remarkable because the showers esis leaves the question of the solar spots untouched, but is would grow heavier as they descended, according to the consistent with either of those most in vogue at present.” law observed in our rain-showers. Now here, again, it is Here, however, we have to note an interesting circumstance a noteworthy circumstance that long before the bubble tending to show that Professor Young's theory is one which theory of the sun had been invented, astronomers bad accords better than any other with the phenomena pre- recognized the fact that the penumbral fringe of a spot sented by the surface of the sun. Unknown to Professor is markedly darker on the outside than on the inside. Young 1 a theory not unlike his was suggested four or five | The observation has been made in such a way as to preyears ago by Mr. Stoney, F. R. S., especially to explain clude the possibility that contrast alone would account the features presented by the solar spots. After carefully for the phenomenon. Thus a second and most remarkexamining the evidence, Stoney was led to the conclusion able feature of sun-spots finds its explanation in the new that the brightest parts of the sun (the bright granules) are theory. We venture, indeed, to say with some confidence regions where there are solar clouds and solar showers, the that the appearance in question suffices to throw serious less bright parts — on which the granules are seen as on a doubts upon all other theories which have hitherto been background - are regions where there are clouds but no propounded in explanation of sun-spot phenomena. We showers, and the penumbral parts of the spots are regions do not say that the bubble theory can be regarded as dewhere there are showers without cloud, that is, where we monstrated on the strength of this simple fact; but we are looking at the edge of a shower.
do assert that no theory hitherto put forward has given In fact, if we consider those features of the solar heat / any account whatever of the peculiarity in question. which have been regarded as most characteristic as well as Ít is manifest, however, that Professor Young's theory most difficult to explain, we shall find reason for consider- gives no explanation of the origin of sun-spots, nor does ing Professor Young's theory as affording a very satisfac- the theory throw any light whatever on that perplexing tory explanation of the observed appearances. "It has als subject. Nevertheless, it is impossible to consider the ways been regarded as a very remarkable circumstance that condition of the sun, as presented by the startling theory the outlines of sun-spots are well defined not only on the before us, without being led to reexamine the questions inside, where the dark central part of the spot is, but also suggested by what we have learned respecting sun-spots. on the outside, where the spot adjoins on the bright surface We see confirmed by the theory the view to which asof the sun. But this peculiarity is explained at once, if we tronomers had for some time been led, that spots are proregard the solar shell-envelope as consisting of a very duced by action exerted from without.
We perceive 1 Professor Young communicated to the writer a sketch of his theory sev
reasons for believing that this action is one of great energy, eral weeks before he published it, inviting comments and askin, particularly its energy being probably in the main dynamical. It is whether any similar theory had been previously enunciatd.
true that the darkness of a spot must be explained by ure of engagements prevented the writer from replying at the time to this letter, otherwise the published statement of the theory would have con- physical considerations depending on the laws of heat and tained reference to the facts mentioned in what follows. In any cure, how light, and that chemical relations must be taken into acever, it is manifest that the views of Professor Young and of Mr. Stoney are independent of each other, being devised in explanation of two wholly dis
count in dealing with the subject. But we seem to tinct sets of circumstances.
recognize clear evidence of the actual thrusting on one
A great press
side of solar clouds with their down-pour of metallic rain, to the level of the sun's equator, according with the correwhere spots are formed. Apart from the considerations sponding slant in the case of lines drawn from the spot-zones relating to the penumbral fringe of a spot, there is a mani- to the centre of the sun's globe. Such a tendency has been fest heaping up of the solar cloud-layers all round a spot, discovered, though the assigned slant of the cometic orbits where the bright and elevated regions called faculæ are is somewhat greater than the theory requires. Let us be seen. Besides, many spots indicate by their shape and permitted to quote, notwithstanding the technicality of its changes of shape the action of most energetic forces, terms, a passage from Dunkin's excellent Appendix to breaking up and thrusting apart, as it were, the masses of Lardner's “ Astronomy," in which this relation is stated : clouds wbich form the light giving surface of the sun. “ There are evident indications of a tendency of the planes
Now the various theories, which have been formed to of the cometary orbits to collect around a plane whose inaccount for the periodic recurrence of spot-frequency, clination to the plane of the ecliptic is forty-five degrees ; have been based on influences supposed to be exerted in or if a cone be imagined to be formed, having a semi-angle some mysterious manner by the planets. In particular, of forty-five degrees, and its axis at right angles to the Jupiter has been held responsible for the great spot- plane of the ecliptic, the planes of the cometary orbits beperiod of about eleven years. Jupiter's period of revo- tray a tendency to take the position of tangent-planes to lution around the sun being about eleven years and the surface of such a cone." We beg those of our readers ten inonths, it has been inferred that he regulates this who eschew cones, semi-angles, and tangent-planes, to trust period of spot-frequency; and a comparison has been made in our assurance that the sentence just quoted bears the between bis supposed action in this respect and the appar- meaning we have assigned to it. So far, then, the observed ent connection existing between our moon's motions and relations among cometic orbits seem to accord with the the recurrence of terrestrial volcanic action. It is mani- idea that the meteoric stragglers following on the track of fest that the explanation (if such it can be called) thus comets may be in some way the cause of solar spots. indicated would correspond with a theory presenting sun- But we might also expect, if this theory were the true spots as caused by solar forces acting from within outwards, one, that some great comet which had approached the sun but would by no means accord with a theory indicating as very nearly would give evidence in favor of the theory. the source 1 of solar spots an action exerted from without For we could hardly but suppose that such a comet would the solar orb. Moreover, we cannot readily overlook the be followed by very large meteoric attendants, and we might circumstance that the eleven-year spot-period does not expect to find some one or other of these not passing like accord exactly with Jupiter's period of revolution. In the parent comnet quite clear of the sun, and accordingly consequence of this want of agreement, we have not to go occasioning (if the theory be true) a great spot. Such ev. far back to find periods when spots have been very idence would be particularly striking if it occurred at a numerous, corresponding with the time when Jupiter has time almost midway between two epochs when spots had been at his nearest to the sun, farthest from the sun, and been very numerous. Now, a comet once appeared which at his mean distance. This appears to render altogether made a singularly near approach to the sun's surface. untenable the theory that there is any connection whatever This was the comet of 1843, which Sir John Herschel thus between Jupiter's distance from the sun and the appear-graphically describes : “Many, I dare say, remember its ance of spots upon the sun's surface. And if we give up immense tail, which stretched half-way across the sky after the theory that Jupiter influences the sun in this manner, sunset in March of that year. But its head, as we here it seems impossible to believe in planetary influence at all. saw it, was not worthy of such a tail. Farther south, howSo that we may regard ourselves as free to search for ever, it was seen in great splendor. I possess a picture by other causes, and especially for the possible existence of Professor Piazzi Smyth, Astronomer-Royal of Scotland, of matter reaching the sun from time to time from without, its appearance at the Cape of Good Hope, which repreand so producing those openings.
sents it with an immensely long, brilliant, but very slender Thus viewing the matter, one might be led to suspect and forked tail. Of all the comets on record, that ap. the existence of some as yet undetected comet with its proached nearest the sun. Indeed, it was at first supposed train of exceptionally large meteoric masses, travelling in ihat it had actually grazed the sun's surface, but it proved a period of about eleven years around the sun, and having to have just missed by an interval of pot more than 80,000 its place of nearest approach to that orb so close to the miles, about a third of the distance of the moon from the solar surface that when the main flight is passing the strag- earth, which (in such a matter) is a very close shave inglers fall upon the sun's surface. But then there is this deed to get clear off. There seems very considerable readilliculty, that the spots appear always on two zones of the son to believe that this comet has figured as a great comet sun's surface, corresponding in a general sense to the tem- on many occasions in history; and especially in the year perate zones on the surface of the earth, and though it 1668, when just such a comet, with the same remarkable would be easy to account for one such zone by the sug. peculiarity, of a comparatively feeble head and an immense gested comet theory, the existence of two is not so readily train, was seen at the same season of the year, and in the accounted for.
very same situation among the stars. Thirty-five years has And yet though no single comet can be accepted in ex- been assigned with considerable probability as its period planation of the observed facts, there are some circum- of return, but it cannot be regarded as quite certain." Biances which, so soon as the general idea of cometic influ. Now, this remarkable comet having passed thus close to ence has been mooted, attract our attention as favoring the sun, in the year 1843, which was very nearly the time that theory. For example, if we ascribed the sun's spots of fewest spots, afforded precisely such an opportunity for to conets, we should require that many comets should testing the comet theory of sun-spots as we have indicated have paths carrying them very close to the sun's surface ; above. This would be a time when we should expect no and though few such comets have been detected, yet the large spot to make its appearance, for it has been observed laws observed in the patbs of discovered comets indicate that the larger spots occur at or near the time when spots that if we only had an equal chance of detecting comets
But Professor Kirkwood (of Bloomwhich passed' very near to the sun, they would be found to ington, Indiana, U. S.) has called attention to the fact be very numerous indeed. It has been shown that, if a that “one of the largest and most remarkable spots ever model of the solar system were constructed and a material seen on the sun's disk appeared in June, 1843, and continparticle were set to indicate that point of each cometic path ued visible to the naked eye for seven or eight days. The wbich lies nearest to the sun, the density with which such diameter of this spot was, according to Schwabe, 74,000 particles would be aggregated would be found to increase miles, so that its area was many times greater than that of rapidly in approaching the sun.
Again, since there are two zones of sun-spots, we should 2 This will be manifest from the following numbers, indicating how many expect to find the cometic paths showing an average slant
are most numerous.
new spots wore observed in the years between 1836 and 1819: In 1886,
272; in 1837, 333; in 1838, 282; in 1839, 162: in 1849, 152; in 1841, 102, 1 We emphasize the word "source," because whatever opinion may be in 1842, 68: in 1943, 31; in 1841, 52; in 1845, 114; in 1846, 157: in 1847, formed as to the origin of sun-spots, no doubts can be entertained respect- 257 ; in 1848, 33); and in 1849, 239. ing the action of explcsive solar forces.
years of greatest spot-frequency, while 1843 was a year of leust spot-frequency.
We thus see that 1837 and 1849 wen
the earth's surface." “ It would seem," he proceeds, com- be familiar with ; when we see how the tremendous menting on the facts mentioned above, “that the formation attractive energies of the sun, by which the great gaseoof this extraordinary spot was an anomaly, and that its liquid mass which sways our system is compressed towards origin ought not to be looked for in the general cause of the its centre, contend continually with mighty expulsive spots of Schwabe's cycle.” He then describes, as having a forces by which vast masses of matter are visibly projected possible bearing on the question, the wonderful phenome from the sun, and with still mightier repulsive forces, non observed simultaneously by Carrington at Redbill and whose action we see in the phenomena of comets; when Hodgson at Highgate, in 1859, when two intensely lumi- again we consider that all the elements we know, probably, nous bodies seemed to burst into view on the sun's surface, exist in the sun in quantities such as we can form no conwhich moved side by side for about 35,000 miles in five ception of, and in forms with which we are unfamiliar, it minutes, first increasing, then diminishing in brightness, is mere folly to insist on adopting definite theories respectthen fading away." The opinion has been expressed by ing the sun's condition. Let us remember that in all more than one astronomer," he proceeds, “that this phe- probability we see in the sun a state of things partially. nomenon was produced by the fall of meteoric matter upon resembling what existed in our own earth countless ages the sun's surface. Now the fact may be worthy of note before the changes began which our geologists find so that the comet of 1843 actually grazed the sun's atmosphere difficult to interpret; and seeing thus that we have a state about three months before the appearance of the great sun- of tbings removed from us in this sense by a practical spot of the same year. . Had it approached but little nearer infinity of time, existing on a globe too remote in space to the resistance of the atmosphere would probably have be studied by any really satisfactory methods of research, brought its entire mass to the solar surface. Even at its and presenting only its glowing surface for our examinaactual distance it must have produced considerable atmos- tion ; seeing also that although some of the forces at work pheric disturbance. But the recent discovery that a num- there are nominally those whose action we are acquainted ber of comets are associated with meteoric matter, travelling with, yet even these act on a scale which must render in nearly the same orbits, suggests the inquiry whether an their operation as utterly unlike that of the same forces on enormous meteorite following in the comet's train, and earth as though they were forces of a totally different having a somewhat less perihelion distance, may not have nature; while, lastly, we cannot doubt that forces utterly been precipitated upon the sun, thus producing the great unknown to us are at work in the sun, we may well look disturbance observed so shortly after the comet's perihelion doubtingly on the easy and simple (but contradictory) passage.”
theories of the sun which are from time to time presented We will not further pursue this theme, however, inter-by students of science in this country and abroad. After esting though the considerations it suggests may be. We many years of patient labor, we shall begin to comprehend have, indeed, been led somewhat far away from the bubble more clearly than at present how utterly incomprehensible theory of the sun with which we began. But after all, in is the great centre of our system ; for though many diffithe present state of our knowledge of the great central culties which now perplex us may then have been removed, luminary of the system, we can hardly be too ready, on each difficulty mastered will be found to have introduced the one band, to look around for all side lights which may others greater than itself. perchance help us to see our way towards the truth, or too watchful, on the other hand, lest we be led astray. So that we need offer no excuse for directing attention to the association which may possibly exist between solar and
NOVEL-READING. cometic phenomena, though we must at the same time caution the reader against the supposition that such an The question, What kind of literature is most read ? is association can be regarded as in any sense demonstrated. ofte made a theme for social homilies. It may be not
It cannot, indeed, be too often insisted upon that in dis- less profitable to put the question for once in the converse cussing so stupendous an object as our sun, the scene of form. And to this we answer without hesitation, that no processes so marvellous, and the centre of activities so class of books is so little read in the present age and countremendous, we must not expect to find simple theories of try as novels. This seems a surprising statement, but it its constitution, or of the changes which it is undergoing. shall be justified. We do not say that novels are not as It is altogether a mistake for the students of astronomy to much taken up and looked at as other books. The thing range themselves on this side or on that, when diverse to be settled is, What is meant by reading ? Now we do solar theories are advanced, as though necessarily the not call it reading a book to glance over two or three truth must lie on one side or the other. Whether the sun- pages anywhere near the beginning, two or three pages spots are phenomena of indraught or of outrush; whether anywhere near the end, and perhaps one or two in the the corona is due to expulsive forces, to perpetual solar middle. This is a process not without its uses for several auroras, or to meteoric systems in the sun's neighborhood; purposes, which it would be needless and perhaps invidi. whether the sun's photosphere is solid, liquid, or gaseous ; ous to enumerate, but it is not reading. Again, we do whether his heat is due to meteoric down.pour, to the not include taking up a book for ten minutes and laying it gradual contraction of his globe, or to chemical changes : down again, and so on at irregular intervals for ten minthese and a hundred other such questions may be made utes or a quarter of an hour at a time, till one has nibbled the subject of endless controversy, simply because the a way through the volume from title to colophon. This truth does not lie altogether on one side. Such contro- is reading every part of the book, but not reading the versy cannot but be useless in the present state of our whole book. It is a partial substitute with which we knowledge. It does, indeed, occasionally happen, even in sometimes have to put up for want of opportunity to take dealing with solar phenomena, that a decision can be in the whole, but let us not fancy that it is the same thing. pronounced decisively between contested theories, so soon Neither do we allow that it is properly to be called readas certain considerations have been fully taken into ac- ing when we rock ourselves as it were to a sweet intellectcount. A noteworthy instance was afforded by the long- ual slumber over a novel, being in the lazy mood which continued discussion whether the corona is a solar append- desires repose rather than active enjoyment, and not graspage: a question which really admitted of being answered ing definite conceptions, but letting a series of pictures definitely on the strength of a few not very recondite float before us. This is an excellent way of taking pleasmathematical considerations, long before eclipse photog- | ure in a book which one knows already; and there are raphy disposed of it. But such cases are the exception, some works of fiction — notably Mr. Morris's tales in verse, not ihe rule. Now that we know how exceedingly com- which, as he himself says, live and move in an atmosphere plicated is the structure of the sun; that processes are betwixt waking and sleeping — which are more enjoyable taking place within his globe which are not merely won- in the mellowed and dreamy twilight of these after-meditaderful in their extent and variety, but are probably for tions than in the vivid apprehension of their novelty. But the most part quite unlike any that we are or can ever such later delights presuppose a former wakeful reading ;
and this perhaps is a good æsthetic reason for the publish-read right through in the course of a single journey, or at ing season being what it is, inasmuch as a romance or any rate a single excursion. Very few English novels are poem brought out in November is about ripe for dreaming short enough to begin and finish with complete satisfaction over when the summer holidays come round. However, in this way, at least in their own country. On the Contiit is plain that all this has nothing to do with the first and nent, the more sedate pace of railway travelling and the true reading, except that it must come after it.
more convenient shape of Tauchnitz reprints make the case The conditions necessary for the full and sufficient en- somewhat different. A German, more especially a South joyment of a novel or other playbook (to use an expres- German, train and a Tauchnitz volume of English wit sive school term covering every book read without any or wisdom do indeed match one another with a fitness of purpose of instruction) are such as unhappily do not come mutual complement which may seem fore-ordained, and together as often as might be wished. One or two are at whereupon a pbilosopher might not unjustly fall to musing once seen to be indispensable, and it is equally obvious on the intricate ways of the universe, and the subtle mani. that they are beyond control ; such as being in the gen- festations of final causes. eral frame of mind proper for novel-reading, and then It will be seen that we confine our observations to travfinding the particular novel suited to one's particular elling on land. A real sea voyage is a world of itself, into frame of mind. But the most important is to have noth- which we cannot now permit ourselves to wander. For the ing else to do. It is impossible to give one's self up to petty Channel and North Sea passages incident to Contithe influence of a great writer, or to keep one's self in the Dental touring, there is nothing to be said but that a pasattitude of sympathy and moral correspondence which he senger must be either upon deck or below deck. Upon has a right to expect from his readers, if serious conflict- deck it is impossible to help looking about one; and as for ing claims are present, or even expected. And freedom reading a book below, we forbear to pursue a suggestion from interruption is necessary, not only for the purpose of which may be listened to when the Bessemer or Dicey ensuring the due quality of the artistic impression at any scheme is perfected, but which for the present can only moment, but for preserving a continuous order of all the call up a ghastly smile. Another excellent kind of opporimpressions which in the result are to build up a harmo- tunity for novel-reading in the true and artistic manner, nious ideal whole. This practically means that one ought perhaps in itself better than the last, but not so much withto have a clear day at least to give to a novel, in order to in the general experience of mankind, is afforded by the read it to the best advantage; for certainly there are very intervals of walking expeditions. Days of rest provided for few good novels which can be fairly read through at the by the traveller's design, or enforced by bad weather, must ordinary pace of an educated reader in any shorter time. sometimes fall on small inns bare of resources. Yet even
Now there is an occasion which does present itself to in these one may find a happy godsend. In a little hostelry most persons of the literary class a certain number of times recently opened in an Alpine valley there has within our in every year, on which a novel may be read continuously knowledge occurred a strange deposit left by some good through the greater part of the day with a reasonable as- Englisbman unknown - nothing less than an odd half surance of there being nothing else to do. This is a long volume of Kinglake's “Invasion of the Crimea," which, railway journey, on which, barring accidents, there is gen. having read, he must have left behind him to economize erally an abundance of spare time, and also an absence of weight. But oftener tban not the Alpine climber can manany strong outward excitement. The first condition gives age to dispose his times and distances so as to spend the the opportunity, the second favors the disposition, for novel- idle day or day and a half between one march and another reading. And thus the practice of reading a novel in the at one of the comparatively populous mountain resorts. train is to be not only explained but justified. The reason And though he has taken no thought, and perhaps has no for it is deeper than mere vacancy or craving for amuse- spare room, for any provision of literature, he may reap the ment. It is not simply that a traveller wants something to fruits of a laudable custom by which the more prudent, who do; it is that he has a singularly good occasion for doing a bring up books from the cities of men, piously leave them particular thing which cannot always be done, but which, to benefit those who come after.
novel cannot be more when it can be done, is exceedingly pleasant. We can re worthily read than at such a time and place. The wholecall sundry railway journeys which would in themselves some bodily indolence of well-earned repose, already temhave brought no gifts but a dreary resignation to the ne- pered with bracing anticipations of new delight in action; cessities of time and space, but whose hours were so trans- the even balance of a mind unstrung from cares, and figured by a volume of George Sand that there are few opened to fuller knowledge of all beautiful things by its others in our memory for which we would willingly ex- fresh communion with nature; the splendor of the Alpine change them. It is true that the doctors say reading in a sky, and the clear, purifying breath of the glaciers — with train is bad for the eyes. And so it is, no doubt, beyond a these accompaniments how should one fail to enjoy the certain point, just as going in a train at all may be very power and skill of an admired author with a more lively bad for the whole body if it is made a fixed babit. It is by apprehension, a more true and abiding emotion, than fall this time common knowledge that a man may seriously in- to the lot of moments hastily spatched and confusedly jure bis health, and even induce special forms of disease, pieced together from amidst the monotonous bustle of every by travelling every day up and down such a distance as day life ? This is a virtue of travel in grand and inspiritthat between London and Brighton. But the same amount ing scenery which is not sufficiently recognized. Our adof railway travelling once a month will do him no harm; miration is so occupied with the wholly new objects put and we venture to think that a corresponding amount of before us, that we hardly take note of the subtle power of reading in the train will leave any sound pair of eves prac- such an environment to exalt all the ordinary faculties and tically unbarmed too. It is not suggested, indeed, that one occupations we bring with us, which at home seem comshould attempt to read bad print in a shaky carriage. This monplace. is one reason why we mentioned George Sand's works in In this attempt to arrive at the true principles of novelparticular as railway-books. French novels are printed in reading we have adhered to a rather severely artistic way better and larger type than the editions of English ones of looking at the question, which may possibly be considproduced at anything like a similar price, and the light flex- ered impracticable ; and there are certain necessary. ex. ible volume in its paper cover is easily balanced in the hand ceptions to be made. These are of two opposite kinds. and accommodated to the changes of motion so as to neutral- For some books are too great, and many too small, to come ize, in part at least, the alleged ill effects on the eyesight. within the description of novels as we understand the term. Another advantage of a book in this form is that it is good On the one band, such a work as “ Les Misérables," or enough to be worth keeping (which English railway edi. “ Middlemarch,” to take two instances in extremely different tions generally are not), and yet not so good that one need styles, cannot possibly be read with the same fluency as a be afraid of squeezing it into a hand-bag or a pocket in book which consists entirely or chiefly of story. Generally company with odds and ends. Another and a crowning the book exists for the sake of the story; but here the remerit is that it is generally in one volume, and so can be lation is reversed, and the story exists for the sake of some