Chambers Journa


|LD lamps for new!’ cried Aladdin through the streets of Bagdad, and from all sides came careful housewives with lamps—good, bad, and indifferent—happy to give them in exchange for the untried new. They were eager to drive such a bargain, and derided the fool who offered them new wares for old; but, reading further in the story, we discover who was really the fool, and laugh at him for being so easily persuaded to part with the priceless treasure of the wonderful lamp.

The wily Oriental understood human nature ; he knew that the ordinary individual cannot resist what is new, up to date, the latest mode. It was so in ancient Bagdad, and it is so in our modern world, The craze for novelties keeps trade going, and fills shop windows with useless, badly-made rubbish, priced at elevenpence three- farthings. Where would Fashion hide her head if Society refused to buy what is new, even when startlingly ugly ; wearing it till the next novelty appears, then casting it aside? Even the gardener cannot be contented with the flowers as Nature provides them, but must needs labour to give us blue roses and green carnations.

It is true there are among us some who remain faithful to the old, and others who are ready to believe that what is proved and tried is best worth having. But we are apt to jeer at them because they continue to wear the worn old coat that clings comfortably to every curve of their figure, and know the value of old shoes moulded by age and use to fit the foot. Such a man fully appreciates the civilisation of an Eastern city, where it is possible to buy in the bazaars shoes made easy by wear, for a larger price than those that have yet to be walked into supple comfort. Here also for a small sum a slave can be hired to take the shine off your red-leather slippers and the stiffness out of your embroidered and tinsel- bedecked evening pumps. Ah! that is a land where one learns to look upon the neat, the highly- polished, the well-brushed garment as the vulgar trapping of tourists who come and stare with

No. 109.—Vo.. III.

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vacant eyes on the beautiful past, and criticise with laughter a civilisation that has long outgrown the stirring activity and fussy self-consciousness of middle-life; having settled into the venerable composure and wise restraint of mature age, and being content to enjoy life as it is, without striving to keep up appearances and live up to date. After all, we know—even the most modern of

us—that the best things are improved with keeping, such as old homes, old wines, and old friends. Our Yankee cousins and our brothers from Australia boast of new lands and new laws; but each one of them is silenced when he stands on the turf that owes its beauty to centuries of still growth, and looks up to the carved stonework,

When buttress and buttress, alternately,

Seem framed of ebon and ivory ;

When silver edges the imagery

And the scrolls that teach us to live and die; and hears through the ever-open door prayers, hallowed by the joys and sorrows of generations of worshippers, offered up before venerable altars.

Strange it is to find a continual struggle to

procure the very newest, the gaudily glittering, the still unproved, in that market-place where are bought and sold the lamps that enlighten the mind, and that have the magic power of throwing a bright radiance on the very dreariest of lives. Spend but half-an-hour in a popular lending library, and watch the customers coming in laden with armfuls of books to be exchanged for others; they have in all likelihood been taken out the day before—indeed, it is necessary to frame a bylaw preventing any book being exchanged on the day it has been taken out; they have been skimmed through and forgotten, or the remem- brance of them remains in that part of the brain provided for stowing away rubbish. If in the con- tinuous stream of men and women there is one who asks for an old book the librarian is positively startled. ‘May I ask you to repeat the name?’ he says politely, to allow himself time to recover from his surprise. ‘Yes, it is sure to be in. Kindly wait until I find it’ Then, with the help of a long ladder, he fetches it from some high shelf ; DEc. 30, 1899.



or, lighting a lantern, he gropes in the cellar until he discovers it, dusty, tattered, and smelling of age. And he who had the wit to ask for it carries it home full of triumph. He keeps it to read when the work of the day is done, when all disturbing people are safely to bed; and through the quiet hours he reads and ponders over it, and re-reads it, and sets forth to find another of its kind.

One hears for ever the complaint that it is impossible to find a book fit to read; that new ones are hard to get hold of, and libraries and librarians are blamed and pronounced to be out of date and behind the times. All the while, silently waiting in patient rows, in the very rooms we live in, stand the great masterpieces of our literature. Since our childhood we have been familiar with their solemn appearance, but we have never thought of peeping between their boards, And so we eagerly struggle to get the last new book, say of travel, Sitting in comfort, well fed and well warmed, it is pleasant to read of a man calculating, in the snows of Siberia, if his tinned soup will last out the journey he has mapped out, or if it will fail, obliging him to turn back. The style is simple and may be read without effort; the pages are enlivened by snap- shots of queer people. We wonder a little why our hero faces such discomfort, and have a sus- picion that he writes artfully to give us the full measure of sensation for the money. Yet we read book after book of the same sort, and are ever on the lookout for still more sensational ones by the same author. But take down from the top shelf that dingy old volume and read of the travellers of old; not tourists or newspaper- paid explorers, with kodaks and patent food done up in small compass, the strength of one ox in a single pint-pot, but of those who set forth in tiny ships with scant provisions, unaided by science, trusting in God alone. In the midst of the tempest they cry out that they know not fear, for they are nearer to God on sea than on land. It is the best of reading, wholesome and bracing as the lives of the men whose adventures are told.

What is more stirring than the story of Columbus setting forth to discover a new world, as we may read it in the pages of Washington Irving? We

follow him through years of hardship, when he seems but a madman with one idea. When Queen Isabella deigns to listen to his story and aid him we have some faith in his enterprise ; we rejoice with him when, after overcoming many difficulties, he at last gets together ships, stores, and crews. But, with his men, our hearts fail us when day after day we drift in empty seas; starvation or drowning is before us, and the horror of the unknown. We can hardly believe with our great captain that the world is round ; that we are bound to return to where we sailed from. The end of the sea, the edge of the world, lies before us! Then comes the wonderful night when lights are seen moving on the black horizon, coming and going, moving slowly as if carried by men. In the morning green weeds drift by the ship—not such as grow in the ocean. Then dim shores are seen in the far distance—not a cloud, but low-lying land. America is found. Columbus calls his men together and they sing the Te Deum.

So it is with history, lives, novels, and essays: the best are those that have stood the test of time. They are worth keeping until wanted; some day we shall turn to them for some special pur- pose, at some time in our lives when we require them. Surely it is as well worth our pains to spend time and thought and money on _ the storing of our book-shelves as on the storing of our larders; in both we want a_ good supply of solid wholesome food as well as more fanciful dainties. Furthermore, we must have wine—old, well-seasoned port to stimulate and refresh us when faint and weary; or even some lighter sparkling vintage to cheer us when all is dull and depressing.

‘In Books lies the soul of the whole Past Time ; the articulate audible voice of the Past, when the body and material substance of it has alto- gether vanished like a dream,’ writes Carlyle. And again: ‘All that Mankind has done, thouglit, gained, or been is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of Books. They are the chosen possessions of men.’ Therefore, if we possess a treasure—a wonderful lamp—let us not cast it aside, attracted by what is merely new, a novelty that strikes our fancy but has not yet been proved worthy of our acceptance.




OR a few seconds I stood inactive, horrified, gazing upon the white face whence the light of life had faded. So suddenly had I made this ghastly discovery that at first I was unable to realise that the

man who had been so full of activity and good-

humour was now a corpse. Even while I had

tz HSS ii

been in conversation with this woman, who was his wife, he had been lying there dead ; and then, as I reflected, the truth—a vivid and dis- concerting one—was suddenly revealed to me: by Gordon’s death my power over this woman had vanished ; my future was in her hands. And too well I knew that she would be merciless.

Again I placed my fingers upon the chill


face, and then chafed the thin, stiffening hands ; but those wide-open glaring eyes, in which the film of death had already gathered, told me that life had fled. The honest, true-hearted man, my comrade through my early years of wild-oat sowing, had been snatched away with a suddenness that was appalling.

Then, the suggestion oceurring to me that after all he might be only in a state of unconscious- ness, and that medical aid might succeed in re- suscitating him, I rushed through into the dining- room and touched the electric button. Opening the door, I listened for the approach of some one ; but all seemed strangely silent.

The great square hall, with its black-oak stair- ease and balcony above, was but dimly lit, and there was an ominous stillness everywhere. I rushed across to the drawing-room, under the im- pression that the dead man’s wife might still be there; but that chamber was in darkness; the electrit light had been switched off.

Again I rang the bell violently, and then, standing in the hall, shouted loudly for help. My voice echoed through the house, but no one stirred,

Why, I wondered, had every one deserted the place like that? Surely this woman, who was my enemy, must have known all along that my threats were unavailing now that the man who had made her his wife was lying cold and dead.

Having failed to obtain assistance, I went back to the little study and myself tried to arouse him ; but from the first moment of the discovery I knew that all efforts were futile. He had lain down there calmly and passed away in peaceful silence, for his face was in no way distorted. Only the fact that his hands were clenched showed that the last sting of death had caused him pain, The room seemed chill and draughty, and on examination I was surprised to find, behind the drawn curtains, that the long window leading out upon the small sloping lawn was ajar—a fact in itself suspicious.

Could it be possible that Gordon had been the victim of foul play? Such suggestion, however, was quickly put aside by the recollection that a telegram had been received at the Foreign Office announcing his indisposition. He had no doubt been taken ill suddenly, and died from some un- known natural cause.

I had closed the window, when, on glancing round the room, my attention was attracted by a smell of tobacco-smoke, and I saw on the table an ash-tray wherein were ashes and the end of a freshly-smoked cigar. Had Gordon smoked before his death, or had he received some male visitor ?

Yet another curious fact greatly perplexed me. In the fireplace was a quantity of tinder, the remains of some voluminous document which had recently been destroyed. One tiny portion of the paper remained, charred but not consumed. I picked it out carefully, and on examining it was

amazed to discover that the paper was of that peculiar tint and texture used in the French Foreign Office. Surely Gordon could not have destroyed some compromising papers in his posses- sion, and then afterwards deliberately committed suicide ?

Whatever the explanation, there was no doubt that some secret papers had been burnt there, and, further, that these papers were not English. The window leading to the garden being open lent colour to the theory that some one had passed out of the house by that means. Again, the flight of Judith and the absence of the servants were all circumstances of gravest suspicion.

The room wherein my friend was lying was more of a smoking-room than study. True, there was a large writing-table at the end, and a couple of well-filled bookcases; but the cane rocking- chairs, the long deck-chair with its holders in the arms for the big glass of whisky and soda, and the two smoking-tables, showed that its owner was more fond of ease than of study.

On glancing around the writing-table I saw something unusual on the blotting-pad, and bent to examine it. The paper was white, but dis- coloured by a great stain of bright yellow. This was still damp, and on smelling it I found it to be some acid ; but what it was I could not deter- mine. Just, however, at the moment when I held the pad in my hand I heard a movement behind me, and, turning quickly with a start, perceived a young woman fully dressed in neat black. She seemed equally surprised to discover me there; but without a moment’s hesitation I demanded, ‘Who are you?’

‘I’m Ann, sir, she answered, drawing back as if in fear of me.

‘Are you one of the servants here?’ I said, recognising her.

‘Yes, sir,’

‘Then why are you going out?’

‘I’ve only just come in, sir, she replied. ‘There’s nobody in the house, so I came here to see if either master or mistress were here.’

‘Your master is there,’ I answered, pointing to the couch.

‘What!’ she cried in alarm. ‘Is he unwell?’

‘Were you not aware of his illness?’ I in- quired.

‘No, sir” she answered. ‘He went out at the usual hour this morning, and had not returned when I left at three o’clock.’

‘Why did you go out?’

‘It was my afternoon out, sir. me an extra two hours.’

In this latter statement I scented material for suspicion,

‘Why did she give you extra leave?’ I de- manded.

‘I don’t know, sir,’ the girl responded, is master very ill? asked anxiously.

Mistress gave

‘But Can I do anything?’ she



‘No, I replied; ‘you can do nothing, except to tell me all you know of this affair. Where’s your mistress ?’

‘Gone out, I suppose, sir. I’ve been through all the bedrooms, but there’s no one in the house at all—no dinner ready, or anything. But is master sleeping?’ she added, with increased anxiety.

‘No, I said, fearing to tell her the truth, lest she should go off into hysterics or do something equally annoying. In this matter calmness was essential, and I was determined to learn from her all I could. ‘How long have you been in Mrs Clunes’s service ?’

‘Ever since they were married, sir.’

‘And you had a good place here?’ I asked.

‘I can’t grumble. I don’t get many Sundays out, but mistress is very kind and thoughtful of us.’ i

‘How many are you?’

‘Three, sir—cook, another housemaid, and myself,’

‘And you have no knowledge of where your two fellow-servants have gone?’

‘None whatever. They were here when I went out.’

‘And your mistress ?’

‘She went out immediately after luncheon,’

‘Then your master was not at home ill to-day?’ I exclaimed in surprise.

‘No, sir. He went out about ten, as he usually does, to catch his train to London; but I noticed that he was dressed differently than is usual,’

‘How?’ I asked quickly.

‘He wore a low felt hat instead of his tall silk one, and had on an old tweed suit that’s quite shabby. When I saw him go out I wondered at him dressing so badly. He’s always so very smart—neat as a new pin, as the saying is,’

This was certainly a remarkable fact. At the Foreign Office a telegram had been received an- nouncing his indisposition, while at the same time he had gone forth in what was apparently a disguise. It was not like Gordon to go to London in an old tweed suit.

‘And after your master had left what oc- curred?’ I inquired, determined to sift this matter to the bottom.

‘Nothing,’ she responded. ‘There was only one caller—a gentleman.’

‘A gentleman !’ I cried. ‘Who was he?’

‘I don’t know, sir, she replied.

‘Now, my girl, I said earnestly, ‘in this matter you must be perfectly frank. It is most important in your master’s interests that I should know all that has occurred here to-day, You, of course, recollect that I dined here a little time ago. I remember now that you waited at table, although at first, in your hat and veil, I failed to recognise you.’

‘Certainly, sir; I’m quite ready to tell you, or master, all I know.’

‘Well, with regard to this gentleman—was he merely an ordinary-looking man, or was there anything about him which struck you as peculiar ?’

‘There was nothing extraordinary,’ she answered, with a puzzled look. No doubt she thought my words strange ones. Her name was Primrose, she had informed me. ‘He merely asked for mistress, and when I inquired his name he said it was Christian. I asked him into this room, and mis- tress, when I told her he had called, seemed just a trifle excited. Her face went red, and she seemed at first annoyed that he should call so early, for she hadn't quite finished dressing her hair.’

‘And what then?’

‘She finished hastily with my assistance, and went down to him. He remained there fully half-an-hour, then went away laughing.’

‘Did you overhear any of their conversation ?’

‘No. I think he was a foreigner, for they spoke French, or some foreign language, and they spoke it so quickly and loudly that it seemed once or twice as though they were quarrelling. Mistress is an excellent linguist, you know.’

‘Yes, I know she is,’ I answered, smiling grimly. ‘But this man was an entire stranger— wasn't he?’

‘I’d never seen him before.’

‘Young or old?’

‘About thirty-five or perhaps forty, and rather tall and fair.’

‘With a moustache pointing upwards?’

‘No; his moustache was short and bristly, and he had a light beard, the maid replied. ‘He was rather thin, and wore a light drab overcoat tightly buttoned.’

‘Did he speak English well?’

‘Yes; quite well. Indeed, I thought he was English until the bell rang and I went to the dining-room, when I heard mistress speaking to him in a foreign tongue. She was standing near the fireplace, while he was seated in that arm- chair over there, the one master always sits in. He seemed quite at home, and mistress ordered me to bring him some brandy and soda.’

‘Then you left the room and heard no more?’

‘Not until the bell rang again and I showed him out,’

‘And then?’ I asked.

‘When he’d gone mistress flew into a great rage. She said it was abominable that people should call so early.’

‘But she treated him very courteously when he was present ?’

‘Very. I, however, didn’t like him, He seemed to treat mistress just a trifle too familiarly. Perhaps, however, it was only his foreign way. Foreigners hold different views to us, I’ve heard it said’

‘Well,’ I exclaimed, ‘continue your story. What happened after that?’

inq' 6

mot tun ope! had


‘Mistress spent some little time in the study, writing letters, I think; then she lunched alone, and afterwards went out.’

‘Was she dressed as though she intended mak- ing visits?’

‘Not at all. I assisted her to dress, and re- marked that, although the day was fine, shi seemed, like master, to have a leaning towards an oll dress. She put on an old blue serge and a sailor hat, a thing which she’d put away since last summer, and she seemed in a hurry either to catch a train or to keep some appointment.’

‘Has she many friends here in Richmond?’ I inquired.

‘Oh yes, lots. At Home day.’

‘And you went out soon after she did?’

‘Yes. I went over to Kingston to see my mother, and then on to Surbiton. When I re- turned I went round to the back door, found it open, and came in; but, to my surprise, everybody had gone. The place was deserted. To tell you the truth, sir, when I first saw you peering about master’s writing-table, which we are forbidden to touch, I thought you were a burglar,’

‘That’s not surprising, I answered, with a smile. ‘But this affair, 1 may as well tell you at

We’re generally crowded on her

first, is a most serious one.’ ‘Serious? What do you mean, sir?’ she asked, starting at my words and looking at me in sur-


‘During your absence something mysterious has occurred. I don’t know any more of it than you do. I only know the terrible truth,

‘And what’s that?’ she demanded breathlessly.

‘That your poor master is lying in there—dead !’

‘Dead !’ she gasped, growing pale. ‘Dead! It can’t be true.’

‘It is true,’ I responded. ‘I found him here not long ago. Look for yourself.’

The trembling girl crossed the room on tiptoe and gazed into the face of her master. It needed no second glance to convince her that she was in presence of the dead.

‘It’s terrible, sir—terrible !’ she gasped, drawing back pale with horror. ‘Surely he can’t really be dead 2?

‘Yes, I answered. ‘There is no doubt about it—absolutely no doubt; but whether it is the result of natural causes or of foul play it is impossible at present to tell.’

‘Do you suspect, then, that he’s been murdered, sir?’ she inquired in a low, terrified voice.

‘I suspect nothing,’ I said. ‘I entered here and found him exactly as you see him now. The window, too, was open, Some one might have escaped by it!

‘Ah !—the window!’ she said. ‘I recollect opening it this morning at mistress’s orders. She declared that the room smelt stuffy,’

‘Was it often open ??

‘It hadn’t Leen opened all the winter until to- day, when I picked out the strips of cloth with which the cracks had been plugged up. Master always declared that there was an unbearable draught from it, so one day last October I helped mistress to seal it up altogether,’

‘There was no other reason why it should be opened, except because the place was stuffy, was there ?’

‘None whatever. It was a fine day, of course, and I suppose mistress thought well to freshen up the room. I must say that the tobacco-smoke is very thick here sometimes when master has two or three friends. But, poor master! I really can’t believe it,’ she added, looking at him kindly again. ‘He was always so considerate towards us. I can’t think what’s become of cook and Mary.’

‘Rather think of your mistress,’ I said. a blow this will be to her!’

The girl glanced at me curiously, as if trying to discern how much I knew.

‘Yes,’ she sighed, but refrained from further comment, a fact which went to confirm my opinion that this domestic knew much more than she had already told me.

‘Were your master and mistress always on good terms?’ I asked.

Always,’ the girl promptly replied. devoted to each other.’

I smiled. The idea of that woman, whom I had half-an-hour before threatened with exposure, being devoted to anybody was to me amusing. That she knew of her husband’s death was cer- tain, yet after her ominous words to me she had left the house, leaving me alone with the corpse of my friend.

I recollected now how my appearance had caused her confusion, and how she had greeted me with a hollow courtesy. Undoubtedly I had arrived at a very inopportune moment, and it seemed equally certain that the two other servants were fully aware that their master had passed away.

Gordon’s wife had fled, and that in itself was sufficient to arouse suspicion ; while, on the other hand, my friend’s own actions, in sending the telegram of excuse to the Foreign Office and in going out in unusual attire, complicated the puzzle to an extraordinary degree.

Lord Macclesfield had sent me there to hear some strange statement; but the lips that had uttered those words which had startled and in- terested the great statesman were now silent for ever,

I stood gazing upon that white face, so calm and tranquil in death, and pondered deeply.

Yes; that some grave, extraordinary mystery surrounded my friend’s decease I felt convinced.

(Tv be continued.)


‘They were




By E. A. Funr.

OM the first attempts to colonise North America, and through several generations into this very nine- teenth century, sylvan vegetation ae was regarded by the pioneers of European civilisation as hostile to their enterprise. Benefits were no doubt conferred by the woods. They supplied the settlers with material for the construction of their block-houses, with palisades for their fortifications, with furs and fuel to protect them against the severity of a North American winter, and with venison, fish, wild fowl, edible roots, and herbs and berries in abundance. But the primeval forest was a most formidable obstacle to exploration, and in its sombre depths lurked the ruthless savages, ever ready to pounce upon the pale-faced intruders and slaughter them—men, women, and children—in- discriminately and without mercy.

All this is changed. Since the early part of this century the primeval forest has been mastered completely, and in later years there has been such reckless cutting down of timber almost everywhere that the woodland area of the United States is now reduced to only five hundred and eighty million acres, or not quite 23 per cent. of the total surface measurement ; while the proportion in Canada is still 37 per cent. In both countries the work of devastation proceeds incessantly. Everywhere in the interior of Canada wood remains the only article of fuel; and although in the United States mineral coal is now extensively raised, enormous quantities of wood are required for manufacturing purposes, In 1894 two thousand American factories produced six hundred and fifty thousand tous of celluloid ; and up to date this industry has been much further developed. Moreover, the States export huge masses of timber to Europe, and there is, so far, no organised system of state protection ; but warning voices are heard at last, both in the States and in Canada, pointing out the danger of indiscriminate deforest- ing, and advocating the establishment of a state authority on the European plan of systematic forest conservation. The present woodland area, in pro- portion to the whole surface measurement of the five parts of our globe, has been roughly estimated as follows: Europe, 31 per cent.; Asia, 20 per cent. ; Africa, 20 per cent. ; America, 21 per cent. ; Australia, 20 per cent.

Europe, whose climate is such as to render woods less urgently needed, is thus much better provided than Africa, which is densely wooded only in parts of its equatorial region, while in the north and south forests are exceedingly scarce. In Cape Colony, for instance, only 24 per cent. of the surface is covered with timber growing along

the river-beds, Elsewhere the couutry is almost bare, or covered with tangled scrub. Hence the Colonial Government offers large premiums to farmers for planting trees, and the creation of a special forest service is only a question of time. In some parts of Central Africa, on the other hand, a vast and almost impenetrable forest still impedes exploration. Sir H. M. Stanley and others have graphically described it. Vegetation was found so dense and luxuriant that tunnels had to be cut with saws and axes; and while elephants and other wild animals could be plainly heard, they were scarcely ever sighted, so opaque were the leafy walls.

Of the whole of Asia, Japan is by far the most richly wooded part, being covered with timber to the extent of 46 per cent. of its total area; and in Australasia. nearly one-third of New Zealand is covered with forest. Bulgaria with 72 and Portugal with only 2-9 per cent. mark the opposite extremes in European states,

For Great Britain and Ireland the propor- tion is only 3 per cent. —namely, 48° for England, 4°5 for Scotland, 35 for Wales, and barely 16 for Ireland. A multitude of large, park-like demesnes and the prevalence of hedge- rows lend to the rural scenery of Great Britain a charm akin to sylvan beauty. By giving shade, protection from the wind, and shelter to cattle and birds, hedges are also of practical utility, and present an agreeable contrast to the sad-looking loose-stone walls of Ireland. The idea of reforest- ing that country on an extensive scale has been mooted over and over again, and no doubt, if a systematic plan were carried through regardless of expense, material as well as esthetic advantages would ultimately accrue. The scheme should include all suitable mountain slopes now covered with heather or bog. Bog-slides, which often prove so destructive to the valleys under culture, would thereby be averted, the landscape beauty of the country enhanced, so as to afford greater attraction to tourists, and many of the poorest inhabitants provided with healthy and profitable employment. In most cases the soil is best fitted for growing needlewood, If firs and pines were planted, a moderate profit-reut might be expected after the lapse of twenty-five or thirty years. But Irish landlords, whose rent-rolls are dwindling, cannot be expected to do much, and English capitalists hold cautiously aloof because the political outlook, although much improved of late, is not as yet such as to inspire absolute confidence. Active interference on the part of Government, as in the case of light railways, would work wonders, but at too large an expenditure for any ordinary Chancellor of the Exchequer to advocate in Par- liament, Reforesting in Ireland will therefore be


limit alrea Be statis area differ relial 25'8 ; 20°2 ; 73 I Swed 56; ' i In easte: they and durit has | Hun parts the quen the « impc soutl rare irrig of t by 1 Peni cious ance thro sle heavy capa volu Cun: occa and unle an i wate heed hou the peal Wat nig und The woo fore Vast alre to vas! fore alth esti exa

—oe SS er OO FF

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limited to partial attempts, some of which have already proved moderately successful.

Between the two extremes mentioned, European statistics of forest-lands in proportion to the total area present almost all conceivable degrees of difference. According to the newest and most reliable returns, the percentage is, in Germany, 25°8 ; Austria, 32°6; Hungary, 27:9; Switzerland, 20'2; France, 17; Italy, 11°8; Spain, 17 ; Holland, 7; Belgium, 13; Luxemburg, 30; Denmark, 6 ; Sweden, 34; Norway, 24; Russia, 37; Finland, 56; Turkey, 9; Bosnia, 45 ; Servia, 10 ; Roumania, 17; Greece, 13.

In Europe forests abound in the northern, eastern, and some of the central regions, while they are scarcest along the north-western, western, and southern coasts. Those countries in which, during the last fifty years, most forest devastation has taken place are: Spain, Switzerland, Austria- Hungary, Sweden, Norway, and Russia. Many parts of Spain have had their water-supply, and the fertility dependent on it, impaired in conse- quence ; and Spain is of all European countries the one for which irrigation is of the most vital importance, considering that in the central and southern parts next to no rain falls in summer, rare thunder-showers excepted. What. artificial irrigation can do is shown by the luxuriant fertility of the kingdom of Valencia, although its soil is by no means the best. Travellers who visit the Peninsula in the dry season wonder at the capa- ciousness of the river-beds, presenting the appear- ance of an arid wilderness of sand and pebbles, through which a mere rill of water meanders like a slender thread. The picture abruptly changes after heavy rainfall ; an angry torrent rushes along, and, capacious as the bed is, it can no longer contain the volume of water pouring down the bare hillsides. Consequent inundations often cause sad havoc. On occasions of long-continued drought in Estremadura and Andalusia all vegetation literally shrivels up unless manual irrigation is carried through with an immense expenditure of labour, or where. the waterworks of the ancient Moors provide the needful mechanism, as, for instance, in the neigh- bourhood of Granada. The Vega, as seen from the heights of the Alhambra, presents the ap- pearance of an oasis of fertility. It is copiously watered by a network of conduits fed from mighty reservoirs hewn out of the solid rock underneath the castle and its extensive grounds. The river Darro, which winds its course down the wooded slopes of the Sierra Nevada, and there- fore never runs dry, constantly replenishes the vast receptacles; more than a thousand years old already, these works of the Moors seem indeed to bid defiance to time. Through reckless de- vastation, the once considerable area of state forests in Spain has greatly dwindled; and although the proportion of woodlands is still estimated at 17 per cent., the figure is probably exaggerated, and should be received with caution.

In Switzerland woods are chiefly communal property, only 4 per cent. being returned under the heading of cantonal or state forests. When exposed to financial pressure, communal authorities, as well as private owners, are prone to act in a manner inconsistent with sound economic principle. Thus the felling of timber in Switzerland is but too often carried on in altogether unsystematic and reckless fashion, so that the dangers arising from avalanches and from the too sudden melting of the snow in springtime are much enhanced. Streams like the Rhine, no matter how broad and deep their bed, can then no longer contain the volume of water pouring into them, and the valleys are flooded, to the detriment of agriculture and industry. In some parts of the country where the woods are carefully managed, as, for instance, in the canton of Zug, the revenue derived from them, without anything like devastation, is so good that not only the cantonal expenditure is completely covered by it, but a considerable surplus remains for distribution among _ the burghers, even those of them being allowed to participate who have gone to live abroad.

The forests of Austria cover 24,456,050 acres, or 32°6 per cent. of the whole surface area; only 106 per cent. being state property. ‘Through scarcity of money arising out of the many wars the House of Hapsburg has waged, the rulers of the country were compelled to part with a vast amount of woodland property in former times. Up to the memorable year 1866, which marks a turning-poiut in Austria’s history, no less than two and a half million acres of crown forests were sold ; but since 1872, when the administration of all state property was vested in the Ministry of Agriculture, a reversal of policy has taken place, and an increase of state forests is now observable. Of Hungarian woods about 15, and of those of Croatia and Slavonia nearly 20, per cent. belong to the state. As a rule trans-Leithan forests, in which oaks and beeches predominate, are much more valuable than cis-Leithan ones, composed of needlewood to the extent of 70 per cent. The country richest in timber under administration of the double monarchy is the province of Bosnia, 45 per cent. of its total area being forest-clad. Consumption and export of timber, bark, &e. continue on a very extensive seale, and the wood- land area, on the whole, is still diminishing.

In Sweden the state owns about one-fifth, and in Norway enly a tenth, of existing woodlands, which are perceptibly dwindling in consequence of the continual heavy export of timber, more especially to Great Britain and Ireland, and to the vast quantities of wood annually consumed by way of fuel and for such industrial purposes as paper and match making. Houses in Sweden and Norway are also, to a large extent, still built of wood.

Of the total forest area of Russia in Europe, not less than 70 per cent. belongs to the state. Under financial pressure, great havoc has been


made of the timber during the last fifty years, aud attempts at replanting are few and far between. The proportion of woodlands to the total area is, indeed, set down as 37 per cent. ; but this estimate dates from the year 1890, later returns not being available. It may safely be taken for granted that the actual proportion is much lower. Some years ago an imperial ukase was issued to check devastation and ordain re- planting. But it came too late; a vast amount of mischief had already been wrought, and, more- over, the regulations were not strictly enforced. Only 20 per cent. of the woodland area being in possession of private owners, and about 10 per cent. the property of corporations and village communes, less than one-third of the whole is affected by the law, and the fiscus himself is the chief destroyer. Most thickly wooded is the north, where three provinces show a proportion of not less than 70, and five others of 65, per cent. On the other hand, the figure in ten of the provinces which form the South Russian prairie region is only about 6 per cent. Until quite recently wood was the only article of fuel used in most parts of the empire, and it remains the principal one up to the present. Even the boilers of railway locomotives and factory engines are still, to a large extent, fired with wood. In the immediate vicinity of railroads and factories, and for miles around, forests have disappeared. Vast quantities of timber are ex- ported annually to Great Britain and Ireland, Holland, Germany, France, and Belgium. The value of these exports amounted to £3,500,000 in 1895, and to upwards of £3,000,000 in 1896. The rapidly growing paper and match manufacturing industries consume immense quantities of wood. How heavily the resources of the country are taxed becomes apparent to the most superficial and casual observer, as he travels through Russia, when he beholds the mountains of cut timber heaped up near railway stations and along the river-quays of the principal towns, Great gaps are made in these stacks daily, and there is constant, busy traffic to fill them up again, of course to the detriment of the forests, which, vast as they are, can scarcely bear so heavy and incessant a strain. Bad harvests in Russia are due, as a rule, to inundations or periods of long- continued drought, and both causes are to a large extent attributable to forest devastation. Hence there is a logical connection between it and the famines which have become chronic. That the volume of many streams has diminished is a notorious fact. Even the mighty Volga runs shallower from year to year. Steamers plying on it only find seven or eight feet of water amid- stream in summer-time, barely sufficient to allow them to proceed ; and the large ferry-boats which keep up the connection from bank to bank can accomplish their journey only by steering a devious course. Navigation of the river Don is much impaired. The source of the Dnieper slides

farther down-stream from year to year, and its most important tributary, the once mighty Vorskla, two hundred and fifty miles long and with the historic town of Pultawa on its banks, now lies quite dry in summer, Another river, the Bitjuk, in the region of the Don, is shrivelled up, its bed and the adjacent lands being covered with sand and rubble from source to mouth. Perhaps more disastrous still is the fact that the rainfall in spring and summer, which was formerly pretty regular, now fails more or less. Vast tracts of country, as, for instance,