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Botzen or Bruneck, the nearest railway stations being Toblach on the north, Atzwang on the west, and Conegliano on the south. All that is grandest, all that is most attractive to the artist, the geologist and the alpine climber, lies midway between these three points, and covers an area of about thirtyfive miles by fifty. The scenes which the writer has attempted to describe all lie within that narrow radius.” The greatest beauty of the district, or almost so, seems to our mind to be the fact dwelt upon by the authoress, that she travelled “ sometimes for days together without meeting a single traveller, either in the inns or on the roads.” But apart from this, there can be no doubt, we think, that the country is singularly wild and beautifully picturesque; the fact that many of the mountains exceed 10,000 feet in height, and some, “ as the Cima di Fradusta, the Palle di San Martino, and the Sass Maor, are so difiicult, that the mountaineer who shall first set foot upon their summits will have achieved a feat in no way second to that of the first ascent of the Matterhorn,” must in itself prove attractive to the
,reader. The authoress adopts Richthofen’s views as to the origin of the mountains, and gives a brief summary of his theory of the coral-reef origin of the mass ; but of that we need not say anything. Sufiice it to describe, in Miss Edwards’s own words, the three exquisite cuts which we have borrowed from her publishers. And first of the Monte Antelao.
Here, says the authoress, “ from a grassy knoll, the writer devoted a long time to making a careful drawing of the Antelao, which is here seen to its greatest advantage. . . . The first ascent of the highest peak of this mountain was achieved by that famous climber Dr. Grohmann, in 1863 ; and the second in 1864, by Lord Francis Douglas, of hapless memory, accompanied by Mr. F. L. Latham and by two guides. . . . The ascent is taken from a pass called the Forcella Piccola, which divides the mass of the Marmarole from that of the Antelao. . . . It was supposed to be inaccessible till Dr. Grohmann’s time, when the fortunate discovery of a certain cleft by one of his Cortina guides opened the way to the German cragsman.” And assuredly the climb must have been no easy matter, to judge from the sketch which Miss Edwards has given of the snowy mountain. But this is not all. Another view which we have obtained from Miss Edwards’s book is that represented here—the Monte Cristallo and Piz Popena.
She says, “ Passing Schluderbach, a clean-looking roadside inn, we come presently in sight of the Diirren See, a lovely little emerald-green lake, streaked with violet shadows, and measuring about three-quarters of a mile in length. Great mountains close it in On all sides, and the rich woods of the lowly hills slope down to the water's edge. The clustered peaks, the eternal snows and glaciers of Monte Cristallo ; the towering summit of the Piz Popena ; and the extraordinary towers of the Drei Zinnen, come one after the other into view." And certainly the sight must have been grand indeed, for we know of very few even of the well-known alpine picturespots that can at all compare with this grand combination, as it were, of Killarney and Mont Blanc.
There is only one other picture which we have taken from this book, to which we have to direct the reader’s attention, and that is of the Sasso di Ronch. This the authoress very briefly describes, but she alleges that the view obtained in going up to it was singularly grand. Indeed, all through
the book the reader is touched with magnificence of scenery sufficient to make him sincerely envy the writer, and make secret vows as to his next autumn’s excursion. We ourselves cannot do better than advise his following in Miss Edwards’s footsteps, with this additional proviso, that he must first get her interesting book and read it.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF EVOLUTION.‘
THE Actonian prize, which is in the gift of the Royal Institution, was this year awarded to two works which we fancy have very different aims. The present is one of the two, and is by a clever, well-known enthusiast, Mr. Thompson Lowne. IVe ourselves do not hold the author’s views—we may as well state this at once—but we think he has shown particular cleverness in advancing his opinions; and if he were to go a little further than he has done, we should most heartily agree with him. However, as the author was bound to certain conditions in presenting his writing for an Actonian prize, we must make some allowances, and we will even go so far as charitany to suppose that certain views admitted as possibly correct are not necessarily those to which the author would bind himself. With regard to the main object which the author has had in view, we of course entirely agree with him, but in reference to some of his arguments we must decidedly take exception. It would be out of place in so short a notice as the present one to point out where we differ from the author in some of his conclusions, especially as it would be idle to point them out without endeavouring to place before the reader the opposite views. But we may observe that though we differ from Mr. Lowne on some matters, we agree with him wholly in the great bulk of his arguments; and on no point, singular to say, more than in his observations on the markings of the diatomacze, for we feel sure that advanced microscopic research will eventually prove the truth of what Mr. Lowne advances. in any case, no matter what view we were to take of the evidences the author brings forth, we think he has produced a capital argument in favour of evolution; and the plates, though not numerous, help out his ideas. From what we have seen of the book, however, it increases our objection to the prize essay system. Mr. Lowne would have done better if he had not had the Actonian prize
before his eyes.