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BOOK NOTICES., Issue 7952, 6 July 1889
Paul Faber, Surgeon, by George MacDonald, LL. D. J. Horsburgh, Dunedin We need hardly say that the aboveDarned interesting novels are intended by the publishers for special circulation in the colonies and dependencies. The first,_ • Paul Faber,' is a continuation of *he ministerial career of 'Thomas Wingfold, Curate,' a notice of which appeared in our columns a few weeks since. We indicated at the time that the author of * Thomas Wingfold' had a purpose in view, which in the volume now under notice is more fully developed. Dr Mac Donald, in fact, never writes without design. He seems to recognise that teaching by parables ib the easiest and pleasantest way of spreading a knowledge of truth, and hischaracters and situations are chosen, not only to give expression to their opinions, but to show the influence of opinion upon men's lives and actions. In Paul Faber we have the embodiment of different religious creeds, the errors into which imperfect conceptions of religious troth tend to lead men, and the effect that clear views of Christian duty have upon those who have the happiness to grasp the truth. The work is full of intensely interesting situations, highly wrought descriptions, and most powerfully drawn characters. The Reproach of AnnesUy, by Maxwell Gray. James Horsburgh and 0. Braithwaite, Dunedin. 'The Reproach of Annesley' is by the author of ' The Silence of Dean Maitland,' a novel which was read with eager interest when published in our columns. Differing as it does in plot from that somewhat remarkable story, there is no lack of force in the style in which it is written, the characters pourtrayed, the incidents, or the denouement. It would detract from the interest of the novel were we to give an outline of the plot so ably and graphically worked out. In fact, such an analysis is needless. It would add nothing to its interest; and there need be no fear on the part of intending readers that on perusal they will be disappointed. The Otago Girh' High School Magazine for June. As usual this clever petite magazine contains a variety of pleasingly written essays in prose and poetry. The first, advocating 'A Profession for Women,' is, from its nature, of a somewhat more serious character than usual. The writer strongly advocates the profession of medicine as one specially adapted for female practitioners, and adduces strong arguments in favor of this view. The article is to be continued. The remaining pieces are literary and humorous, closing with two clever conundrums and answers to previous ones. The P. and O.'s Guide. From the local agents (Messrs Dalgety and Co.) we have received a copy of the "pocket book " just issued by the P. and 0. Company. It is a veritable vade mecum for the ocean traveller, its 270 odd pages being replete with information historical, geographical, and commercial. Beginning with a concisely written account of the origin and marvellous progress of the company, who have established for themselves a world wide reputation as ocean carriers, the reader is made acquainted with the personnel of the executive, and the company's establishments and agencies abroad; details are given of the colonial fleet that flies the company's flag; routes described and special towns sketched, whilst the intending tourist is put in possession of a vast amount of useful information regarding the chief calling places on the several routes, and what" lions " should not escape his attention. Judging by the chapters devoted to the Australias the compiler has done his work admirably, and is a past master of the art of condensation. A chapter on ocean meteorology is succeeded by a short paper on the Suez Canal by its famous constructor, De Lesseps, which Mr Thomas Sutherland, M.P., president of the company, supplements with a highly interesting description of the great work. This is unquestionably one of the most valuable contributions to the work, and is alone worthy of preservation on account of the statistical information it supplies. The value of the book is increased by reason of the descriptive chapters having been furnished by accomplished litterateurs or distinguished travellers who have visited the localities they write about. Thus Egypt is described by Stanley Lane-Poole; India, by the author of 'The Light of Asia'; China, by Sir Thomas Wade, who for many years was England's Minister at the Court of Pekin ; and Japan, by Henry Lucy; and their contributions are worthy of a place in any gazetteer. Next comes a collection of nautical information, supplemented by a series of maps, that almost render reference to an atlas unnecessary. It remains only to be said that the letterpress and general get up are the very best, and that the book is profusely illustrated. We feel sure that there will be frequent inquiry for the book, from which we make a few extracts to illustrate the company's progress, which is synonymous with the extension of the mercantile marine of the Empire:—
It was in 1835 that Messrs Wilcox and Ander■on, a firm of merchants and shipbrokero in London, began to rnn steamers to the principal ports in the Peninsula. This somewhat bold experiment, as it must have been regarded in those days, does not appear to have been attended at first with encouraging success in a financial point of view;' but Messrs Wilcox and Anderson persevered in their enterprise, and in doing so brought under the notice of the Government a plan for establishing a mail service by their steamers to replace the Lisbon packets and the Gibraltar steamer, with considerable saving of expense to the Exchequer. Their proposals were coldly received, and the sailing packets were continued, as before, to take their departure "wind and weather permitting." But it soon came about that the regularity ef Messrs Wilcox and Anderson's steamers attracted attention, and the Go\ eminent then found themselves obliged to ask these gentlemen to submit their plans for, the conveyance of the mails which they had previously offered to submit, but which had been polisely ignored. After a strict examination the plans in question were approved, the terms asked were considered reasonable, and the Government of the day, having thus obtained all that they required in the way of information, announced their intention to invite public tenders for the execution of the work, in accordance with the plans which had been thus laid before them. Invitations to tender were accordingly issued, and two offers were forthcoming—one from Messrs Wilcox and Anderson and the other from parties described as the British and Foreign Company. For some reason the ' Government favored the acceptance of the tender sent in by the latter company, and piepared to accept it, When it was found that their representatives were unable to give satisfactory proof of their means and capacity to carry out the work which they had tendered for. The Britivh and Foreign Company had, however, sufficient influence to persuade the Government to postpone a decision on the subject for a month, in the hope of beina: able to produce the necessaty guarantee. But at the end of that time the company were still incapable of complying with the requirements of the Government, and the contract was then assigned to Messrs Wilcox and Anderson, who, in concert with Captain fiichard Bourne, E.N., who was concerned in the conveyance of the Irish mailß, founded the Peninsular Company to cany it into effect. The date of this, the first foreign mail contract entered into with the company, was August 22, 1837, the subsidy amounting to L 29.600 per annum for a monthly service from Falmouth to Vigo, Oporto, Lisbon, Cadiz, and Gibraltar. ... In 1884 the company expanded into the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, and was incorporated by Koyal Charter, but its foundation really dates from the formal opening of its first
mail service in 1837. .... Mails are now oarried from London to Bombay in sixteen days, while the period of transit in 1873 was twanty-three. The subsidy for the India, China, and Australia contract in 1873 was L 580.000, and that with only a mail once a month to Australia. Now, with the same service to India and China, and a fortnightly mail to Australia, the subsidy is 1350,000. . . . The list of steamers built by the company is almost an epitome of the progress of steamship building during half a century. There is a wide contract between the paddle-wheel Bteamer of 300or400tons, with its clumsy side-lever engines and boilers carrying a pressure of probably not more than 101b to the square inch, and the vessels of 6,500 tons added to the fleet last year, with their triple expansion engines and boilers, carrying a pressure of 1601b with greater safety than the 101b boiler of old times. When this company built the Himalaya thirty-four years ago (a vessel still doing service in Her Majesty's Navy as a transport), she was found to be too large for the commercial work of that day, and the directors were glad to sell her to the navy. Her tonnage is, however, little more than halt the tonnage of the "Victoria (6,288), 1 lunched in 1887. In 1870 the average tonnage of the company's ships -was 2,058 tons, while in the present year it is close on 4,000 tons. , , . The introduction of what is known as the compound engine twenty years ago marked a revolution in the annals of ooean steaming, and the improvement then commenced has been steadily carried on. It is hardly too much to say that a pound of coal now does four or five times the amount of work that it did previous to the era of high and low pressure machinery. The honor of this achievement rests chiefly with the marine engineer, bat the naval architect h»s coctributed in no alight degree to the present extraordinary efficiency of the mercantile marine. The chief triumph of the naval architect has, however, been in the more scientific adaptation of materials in order to secure strength combined with lightness, and also in the quality of the workmanship, which is enormously superior to what it onoe was, so that ships can now carry, p« register ton, largely in excess of what it would at one time have been thought prudent. The employment of steel ia shipbuilding and engineering has greatly furthered this end, but the result of theee improvements is that weight, suoh as iron and ateel materials, are now carried from London to China and Australia at a rate which averages l-35th of a Id per ton per mile. Compared with this result the lowest mineral rate on the cheapest English railway almost appears exorbitant. At the end of 1877 the company owned 194,000 tons, valued at many millions. The revenue was L 2.225.662; the wage lut, L 277.840; office expenditure and charges of administration, L 148.474; pilotage, eta, absorbed L 124.155; the commissariat, L 241.127. During the ten years ended 1887 the shatwholders received an average dividend of L6l2s per cent, yearly. Over L 3,000,000 were put aside for buildinff new vessels and general purposes, of which L 2,500,000 wereoxpendedonnewbottoms, and L2,2e0,000 spent in repairs, etc., to the then existing fleet. In 1875 the company owed LBOO.OOO to the holders of their debentures, and in six years the whole amount was paid off. Truly a great record.
Macmillaris Colonial Library. Mr Horsburgh, of George street, has sent us some specimens of the new departure by the well-known English publishing firm, who are placing the classics of English literature before the reading public in an exceedingly cheap but convenient form. They are now turning their attention in a similar way to the works oi the leading novelists of the day. Of these, they are drawing on Marion Crawford (whose ' Greifenstein' was briefly noticed in our London correspondence lately, and which gives an exceedingly interesting account of German college life), Mrs Oliphant ('Neighbors on the Green'), Charlotte Yonge («Beechcroft'), and D. C. Murray ('Schwartz'). The price at which Mr Horsburgh is able to sell these editions of the most successful novels of the day places them well within the reach of the average reader, and the enterprise of the publishers, it almost goes without saying, is meeting with its proper reward.
BOOK NOTICES., Issue 7952, 6 July 1889
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