11 FEBRUARY 1905, Page 23

Far and Near. By John Burroughs. (A. Constable and Co.

5s. net.)—Mr. Burroughs has done well in reconsidering his purpose not to write another " outdoor book." Far and Near contains an account of a tour in Alaska in which the author shared the munifi- cent hospitality of a New York millionaire,—forty persons were franked for a journey of we know not how many thousand miles. Alaska is not the place that one would choose for a residence ; but for a few weeks in high summer it is desirable, if for nothing else, for the extraordinary profusion of its wild flowers. "Wild Life about My Cabin" describes "a lodge in some vast wilder- ness" in which Mr. Burroughs, emulating Thoreau. secluded himself. It is full of his characteristically close and sympathetic observations of Nature. Both these parts, as well as some shorter papers that follow, are reprints. The new part of the book is headed " A Lost February," an enigmatic title, which is explained by the first sentence " We lost February and found August'' This happened in Jamaica. In Jamaica, it seems, it is always August. Mr. Burroughs's description of the island has, in addi- tion to the usual attractions of his writing, a special interest. It struck him as being mismanaged. There are magnificent roads with no traffic upon them. " The burden of taxation is excessive, and kills all native enterprise. If a new industry starts, it is taxed out of existence." There is a tax of a pound on each wheel of a waggon, and of eight shillings on each barrel of flour. For an automobile that an American wished to import 420 was asked, The owner, of course, would not land it. In fact, we have the ideal of the Fiscal Reformers realised. The roads are symbolic of the whole state of things. A Governor receives £5,000 a year, and there is a whole army of officials under him. Would it not be well to run the place on cheaper lines ?