18 JULY 1874, Page 23


The New Quarterly Magazine. July. (Ward, Lock, and Tyler.)— This is the best number of the New Quarterly that we have seen, but it wants an addition of strength before it can take the place to which, in right of its title, it ought to have ; " quarterlies " always baying, or at least meaning to have, a certain dignity and solidity of worth to which the hastier productions of the week or the month cannot pretend. The fiction is likely to be a weak point. This time, indeed, Mrs. Lynn Lynton's " MelioraLatent " is a clever tale, containing graphic sketches of life and character, and as to its plot, constructed with a finer sense of dramatic propriety than most tale-writers show. But the other story is a poor story, ill told (really the deaf butler, who offers a well-dressed gentleman a shilling for prescribing for a.sick puppy, belongs to farce, rather than to the genteel comedy of the novel). It will clearly be difficult to have two good stories began and concluded in each number. As to con- tinuations, they are, of course impossible. Why should not the conductors of the magazine take the bold step of getting rid of fiction altogether, or at least not bind themselves to it as a necessary ingredient? "The Personal History of Lord Macaulay" is an interesting paper, a welcome instalment of a biography which has been too long delayed. But perhaps the best thing in the number is Mr. Archibald Banks's very curious notes on "Birds and Beasts in Captivity." They put many cherished notions to flight. Hereafter, for instance, we must believe that the land-rat is exceedingly stupid, besides being irreclaimable, whereas the water-rat is a gentle and tameable beast. Yet we have heard strange stories of rats. Will they not dip their tails into inac- cessible basins of soup for their companions to suck, and will they not turn themselves into wheelbarrows for the abstraction of eggs, which they hold between their paws, laying themselves on their backs, and being dragged away by the tail ? It is not one, but a thousand ob- servers of rats, even as of human nature, that we must consult before we can form a judgment. Mr. Banks's paper, however, is admirable and interesting. The other articles are a continuation of Mr. Latouche's "Travels in Portugal," Student-Friends in Germany," "Habit in Plants and Power of Acclimatisation," by Mr. H. Evershed, and a sketch of travel by Mr. Evelyn Carrington, "Through the Graubunden to the Engadin."