21 DECEMBER 1901, Page 25


Beautiful Bilds, By Edmund Selous. (Dent and Co. 4s 6d.)— With a good deal of this little book we have much sympathy. It is an account, adapted for children, of the various birds, egrets, birds of paradise, humming-birds, and argue pheasants, whose feathers are aught after by plume-hunters and worn by women of_faehion and scullery-maids. The cruel mischief of the busi- ness lies not in the killing of the birds (though Mr Scions thinks so). but in doing so in the breeding season to secure their nuptial plumage, the result being that innumerable young birds die of slow starvation, and the species must ultimately be exterminated. Mr. Selous, despairing (as well he may) of ever getting over the vanity and apathy of fashionable women and the ignorance of their imitators, seeks to touch the hearts of the children, and so make them secure the promises of their mothers to give up these plumes. The book is written in an infantile style, with some allegory introduced, and many allusions to demons and fairies. We hope it may succeed in its object. We have to thank Lord Wolseley for having abolished the " osprey " plume in the Army. It is a pity that Mr. Selous should spoil his book with such ignorant nonsense as the specimen which follows :—" Naturalists like to tell us the Latin names of the animals they shoot. If they only had an English name I don't think they would care nearly so much to shoot them. How sorry we ought to be that animals have Latin names I "