11 DECEMBER 1880, Page 22

Desert Life. By B. Solymos (B. E. Falkonberg). (Allen and

Co.) —It is extremely difficult to imagine the class of readers who can be supposed to take an intelligent interest in this weighty volume. The writer really has something to say ; he has travelled far and kept his eyes open, and for purposes of reference the book he gives us is not without its use ; but his sentences are put together, page after page, in such hopeless confusion, as to make anything like con- secutive reading a matter of impossibility. The preface gives pro- raise of much careful observation of remarkable phenomena, of the reader's introduction to people, animals, and vegetation "all new and strange," and possibly, close study of the pages before us might be rewarded by a slight addition to our knowledge of natural history; but who will wade through hundreds of pages of such stuff as this ?—" Lion : Lion's fresh tracks, very much like the prints of a human fist, I saw only once ; but then they went in and out of our camp, and were made during the night. The poor brute was attracted by some venison offal. Some unknown 'true prince' in our camp may have shielded us from the lion's paws. One human misery drags others in its train. Had we possessed in camp a sense for sanitary considerations, we should have been strict about the removal of pestilent offal, and the lion would not have come to do the kindly office for us," atc. One of the most interestingnoticeainthe book is on the Adansonia or monkey-bread tree; but the short description of this begins with this stilted phrase:— "Nurtured in the seclusion of the closest and most inviolable thickets, knit together by maternal bowers, combined with cactus and irritable mimosa, with three or four different sets of jealous thorns, nurtured in such association, the young giant makes its first growth," Art. The attractive exterior of this book makes it a likely Christmas gift, and in the interest of our young friends we give this warning line.