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obeying its own laws, a force to be is compatible with a love for Naturereckoned with for good or evil. The In the mind of the people which holdslatter may be the more scientific view, the former the more artistic; but each E. M. Congreve.
"GOLD FROM SEA-WATER.
It is not only likely, but certain, that if the announcement were suddenly made that a cheap process had been discovered by which coal could be converted into diamonds, there would be plently of people who would be afraid of emptying the coal-box on the fire. They would not like the idea of throwing away money. They would calculate how many tons of coal were still left in the cellar—possibly would telephone for more coal at the same price, in case the coal merchant had not seen the newspapers that morning—until, perhaps, it would occur to them a few days afterwards that it did not very much matter. The cheaper the process of converting coal into diamonds, the more diamonds would be made, and the cheaper, therefore, they would become; and if you could make large diamonds, according to size, at prices ranging, say, from ninepence to nine guineas—at which size they would be too heavy to wear as jewels—clearly it would be better to burn coal than to keep it to make diamonds. Nothing, eventually, would be greatly altered, except, of course, that rich women would cease to wear diamonds, and that a good many mortgages made on the security of jewels would have been foreclosed,—at all events, there would have been no interference with the currency.
The parallel is not exact if the discovery of "new wealth"—the Daily News seems to have been the first to discover "wealth" in the latest goldextracting process—has to do with the production of other precious commodities besides diamonds. It was an
nounced on Saturday last, with all the headlines natural to the occasion, that a discovery had been made "of the utmost magnitude and the most sensational character." For many years attempts had been made to extract gold from sea-water, but "though gold has been collected and precipitated, no process had hitherto been discovered by which it could be extracted on a commercial basis. Our information is that the problem has now been solved, and that gold in practically illimitable quantities is only awaiting the completion of the arrangements which a powerful syndicate have in hand to be pumped from the ocean." All that reads like revolution; and when it is added that the process by which all this gold is to be obtained has been submitted to Sir William Ramsay, and that "he has just reported on it in terms which leave no room for doubt as to its success," is there any other comment to be made except that those who have managed to obtain shares in the syndicate are exceedingly lucky persons? One of the critics of the scheme, indeed, goes so far as to estimate the actual amount of gold which is at the disposal of the ocean-pumping syndicate. Since It Is computed that there is something like a grain of gold in a ton of sea-water, and since a grain of gold is worth about twopence, "as there are about sixty thousand billion tons of water in the ocean, any one who can recover it all will have a nice little fortune of £625,000,000,000,000, or over five thousand million tons of solid gold." (We cannot make this sum work out correctly, but the general drift of the calculation is clear.) At first sight, all that looks very well indeed for the prospects of the syndicate; but it ought perhaps to be added that as yet Sir William Ramsay has taken no shares, that he has written to the papers to state that his report was confidential, and that "the process is still in an elementary stage." There are possibly other reflections which may occur. For the sake of argument, suppose it to be granted that all these calculations of the amount of gold waiting in the sea for a syndicate to extract it are correct. Suppose it to be a fact that somehow there could be obtained from sea-water so many million tons of gold. You are faced by two difficulties,—first, by the mechanical difficulty of getting the grain of gold dry into your hand out of the water; second, by the obvious fact that if you can manage to extract a sufficiently large quantity of gold in a given time—if, that is to say, again purely for the sake of argument, you could in a year double the amount of solid, malleable gold in existence—you would upset the standards by which the value of goods exchanged among the merchant nations is measured. Would that be a good thing to do? But take the mechanical difficulties first. To begin with, granted that from a ton of sea-water you can get a grain of gold. Pump, then, a thousand tons of pure sea-water into a reservoir and begin to treat it. When you have extracted, by whatever treatment, the thousand grains of gold which were floating somewhere in those thousand tons of water, you have dry gold in your hands value two thousand pence, —roughly four guineas, out of which, of course, you have to pay for your labor and part of the initial cost of the plant put up for extraction. Still, after paying that, you remain, for the sake of argument, two guineas in hand. Next, you have to get rid of your now
goldless sea-water, in order to pump in the next thousand tons to be treated. What are you going to do with it? Clearly it would not be the best thing to do to pump it straight back into the sea where it came from; you might, in that case, unless there were racing tides to carry it away (and perhaps to carry it back again next day), pump again into your reservoir water which you had already treated, and which would be therefore goldless. The best thing to do, obviously, would be to run your waste sea-water through a conduit-pipe or by some other method to a distant coast,—you might, for instance, pump it into your reservoir on one side of the Panama Isthmus and pump it out on the other.
Suppose, for a moment, however, that this physical difficulty could be surmounted, or better, that a much greater secret than this for obtaining gold from sea-water were discovered; suppose that some private individual were able with the utmost secrecy to develop the scheme of a flotilla of ships which should go out simultaneously, each captain armed with the inventor's secret and which should dip down some kind of magnetic apparatus attracting all the gold in the sea for miles round. Imagine the flotilla secretly returning home, each ship with tons of gold on board; and then imagine the gold supply of the world suddenly doubled, capable of being trebled in a month, quadrupled in two months. What would happen? Would the owner of the flotilla, the inventor of the magnetic apparatus, become amazingly rich? For a time, perhaps; but if his secret were discovered, or if it were known that it was only a chemical secret which stood between wealth and poverty, would he remain rich for long, simply because he could always produce gold to pay for whatever he wanted? He would not, of course. He would probably be assassinated. since there is always a tendency to believe that secrets can somehow be obtained by killing; but if he were not assassinated, and if the secret leaked out, so that every Government in the world knew how to obtain gold exceedingly cheap, clearly the inventor would become just as poor a man as any one else who possessed merely gold, or paper redeemable by gold. He might as well possess so much sand. If the gold-supply of the world could be multiplied to any extent with absolute ease, and multiplied at irregular intervals, there would be no standard of prices. A quarter of wheat might stand at fifty shillings one day and two hundred and fifty shillings the next day: you might be asked half-a-crown for lunch on Monday and a sovereign for the same lunch on Saturday; you could measure nothing until you discovered a new standard; the gold standard would have disappeared.
But would it be allowed to disappear? the question might be asked. Would there not immediately be an international Convention, called together to make it illegal to collect supplies of
gold of this kind? Could it not be arranged that the sea, at least, should be inviolable, however deeply the earth might be scarred and seamed to get the great thing? True, such a Convention might bring about security of markets in time of peace, though even then there would always be privateers stealing out with magnets, hoping to return undiscovered. But in time of war, if four or five great nations were involved? Then the ships would go out for gold, not one by one, but by all the hundreds which the rich nations could afford. And to what end? To establish, in that last fantastic resort, only this,—the perpetual truth that not by some sudden, easy discovery can any man, or any nation, ever become rich; but that by the calamitous upsetting of an apparently perpetual standard of prices, a new standard must be discovered; that the new standard must involve, not mere Ingenuity, but stark labor of body; that "in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread" is the last test, the ultimate standard, of men's riches.
BOOKS AND AUTHORS.
It is impossible to deal adequately with such a volume as "The Letters of William Stubbs Bishop of Oxford" within the limits of a brief notice. We therefore reprint from the Independent Review, elsewhere in this magazine, Mr. Herbert Paul's review of the book and estimate of the Bishop's character, under the title "Bishops and Historians." But it is not primarily as a bishop or an historian that the writer of these delightful letters, which Mr. W. H. Hutton has edited with excellent discrimination, makes the most abiding impression, but as a man,— kind, witty, whimsical, of sincere and stalwart convictions, of simplicity and
strength of character, of warm sympathies and of a most lovable nature. Of this man,—scholar, historian and bishop,—the volume gives us the most intimate glimpses, for the letters are written with perfect unconsciousness and unconcern. They begin with the beginning of his career as "a country parson" at the middle of the last century and come down to within a few days of his death in April, 1901,—the very last letter of all, brief and written with the stress of mortal illness upon him, marked nevertheless by his invincible humor. The book is illustrated with several portraits and is furnished with a full index. E. P. Dutton & Co. A WINTER SUNSET.
The starlings pipe and whisper in the trees, Now loud, now low, for autumn's lease is run; The skies are stiller than still summer seas As sinks in shining and translucent ease The late November sun.
November sunset—and a phantom moon That floats, a shell-pale sickle in the blue: The light that comes—the light that
fades so soon, Both with the season's silence seem in
tune; With my heart's silence, too.
This misty hour, whose garrulous birds will cease Their fitful gossip as the west grows pale.
Breathes it not more of solace and release
Than sunsets golden as the Golden
Rosamund Marriott Watson.
THE POOB SOUL.
A poor soul sought the gate of Heaven.
"Oh let me in," said she,
And on the Healing Tree—
"The multitude that none can tell,
Who bitter anguish bore— The amaranth and asphodel
That bloom for evermore!"
But the Angel answered: "Though God's grace
Be mighty far and near, In Heaven for thee there is no place,
Thou holdest earth too dear!
"Thy ruth was mingled with sharp scorn. Thy love with bitter hate.
Is it to gather grapes of thorn
The poor soul pleaded: "Though in grief
I reap my wage aright.
He looked not on the angel folk,
Nor on the crystal tide—
An asphodel beside.
He looked not on the mansions fair
That for the blessed wait—
To pass Heaven's portal all unmeet
She stood, the wanderer; Howbeit, music clear and sweet
There floated out to her,
And through the opening gate she caught
The light ineffable—
The rue, the asphodel.
And gave—and even as she took.
And none the mystic boon perceive; Yet where the journey lies
Ttn Saturday Rerlevr.
Thee may a child's hand kindle, thee His laugh extinguish, tiny spark. Scarce seen a furlong off. To me The difference between light and dark' Florence Bayllar.
The disorganization of domestic service has so seriously affected home comforts and social life in recent years, that no apology is necessary for dealing again with a subject which has already attracted a considerable amount of attention. Yet in reviewing the domestic situation, the causes of the evil and its possible cure, extremes are to be avoided. The growing unpopularity of domestic service must be taken into account as a new element in the situation by those who maintain that this is but a passing phase of no serious import; while those who foretell in present difficulties the extinction of the servant race, and a further sign of the degeneracy of the English people, will be interested to hear of a domestic crisis of equal magnitude occurring more than a hundred and fifty years ago. Literature of that period abounds with instances of the insolence of English servants, and of their independence of their masters,
whose service they left on the slightest provocation. In some respects the position was worse then than it is now. We are told that "at the entrance of the Law Courts and the Parliament, a> host of servants kept up such riotous) and licentious confusion that one would think there were no such things as rule or distinction among us," while the custom of sending footmen to keep their masters' places at the play, during the first Act, resulted in such constant disorder in the galleries (where the servants retired and claimed admission free on the arrival of their masters), that they were eventually expelled from Drury Lane Theatre in 1737; not, however, until a riot had taken place in which about twentyfive people were seriously injured, and which the presence of the Prince and Princess of Wales was unable to restrain.
The evil was evidently a national one, of sufficient importance to attract