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THURSDAY, APRIL 13, 1905.
travellers will permit themselves to indulge on such occasions, and (it should be fairly admitted) on such
occasions only. If there was anything of the usual I DOCTOR'S VIEW OF THE EAST.
good fellowship and interchange of little kindnesses The Other Side of the Lanter. By Sir Frederick which usually distinguishes the fellow voyagers of a Treves, Bart. Pp. xvi + 424 (London : Cassell
P. and O. ship (many of whom are necessarily well and Co., Ltd., 1905.) Price 12s. net.
acquainted with each other), Sir Frederick does not AN
N admirable book; a book written in terse and seem to have remarked them. He is impressed with
epigrammatic style, as full of cleverness as any- the aspect of selfishness only. He is deeply interested thing written by Kipling, and intensely interesting as in Gibraltar (the Rock of the past rather than of the illustrative of the first impressions conveyed to a present) ; charmed with the vision of Crete ; inclined highly trained and observant mind by the familiar and to relieve Port Said from the weight of universal superficial details of eastern life. But there is nothing anathema with which it is invested; and disappointed deeper in the book than first impressions, and it was with India. At least, so one gathers from his book. perhaps inevitable that to the student of human nature He is profoundly impressed with the multitudes of under those aspects of sorrow and suffering which India, and with the melancholy which tinges their shadow the sick bed and the hospital, those first im- whole existence. The truth is that 'the multitudes pressions should be tinged with the pathos and sad- would not so much signify if they were equally disness rather than with the brightness and fulness of tributed over the whole continent; and a comparison the east, and that the general tone of the book should with France in the matter of population is ineffective be almost pessimistic. It is as if the lantern had for the reason that France much wants more people proved to be no better than a common “ bull's eye,” | than she possesses. It is, however, the growing of with nothing on the far side but deep shadow and the the multitudes (checked even though it be by periodic policeman. Not that the book is wanting in humour famines over vast areas) that affords most serious by any means. On the contrary, some of the quaint consideration to Indian administrators. outlines of men and things sketched in by the artist's The general prevalence of an atmosphere of hand are as full of humour as anything drawn by melancholy pervading native life in India is real Phil May ; but it is the grim humour of the man who enough, and it is this which tends greatly to discount complained in South Africa of the “plague of women the chequered pleasures of European existence in that and flies" rather than that of the ordinary holiday country. For it is an undoubted fact that in spite of tourist infected with the light and sunshine of the isolation and exile in this “ land of regrets (the eastern world.
land of “ grim extremes ” Sir Frederick calls it), and The fascination of the book lies in the strength of the absence of so much that makes life worth living it, and its appeal to ordinary experience. What Sir under European skies, life in India has more in it of Frederick Treves describes with a few powerful and pleasure than of pain. There are few who leave India graphic touches of the pen is what we all know and quite of their own free will, and many who would have seen thousands of times for ourselves, and it is gladly end their days there were it not for the disthe reproduction of our own unwritten (and perhaps jointing of all ties of friendship by the departure to unrecognised) sensations that gives such pleasure to England of those whom they know best and love best the understanding. The keen power of observation in their own social circle. possessed by men who are trained by medical ex- Sir Frederick (perhaps naturally) appears to assoperience to judge character by the small superficial ciate melancholy with misery. The association is by details of every-day action is sometimes almost un- no means true of India whatever it may be in other canny to those who have eyes to see but see not, lands; nor does he, with all his profound knowledge passing from country to country well wrapped up in of human nature and the effect of environment and a layer of self-satisfied insularity, regarding the occupation thereon, quite appreciate the point of view changeful world of human existence as sort of from which the native looks at the conditions of his variety show with no reality at the back of it. own existence. For instance, he finds in the Pahári Occasionally, no doubt, Sir Frederick permits an (the hill men of the Himalayas) a class of people artistic fancy to introduce embellishments into the condemned to work as beasts of burden all their lives. arena of actual observation; but where this occurs one Visiting Simla in the “off” season, he finds these cannot but recognise that he shares with Turner the men of the hills pervading the Tibet road, toiling great faculty of rendering his picture all the more painfully towards the Simla market loaded with truthful in realising the impression which he seeks planks of sawn wood. “They move slowly and they to convey.
walk in single file, and when the path is narrow they From the very start at Tilbury the author displays must move sideways. In one day I met no less than a powersul conception of all those minor features of fifty creeping wretches in this inhuman procession ... the voyage eastward which are the framework and if there were but a transverse beam to the plank, each making of the voyager's daily experience. He begins one of these bent men might be carrying his own with his fellow passengers :-." As an arena for the cross to a far-off place of crucifixion.” If the author display of the resources of selfishness a departing ship had waited until the wretches " had stacked their has great advantages," and follows this up with a planks for the evening, lit their fires for cooking, and | cord of the
little stratagems in which gathered round for the day's ending, he would have
found no cheerier, happier hearted folk on the face duced to the devil of appendicitis and found him of the earth than they. There is nothing melancholy "unreasonably noisy ") includes the best and about the Pahári. It is perhaps extraordinary that any brightest chapter in the book. people who are content (for there is no necessity in China falls again within the shadows cast by the
far side of the lantern. this case) to take the place of beasts of burden should
The " nightmare city of be so absolutely unaware of the depth of their own Canton," where " such peace as is to be found in miserable degradation. But so it is, and they would the city lies only on the green hill side without the no more thank Sir Frederick for drawing them as
walls, where the dead are sleeping," gives the key central figures in a picture of a “circle in Purgatory
note of the almost morbid view of Chinese social than would the bare-backed inhabitants of the bazaar existence which is taken by the author; and per thank the good missionary for calling them indecent. throughout his story of China and Japan (which If he tried to turn a Pahári into a hospital orderly, country he also finds somewhat disappointing) there and to wean him from his mountains and his planks,
is the same brilliancy of description, the same fertile the contract would not last for a week!
power of supplying precisely the right touch that is But it is necessarily only with the outward aspect of required to complete the sketch, that marks the work things Indian that the casual traveller can possibly
as original from beginning to end. It is almost deal, and it is the freshness and vigour of Sir Kiplingesque (to coin a word) in its epigrammatic Frederick's descriptions of native life, his love of summary of the usually complicated view of eastern colour and nature, that make the charm
of humanity and its environment. It is the best book his book. Can anything be
of travel that has been written for years; and yet
better than his description of the small shopkeeper of the bazaar? when one lays it down regretfully (regretfully because He “lives in the street coram populo, and his inner it has come to an end), a feeling of thankfulness life is generously laid open to the public gaze. In
steals over one that the endless procession of human
life and all the sweet variety of nature in the east the morning he may think well to wash himself in front of his shop, and to clean his teeth with a stick is usually ranged for view before our eyes untinted by
the medium of medical spectacles. while he crouches amongst his goods and spits into
Т. Н. Н. the lane. He sits on the ground in the open to have his head shaved and watches the flight of the barber's
A BOOK ON MUSELMS. razor by means of a hand glass. The barber squats Museums, their History and their Use; with a in front of him and from time to time whets his Bibliography and List of Museums in the United blade upon his naked leg. The shopkeeper will Kingdom. By D. Murray. 3 Vols. Vol. i. ppchange his clothes before the eyes of the world when xv+339; vol. ii., pp. xiii + 339; vol. iii., pp. 363. so moved. He also eats in the open, and after the (Glasgow : MacLehose and Sons, 1904.) Price 328. meal he washes his mouth with ostentatious publicity
net. and empties his bowl into the road." In moving amongst the historical cities of India We have read the text of the first volume of this
work (the second and third are devoted to and in describing them in detail there is, of course, a bibliography, &c.) from title-page to index with the danger of treading on the skirts of the guide book. greatest pleasure and satisfaction, and can therefore Sir Frederick only escapes the peril by the strength recommend it to the best attention of those interested and beauty of his descriptions of these relics of the in the history and progress of museums. The book past and his keen appreciation of the stories that these itself offers an illustration of an evolution somewhat stones can tell; his power of investing palaces and similar to that of many of those institutions, for it is forts with all the movement and glitter, the coming based on an address delivered by the author, in his and going, of past races of kings, making these old capacity as president, to the Glasgow Archæological walls live once more under the light of an India which Society so long ago as the winter of 1897, and from shall never be again. It is all delightful reading, and this slender foundation it has gradually grown to its the stirring India of Sir Frederick's imaginings owns present dimensions. Much of the original address an enchantment which is wanting in the shadowed appears to remain in the final chapter of the text, India of his latter day observation. There is not much where we find the author comparing the state of said about Calcutta. The flavour of the place, that museums in 1897 to what it was half a century earlier,
essence of corruption which has rotted for a second and what he presumes it will be in the future. time " (Kipling), seems to have been too much for The work, which claims to be the first really full the author; and yet we know that Calcutta is reckoned and approximately complete account of museum his(statistically, at least) to be one of the wholesomesttory in general, is confessedly written from the standcities of the world, even when judged by the Euro- point of an archæologist rather than of a naturalist; pean standard.
and it is none the worse for this, although, as we Passing from India to Burma one is not surprised shall point out, there are a few instances where it at the air of relief which pervades his book when deal would have been well had the author taken counsel ing with that bright and laughter-loving land. Not with his zoological colleagues. Before proceeding to even the stern critic of woman's mission in camp and a brief notice of some of the leading features of the hospital can resist the fascination of the Burmese text, it may be well to mention that the list of coquette; and his description of Burma and Ceylon museums in the British Islands is based on the one (where, en passant, the eminent surgeon was intro- prepared by the Museums Association in 1887, and