Imatges de pÓgina

less real difficulty than any of the preceding, on account of the existing wide range and the extreme antiquity of the genus Testudo to which they all belong. This genus occurs in the Miocene deposits of Europe and India, and in the Eocene of North America; and living species are abundant in Africa and Asia, and are also found in South Europe and North America. It has evidently, therefore, been a dominant group during a large portion of the tertiary epoch, and it still maintains a vigorous existence. There does not seem to be any evidence that these giant species of the two hemispheres are more closely allied to each other than the smaller forms of remote regions; for though the Galapagos tortoises and the extinct species of the Mascarene islands both belong to a flat-headed type, they may have differed in important external characters. Their gigantic size is evidently due to their seclusion for countless generations in islands where they were entirely free from the attacks of enemies, and where they could procure abundance of food; both natural and sexual selection giving the advantage to the larger and stronger individuals. The only difficulty is how they reached the Galapagos. But as we may go back to the middle of the tertiary epoch for this event, it is not an improbable supposition that the coast of South America then extended considerably westward, while the islands themselves may have been more extensive, thus reducing the dividing strait to a width across which either the adult animals or their eggs might be floated by currents or surface-drifts. Their entrance to the Mascarene islands from Africa might have been effected in a similar manner. This is the solution suggested by Dr. Günther himself,3 and it is one which perfectly harmonises all the known facts.

The only other difficulty suggested by Mr. Sclater rather applies to the theory of natural selection itself than to geographical distribution. He asks how we are to account for closely allied forms so frequently inhabiting the same area, while in so many other cases allied species are strictly limited to distinct areas, to the diverging physical and organic conditions of which they are supposed to be adapted. We think that Mr. Sclater has himself furnished a clue to one mode of solution, in his statement that the willowwarbler and the chiff-chaff, though so alike externally, are yet quite distinct in mode of life and habits. It is evident, that a variation in the habits of a portion of the individuals of a species would lead to their mutual association and at the same time to their separation from the parent form, and would thus obviate that tendency to the intercrossing of the different varieties which would undoubtedly occur if the variation were one of colour or form only. Is it not probable, therefore, that where two or more closely allied species inhabit the same area, they have arisen at first by means of useful variations of instincts or habits; while those which inhabit adjacent Nature, vol. xii. p. 297.

VOL. V.-No. 24.


but separate areas may have arisen by favourable variations of colour, form, or constitution only? In support of this view it may be noted that the coal and marsh titmice, which are very closely allied, differ considerably in habits; while the great and blue titmice, which are very different in external characters, agree closely in habits, and are often seen together.

Returning to the general question of zoological distribution and its anomalies, it has been shown, I trust, that the only mode of explaining the existing distribution of living things is by a constant reference to those comparatively slight but often important changes of sea and land, which the most recent researches show to be alone probable; and, what is still more important, by recognising the undoubted fact that every group of animals whose distribution is discontinuous is now more or less in a fragmentary condition, and has, in all probability, once had a much more extensive range, to which its present distribution may offer no clue whatever. Who would ever have imagined, for example, that the horse tribe, now confined to Africa and Asia, formerly ranged over the entire American continent, north and south, in great abundance and variety; or that the camel tribe, now confined to Central Asia and the Andean region of South America, formerly abounded in North America, whence in fact our existing camels were almost certainly derived? How easy it is to imagine that analogous causes to those which have so recently exterminated the horses of America and Europe might have acted in a somewhat different direction, and have led to the survival of horses in South America and Africa, and their extermination elsewhere. Had this been the case, how strong would have been the argument for a former union of these two continents; yet we now know that these widely separated species would be merely the relics of a once dominant group which had occupied and become extinct in all the northern continents.

Discoveries of extinct forms remote from the countries they now inhabit, are continually furnishing us with new proofs that the great northern continents of the two hemispheres were really the birthplace of almost if not quite all the chief forms of animal life upon the globe; while change of climate, culminating in the glacial epoch, seems to have been the motive power which has driven many of these forms into the tropical lands where they now alone exist.

If we give full weight to these various considerations, and at the same time bear constantly in mind the extreme imperfection of our knowledge of extinct land animals, we shall, I believe, have no difficulty in explaining most of the apparent anomalies in zoological distribution, and in imagining a possible and even probable solution for those extreme cases of difficulty which the facts at our command do not yet permit us to explain in detail.

Let us now briefly summarise the general principles on which the solution of problems in zoological distribution depends.

During the evolution of existing forms of animal life, we may picture to ourselves the production of successive types, each in turn increasing in variety of species and genera, spreading over more or less extensive regions of the earth's surface, and then, after arriving at a maximum of development, passing through various stages of decay, dwindling to a single genus or a single species, and finally becoming extinct. While the forms of life are thus, each in turn, moving on from birth to maturity and from maturity to decay and death, the earth's surface will be undergoing important physical changes, which will sometimes unite and sometimes separate contiguous continents or islands, leading now to the intermingling, now to the isolation, of the progressing or diminishing groups of animals. Again, we know that climates have often changed over a considerable portion of the earth, so that what was at one time an almost tropical region has become at another time temperate, and then even arctic; and these changes have, it is believed, been many times repeated, leading each time to important changes, migrations, and extinctions of animal and vegetable life.


It is by the combined effect of these three distinct sets of causes, acting and reacting on each other in various complex ways, that have been produced those curious examples of erratic distribution of species and genera which have been so long a puzzle to the naturalist, but which have now, it is believed, been shown to be the natural and inevitable results of the process of animal development, combined with constant changes in the geography and in the climate of the earth.

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No. 3.


It has been suggested that the 'Notes on Shakespeare' which appeared in this Review in 1877 should be resumed, and I return to the subject with no little pleasure, though with a misgiving that these fragmentary essays do but scant justice to the matters of which they treat. It may, however, be interesting to the public to receive occasionally from an actor some explanation of the theories which he embodies in his own impersonations, or wishes to see incorporated in the unwritten constitution of his art. Not that it would be an altogether desirable practice for actors to take the public into their confidence with regard to everything they did or wanted to be done. That might excite the wrath of some of our friends, who, to the rest of our misdemeanours, would add that of trespassing on their preBut it will not be deemed presumptuous for an actor to offer his views on subjects connected with the study of Shakespeare, especially when they relate to the means of giving practical expression on the stage to the ideas of the poet. An instance of this occurs in the representation of Hamlet, and, as I am responsible for the controversy which it has excited, this is perhaps an appropriate time to make some remarks upon the point in question.


I have been frequently praised and often blamed for disregarding, in the scene between Hamlet and his mother, the usage which makes Hamlet point the contrast between his father and uncle before the bodily vision of the Queen by means of miniatures or of two fulllength portraits.

Now, with regard to usage, it is necessary to note how these two methods originated. The following passage from the Dramatic Miscellanies of Thomas Davies, 1784 (vol. iii. p. 63), the friend and biographer of Garrick, and an actor of no mean judgment, affords some valuable information :


'It has been the constant practice of the stage, ever since the 'Restoration, for Hamlet in this scene, to produce from his pocket 'two pictures in little of his father and uncle, not much bigger than 'two large coins or medallions. How the graceful attitude of a man 'could be given in a miniature, I cannot conceive. In the infancy of our stage we know that our theatres had no moving scenes; nor were 'they acquainted with them till Betterton brought some from Paris, '1662. In our author's time they made use of tapestry; and the 'figures in tapestry might be of service to the action of the player in 'the scene between Hamlet and the Queen. "But," says Downs, "Sir William Davenant taught the players the representation of 'Hamlet as he had seen it before the civil wars." But if the scanti'ness of decorations compelled the old actors to have recourse to 'miniature pictures, why should the playhouse continue the practice 'when it is no longer necessary, and when the scene might be shown 'to more advantage by two portraits, at length, in different panels of 'the Queen's closet? Dr. Armstrong long ago pointed out the sup'posed absurdity of these hand pictures.'

From this we have the authority of Davenant as to the custom in his day, and it is also plain that up to the time of Davies fulllength portraits had not been introduced.

Betterton was wont to take the medallions out of his pocket in this scene, and the actors who succeeded him invariably did the same thing until the oddity of the proceeding led some ingenious mind to suggest the propriety of hanging one of the miniatures round the Queen's neck. Now, even if the use of the medallions should date from the time of Shakespeare, I do not think it can be maintained that they are consistent with the plain meaning of the text. 'How the graceful attitude of a man could be given in a miniature I cannot conceive,' says Davies; and I imagine there is very little room for controversy on that score, assuming them to be only coin-like medallions of a head and bust.

So marked a divergence between tradition and the poet's words not unnaturally caused some later actors to adopt the large-sized portraits, and they were used by Mr. Macready with, I have been told, no particular effect. Nor is this a matter of surprise. For should Shakespeare have conceived that pictures should be presented, it is more than probable that they were left to the 'mind's eye' of the audience—not, I grant, by design, but of necessity arising from the then crudeness of stage effect. The words

A station like the herald Mercury

New lighted on a heaven-kissing hill—

show that the pictures are full-length figures, either material works

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