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Secrets of the Hills, and How Ronald Read Them

Nature volume 88, page 347 (11 January 1912) | Download Citation



VERY early in the nineteenth century, the Rev. Isaac Taylor showed how a certain James and his father, Mr. Thompson, visited a series of British mines and compared them sagaciously with those of other lands. The little book, called “The Mine,” in which the didactic Thompson and the preternaturally patient James were made to record their impressions, ran through three editions by 1831. At that date the Wicklow nugget of 22 ounces was the largest mass of native gold on record, while the mineral zircon was regarded as beyond the reach of an ambitious collector. Mr. Craig now comes forward with a similar book, published bravely in the twentieth-century manner in a very excellent type, and beautifully illustrated by photographs in place of the romantic old copper plates. Of course, when we were boys we loved Taylor's “Train of Mules bearing Copper Ore” in Cornwall, and the tufted Indians “Diamond washing at Golconda”; and our successors may equally delight in the realistic pictures of “Holing the Coal “(p. 202) and of the fossil bones at Pikermi (p. 306), which are so well provided by Mr. Craig. Mr. Craig's boy, Ronald, goes to stay with a well-informed doctor in the Leadhills, and receives even more instruction, in return for his judicious questions, than did the late lamented James.

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