It is difficult to conceive of an "organless and structureless" substance possessing life; and it is on this particular and important point that biologists have not satisfied thinkers: it is not yet satisfactorily proved that protoplasm is a living substance. Huxley cherishes the conviction fondly, but probably he has doubts and misgivings on the subject; and his position is hit off rather happily in the following lines, published when the Association was sitting:

Bathybius: A Lament

" Huxley (loq.):

' Whether you are in yourself the essence -

Potential essence of life to be - Or merely express the amorphous presence

Of calcic sulphate, is dark to me. I know not whether you are or are not;

I only know that you seem to be. I must puzzle, though others care not,

Yet puzzle is vain - I am all at sea.'

"Disciple (susp.):

' Broken my rest; and torn with strange emotion

I melt in rhyme, For a non-proven, questionable notion

Is "deep-sea slime." Time was I worshipped, almost a fanatic,

Before his shrine; Invoked his aid in language truly Attic -

" Bathybius, mine ! " But now I find this vaunted protoplasm

Excites a smile, A doubtful kind of passing facial spasm -

And I revile !'

Exit 'reviling.' "

More uncomplimentary things have been said about the savans of the British Association this year than has been dared before. One paper says, "the assumption of wisdom " on the part of some of the members is rather too transparent; and even the ' Standard,' one of the soberest and fairest of critics., is mildly sarcastic on the Association. The Biologists at last, it thinks, have got to the end of their tether; and it goes on to say, " But it may be questioned whether, as regards the origin of life, Professor Tyndall, or Professor Huxley, can carry us much beyond what Lord Beaconsfield once called the 'atom of Epicurus and the monad of Thales.' It is for these reasons that the British Association has probably passed the zenith of its prosperity, even if it cannot be said to have outlived its original purposes. Of course, it will continue to exist, and go on holding pleasant meetings year after year. Savants are mortal, and have the gregarious tastes of humanity. They like conversaziones and luncheon parties, and pleasant picnics to picturesque places. They are fond of reading elaborate essays, and discussing their merits. All these good things have been had at the meeting of the British Association this year, and are not likely to be lost in the future.

Still the fact remains that the work of the Association as an organisation for scientific discovery and education seems to be just now at a standstill, and that it exists mainly as an organisation for the delivery of first-class lectures, and the pursuit of refined pleasure".

The ' Gardeners' Chronicle ' has managed to extract from one of the papers read before the Association a passage which it hopes "will sink deeply into the minds of the so-called practical man who professes to be guided by the teachings of experience only," and upon whom, it might be added, your contemporary depends so much for its existence. Take away the practical portion of its columns - the records of experience, crude and undigested as some of them may be - and we wonder what would become of it! The passage it has found so applicable to the fraternity is as follows:-

"The history of science proves that unconnected, unsystematic, inaccurate observations are worth nothing; therefore it is that common experience is almost absolutely useless in all practical arts, which, without exception, depend for their progress upon the advance of science - that is, upon methodical, continuous, and scrupulously accurate observations and experiments".

"For the present," says your contemporary, " we confine ourselves to this extract." So we may expect further complements by-and-by, when perhaps the accurate sayings and doings of your contemporary may come under review also.

As the season draws towards its close, we begin to gauge more accurately the effects of the unfavourable weather upon the crops. 1879 will long be remembered. A competent authority in the ' Times' reckons the loss on the corn, potato, and bean crops alone at forty-three millions of pounds. And this takes no account of the loss on the hay, hops, and root crops. The loss is appalling, coming as it does after a long period of depression of trade. The 'Times' in a leader asks: "What if next year should be like this? Bad seasons, we are continually assured, come together, and we have been lately told, apparently with a long retrospect and careful calculation, that in every cycle there are several concurrent years more or less of one character, and several concurrent years of another. If the losses in the next year be as great as those in this, or as the average of the three years, the farmers, very few of whom have any capital in reserve - very few of whom are not in debt - will have to throw up their farms. The results of such a calamity as we are suffering will extend far out of the agricultural circle.

Some thousands of landowners will have to do without rent, to reduce their establishments, put down carriages and horses, turn off under-gardeners and labourers, dispose of their London houses, and reduce the season to a few weeks in lodgings or to still fewer at an hotel. They will, perhaps even less reluctantly, shut up their country houses, and live for a year or two, without care, ostentation, or even comfort, in Continental hotels. All this portends the discharge of many servants not very well fitted to make their way in the world, and loss of profitable custom to many tradesmen. Not only some kinds of industry, and some special localities also, will suffer more than their share in such an agricultural collapse as that which is at least not improbable. The residential neighbourhood of London and the watering places - that is, all the favoured resorts of the wealthy - will feel with special force any general restriction of resources and curtailment of expenditure".

Horticulture is now feeling the effects of the depression more keenly. A London paper, usually well informed on such matters, states that gentlemen and landed proprietors are very generally reducing the expenditure of their establishments to a considerable extent, which of course means a reduction of both men and wages in private gardens, and which has already taken place in numerous instances.