Page images
PDF
EPUB

sensitive, alert mind, open to every new impression. He delighted to "ride over this unsullied country of ever-changing water," or to "cling to a small chip of a ship when the sea is rough, and long, comet-tailed streamers are blowing from the curled top of every wave." The California plains were "the floweriest piece of world I ever walked." Even the prosaic jack-rabbit seemed to him to move "swift and effortless as a bird shadow," and January weather "grows in beauty like a flower." He exulted in the winds, even those of Florida, though they "no longer came with the old home music gathered from open prairies and waving fields of oak, but passed over many a strange string."

The editor's work has been done with such sympathy that the whole book breathes of Mr. Muir's own personality, with no intrusive sense of an alien hand. Less happy, however, is the make-up of the volume. We regret that the clear-type, wide-margin pages could not have been given a more dignified outer dress, like that of the admirable large paper edition. M. R. P.

"THE KLON- One finds it rather difficult to characterize this book, whethDIKE CLAN"* er it should be classed as a work of fiction or as a narrative of adventure. The author himself says of it: "The incidents are more history than fiction. The characters are types. Many of the adventures of the story occurred under the personal observation of the author or that of his friends." We are inclined to feel that a simple narrative of personal experience would have been even more effective than this admirable romance of the Klondike stampede, especially after reading the author's earlier published book, Alaska Days with John Muir. When the reality is so rich in romance and heroism one feels that a really great book is lost to the world when a man of Mr. Young's qualities fails to give the simple, direct narrative of his Alaska experience. We hope that some such story of his many years of life and work there may yet appear.

To the lover of tales the book as it stands is more than worth while. The hardship, the humor, the folly, and the tragedy of gold-rush days are stirringly depicted. The characters are human and likable. We quote one story of a missionary's disastrous dependence upon an interpreter. The Parson had found some difficulty in explaining what sheep were like when he went over the text of the twenty-third Psalm with his interpreter, only succeeding after "Billy" had grasped the idea that they resembled the wild goats which the Indians hunted. "I noticed a queer look on the stolid faces of the natives as Billy interpreted my sermon," says the Parson, "but until I had learned the language myself I was ignorant of Billy's rendering of the verse. Here it is: 'The Great Chief above is the goat-hunter who hunts me. I do not want him. He shoots me down on the green grass and drags me down to the quiet sea

The Klondike Clan. A Tale of the Great Stampede. By S. HALL YOUNG. Fleming H. Revell Company. Price, $1.35 net. Illustrated.

beach.'" As one of the characters observes, "Mony is the meenister of the kirk who comes no nearer the sense of Scripture.”

M. R. P.

"THE A comprehensive guide-book of the northwest, giving TOURIST'S modes of access to most of the mountain regions of OreNORTHWEST"* gon, Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia, with detailed accounts of roads, railroads, and steamer routes, and many items of historical interest. The bulk of the book is given over to the scenic features and outdoor life, though cities and hotels are also touched upon. A splendid aid to travelers. Well illustrated with maps and photographs. M. R. P.

"THE The book is well printed, artistic in appearance, and easy MOUNTAIN" to read because of the beautiful type and wide margins. The topic scheme on the margin makes it easy for reference. Mr. Van Dyke is an artist in feeling and in the use of the English language. He is a word-painter par excellence. While the title of the book is The Mountain, and the descriptions are adequate, the heart of the writer is most at home in those scenes where he is dealing with the desert. It is in the desert description that he rises to his highest point of excellence. You feel the stretches of sand and the shimmering lazy sunshine, the dreaming hills that sweep toward the horizon, and the smell of sagebrush. You catch the fragrance of the desert air. The one word which would describe, possibly, better than any other Mr. Van Dyke's ability and method of description is atmosphere. It would be unfair to him to say that he does not know the mountains, or that he does not describe them adequately, for he does. He is a poet, and he sees everything through a poet's eyes. While he has climbed the snowy peaks and become acquainted with the terrors of the glacier, you somehow feel that he does not thrill with the joy that delights the intrepid climber who scales the precipitous heights and triumphs over difficulties which make up so large a part of the life of the adventurous mountaineer. He talks most familiarly of the Himalayas, the Alps, the Caucasus, the Rockies, or our own beloved Sierra, with equal facility, and he leaps from one to the other with the agility of a chamois. His pictures are always fascinating. He is a lover of nature. He loves the birds and the woods and the song of the winds, and he makes you realize that the mountains are not all made up of inaccessible peaks. While his viewpoint is not entirely that of an impressionist, he has beyond question the impressionistic tendency. You love the mountains better for having read him, but somehow you feel that his scientific explanations are not entirely satisfactory. In other words, Mr. Van Dyke is first, last, and al

The Tourist's Northwest. By RUTH KEDZIE WOOD, F. R. G. S. Dodd Mead & Company, New York, 1916. Price, $1.75. Illustrated.

The Mountain. By JOHN C. VAN DYKE. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1916. Price, $1.25.

ways an artist. His descriptions are full of color, full of sunshine, full of the flashing gleam of high mountain-tops, full of the roar of cataracts and waterfalls. He lacks the intimate knowledge of John Muir and the science of Joseph Le Conte, but his book in every way is worthy of consideration. GEORGE C. THOMPSON

"WILD LIFE

IN THE

Wild Life in the Rocky Mountains, by George Frederick Ruxton, is the story of the author's trip, during the ROCKY winter of 1846-1847, from Chihuahua, Mexico, up along MOUNTAINS"* the Rio Grande to Pueblo, Colorado, where he spent a number of months in companionship with the mountain trappers and hunting in the "Bayou Salado." Thence, in May, 1847, in company with a wagon-train, he proceeded easterly to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and from there, by river steamer, train and boat, back to England, arriving in August. He returned again almost immediately to the wilds of the United States, only to die in St. Louis, in September, 1848, at the age of twenty-eight. The season of the year, the wild life and beauty of the country, the romance of the period, the danger of the undertaking, and his hairbreadth escapes, both from the severity of the weather and from scalping by the Indians, combine to make the interest of the book. The description of the blizzard in South Park, in which he spent the night kneeling in the snow with a saddle-blanket over his head and his head pressed to his knees, smoking a pipe which finally "caught fire and burned completely to the stem," his mules groaning aloud, falling down in the snow, and then again struggling on their legs, gives one a good picture of the wildness of the time as well as an insight into the character of the writer.

The descriptions of wild life are interesting, and in their number symbolic of the period. The buffalo, the grizzly bear, the elk, the bighorn, or mountain-sheep, the antelope, the wolf, the beaver, and even the little prairie-dog, are among the animals described with whom he seemed to have an intimate acquaintance. The book gives the atmosphere of the times and is well worth reading. DAISY C. HUBER

"CAMPING AND

“An encyclopedia of information on living in the open" is the publisher's foreword. There is a multiplicity of WOODCRAFT" detail, somewhat bewildering both to the tenderfoot and to the seasoned camper, but very good to use as a reference in making selections. Rough and ready western mountaineers will not be likely to need many of the comforts suggested by Mr. Kephart, but any one of them will enjoy the capital skunk story told in the course of the narrative. H. M. LE CONTE

*Wild Life in the Rocky Mountains. By GEORGE FREDERICK RUXTON. Outing Publishing Company, New York, 1916. Price, $1.00.

+Camping and Woodcraft. By HORACE KEPHART. Outing Publishing Company, New York, 1916. Price, $1.50 net.

"CHRONICLES

OF THE WHITE
MOUNTAINS*

A handsome volume of four hundred pages. Beginning with Indian lore and first settlements, then historical events, carrying the latter down to the present day, these first chapters give the pioneer mountaineer of the west a good idea of the value of preserving the slowly gathering mountain lore of our own region. The actual climbs and discoveries, as well as the summer and winter experiences, are linked with a long list of noted names, dear to all eastern climbers, and including the pioneer innkeepers who were largely instrumental in making the history of the Range. The founding, in 1876, of the Appalachian Mountain Club, at the call of Professor E. C. Pickering, and with Professor C. E. Fay in the chair, "marks the beginning of a new epoch in the exploration, study, and pleasure use of the White Mountains." The chapter on “Lumber Industry and Forestry" is the usual story of waste followed by intelligent conservation. Happily the Appalachian Club now owns and controls many of the beauty spots of the White Mountains. H. M. LE CONTE

"BLACKFEET TALES In his Blackfeet Tales of Glacier National Park OF GLACIER James Willard Schultz tells in diary form how, after NATIONAL PARK"† a lapse of many years, he spends a summer wandering through Montana National Park with his old friends and foster-brothers, Yellow Wolf, Two Guns, Stabs-by-mistake, and Tail-feather-coming-over-the-hill. After days spent in hunting, moving camp, or religious ceremonies, the Indians entertain their white foster-brother by camp-fire legends of their tribe. We learn how "elkdogs," or horses, were first given to man; we admire the skill and bravery of New Robe when he rescues his captive friend by running full speed over the seven freshly skinned buffalo-skulls; we are glad when the jealous wife drowns in the "swim of hate" which she had herself proposed to her unoffending rival; we can almost excuse the treachery of the Bad Wife, so plain is it that a sudden and overwhelming passion for the handsome stranger blinds her to all sense of right and wrong.

Coming, as they do, straight from the lips of the natives and couched in simple but picturesque phrase, these tales sparkle with a freshness and naive charm that no one—not even the lover of the modern psychological novel-could resist. Here we have real and living men, women, and children—and, yes, even gods, who convince us of their existence by the way they talk and act, by the very force of the primitive passions which sway them, by the universality of their appeal. FLORENCE ATKINSON

Chronicles of the White Mountains. By FREDERICK W. KILBOURNE. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York, 1916. Price, $2.00 net. Illustrated.

+ Blackfeet Tales of Glacier National Park. By JAMES WILLARD SCHULTZ. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York. 1916. Price, $2.00 net. Illustrated.

"YOSEMITE: The attractive manner in which Mr. Sterling's Ode is preAN ODE❞* sented will at once commend it to all lovers of Yosemite. On the cover is an excellent reproduction of a painting by H. J. Breuer in which the artist has shown a welcome restraint, both in color and in drawing. Within are five well-chosen illustrations from photographs by W. E. Dassonville, each with a delightful note of its own. The first brings out the sweep of the great precipices and the vast depth of the valley; in the second the graceful beauty of Yosemite Falls is enhanced by the exquisite texture of meadow, river, tree, and cliff that surrounds it; next comes a view of Bridal Veil Falls, its pendent shaft of whiteness balanced by the dark column of a pine; the fourth illustration is a twilight study in strong lights and shadows, with a foreground of unusual beauty; and, lastly, the splendor and magnificence of Yosemite scenery is illustrated in a superb view of Half Dome at sunrise.

The poem, composed in a lofty and dignified style, is a tribute to the spirit of Beauty as exemplified in the various aspects of the incomparable valley. Many of the descriptive passages cannot fail to delight the “inward eye" of all who read, as when we are invited to

"Ascend at dawn to that uplifted place

Whence the doomed torrent, from its eyrie leaping,
Takes virgin vesture and immortal grace.

Beauty surpassing all!

Splendor of whiteness, foam of pearls that crash

To rainbow-mist on barriers immense!

Iris and veils of amethyst that lash

The eternal granite in magnificence!

Can eyes behold you save with rapture wet,

Or turn them from your glory and forget?"

It is not easy to rhapsodize on the grander aspects of natural scenery, and especially in Yosemite one is bound to feel the inadequacy of anything that poets may say. Acknowledging this at the very outset, the poet would nevertheless offer his tribute, humbly praying that through it there may be revealed to him

"Some aspect of thine inner loveliness

"ON ALPINE

[blocks in formation]

HEIGHTS AND
BRITISH CRAGS"

F. P. F.

George D. Abraham, in his On Alpine Heights and British Crags, makes us acquainted with a series of climbing incidents in both Switzerland and Britain. For those in love with horripilant narrative no better book could be found. The author with his companions seems to ob

* Yosemite: an Ode. By GEORGE STERLING. With a cover in color after the painting by H. J. Breuer and illustrations after photographs by W. E. Dassonville. A. M. Robertson, San Francisco, 1916. Price, 75 cents.

tOn Alpine Heights and British Crags. By GEORGE D. ABRAHAM, author of the Complete Mountaineer (see SIERRA CLUB BULLETIN, Vol. VII, No. 1). Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston and New York. Price, $2.50 net. With 24 illustrations from photographs.

« PreviousContinue »